We've always told our children about Santa and Santa has brought them gifts at Christmas. I've played with the idea of celebrating the soltice instead - or downplaying Christmas, telling them the truth about Santa and making New Years the big celebration. My husband, otoh, wants to keep all the trappings of Christmas - the tree, the cookies, the gifts - for the kids, of course ;)
Over the years, though, our New Year's celebration has gotten bigger and bigger. I think now I spend more time getting ready for that. Every year we have a theme and a movie marathon. Last year it was robots and robot movies. The kids made paper robots that actually moved and robot shrinky dinks. Our neighbors and friends come over with their kids and we play games and watch movies - keeping everything in theme. One of our friends makes an awesome cake every year - last year she made two robot cakes - a borg cube and Marvin, the depressive robot from Hitchhiker's guide.
So, basically, we keep Christmas traditions - secular and pagan ones, of course - Santa and wreaths and mistetoe; have a small Christmas and go crazy with the new year's festivities.
This year's theme is monkeys - we're watching all of the Planet of the Apes movies, playing monkey games, putting up monkey decorations, serving banana chips, frozen chocolate covered bananas, etc.
Maybe you could replace Christmas somehow with something else unique to your family. Something that involves gifts, maybe. new years gifts? but then all their friends will be playing with their new stuff and they won't have anything. maybe a couple of things at christmas and then the bigger celebration at new years?
Thanks a million for the reply. Great food for thought. My wife and I both liked the approach that you family has taken and it has most certainly got us thinking creatively. A year ago we adopted a little girl - aids orphan, as we live in Namibia - which means we have to start the Christmas and other holiday celebrations all over again. We have already raised a single child who is in her early twenties now. We are also in the process of adopting another little baby in the coming months, days or weeks. We are simply awaiting the call.
It is our daughters second Christmas now, so we need to get things right, I feel. We have put up a tree, though not a traditional tree - we cut branches off a dead tree - and have included no religious decorations on the tree or anywhere else.
I guess this plays very much into the tactics that you have adopted in that one can still have some Christmas celebrations although they can be low key, with another celebration in and around Christmas time. Following your mail to us, my wife and I have given some thoughts to a theme that may suit us. As we do not have thanks giving in Namibia and the fact that we are a mishmash of a family with different roots, we where thinking that we could simply have a thanks giving celebration. I guess giving thanks is more than enough reason to be handing out presents with some pomp and ceremony.
Thank you very much for you reply. It has been really helpful in getting the old synapses firing. Have a great day, and please feel free to give us a shout when you have something on your mind that you would like to share or to explore.
Anne, thank you very much for your comments as we think we could adapt your ideas to suit our family as per your recommendation. Thanks a million.
PS I have attached picture of Christmas tree.
He was a human being so not religious...religion and humanity can not go together