Saturday, December 27, 2008

Teaching the Spirit of Christmas

Every year it’s the same, but it has gotten a lot better than it was. When my kids were real little, they were seemingly underwhelmed by Christmas morning as if they really didn’t care for it (opening presents, my excitable voice hoping that it would become infectious) but they would be opening presents like it was a chore. So the following years I would talk to them about Christmas, Santa and presents. On Christmas Eve I would make special Christmas cookies with them, mention Santa and his sleigh, buy them new pj’s (as my grandmother used to do for us as a tradition) and read Twas the Night Before Christmas to them as another start of a tradition to try and evoke the Christmas spirit—of some kind.

It wasn’t until Nick was around 10 that he started enjoying Christmas--or at least it started to show on his face. He seemed excited about opening presents—and wanting to—but it was still nowhere close to how excited my siblings and I were on Christmas morning—but getting there.

Meghan, on the other hands, could simply go without Christmas and presents, she just didn’t seem to care … and it certainly didn’t warrant enough excitement to actually get out of bed as early as 7 am. No way, go away!!

The last two or so years, including this year, Nick has really been into it. It was so exciting to see. I mean don’t we become parents just to see our little kids excited faces on Christmas morning!! This year when we got the tree, he decorated it almost all by himself … after I wired it up with lights … and he hung the stockings with care … and talked about Saint Nick who would soon be here. ;)

We have also been teaching Nick to buy gifts for others as well as anticipate them for himself. Gift giving is still a little harder for Meghan to understand, but we’re working on it. For the most part this Christmas season, Nick’s questions have been just a little unusual: for instance, when we listen to Christmas songs (which he loves from year to year and one in particular called Here comes Santa Claus…), he asked me why Jesus Christ was mentioned in a song because “That’s a swear word??” It took a few days to help him understand that this was okay in this circumstance … forget about religion school … and church is a castle, right? Ugh. It’s hard enough teaching Nick about Christmas and the Christmas spirit, but religion is a whole other abstract vs. concrete obstacle to encounter, but I try. And I do feel a little regretful that I didn’t teach him religion when he was younger. I grew up going to Sunday School and church every Sunday, even though I didn’t really believe--it was forced upon me. But it’s up to Nick to decide for himself if he believes in God, so I have been teaching him more…

And I must add that this year, in particular, both my kids were into Christmas … even though we still had to drag Meghan out of bed as late as 8:00 am—she came! And they both were excited about opening their gifts with smiles on their faces. And Nick noted that he gave us presents, too!! Sooo nice!

Now all I have to say is Yippee! It finally came… after 14 years of trying, the Christmas spirit is finally within and I have the rest of my life to enjoy it with them, too.
So, a little (lot of) patience and a better late than never attitude when raising special needs kids is the discipline!


Tanya @ Teenautism said...

What a treat for you to experience! I'm glad to hear that both kids enjoyed Christmas morning.

The part about "Jesus Christ" being a swear word had me rolling! Nick is great! I'm planning on doing a post soon about Nigel's "understanding" of religion. Definitely some funny moments with him as well!

babs m said...

That's so great! I'm glad you could share your enthusiasm with them and see some of it coming back.

Little Miss has interesting ideas about religion too--we were driving up the road the other day, and she kept talking about a "church T." Took us awhile to realize that a "church T" was a cross. So she learned a new word--but somehow it wasn't nearly as cute.

Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year!