What do they all share in common?

In each case, my thoughts are changing.

In each case, I hope that my childrens’ parents are more relevant than the outside culture.

In each case, I’m finding that my thoughts, drive, very instinct is running counter to what mainstream culture defines as important.

Each of my children received gifts that were totally ‘about’ who they are and where they are developmentally. Chris and I had several discussions about Nic and Theo’s individual interests and abilities and how we could support and nurture both.

So, Nic received more building materials. Wheel kits to allow him to make vehicles from the zoobs that he’s been building with for years. A robot building kit that also taught about the basic principles of hydraulic power. And a soldering kit, so that he might begin to learn about how the hardware part of electronics come together.

Theo received a wooden work bench and several things to help his lego building move to the next level. Theo is so very different from Nic in so many ways. He loves all things with wheels. He loves building in a completely different way from Nic. Theo’s building is always concrete — always about real things — buildings, vehicles, sewers (not kidding, he’s fascinated by sewers.) Yeah, I know he’s at a stage of understanding concrete, not abstract, principles. But it goes deeper than that. He’s just a very rooted in reality kind of soul. We call him our Civil Engineer. Whereas Nic is grooming himself to be the areospace engineer. He loves the abstract, the “I wonder if.”

Whingari received a little wooden wagon full of wooden blocks. And equipment for the play kitchen she received for her birthday. And a hat and mittens.

And they all received books.

By late christmas afternoon, they seemed bored with it. Maybe even a little disappointed.

For a few minutes, I started feeling guilty…I started feeling that I had failed them.

And then I got a reality check…from myself.

I don’t want them so inundated with presents that they can’t appreciate any of it.

I don’t want them to act like Harry Potter’s cousin in The Sorcerer’s Stone, asking ‘how many are there?’ and selfishly wanting to make sure that there were enough — more than last year, as it were…

So, then, what is christmas. When I was a child, it seemed the only time of year that my parents forgot how much they really hated having children around. They seemed to love christmas morning. They seemed to revel in our happiness. I wonder now, as I begin to look at my own motivations, was it that they were trying to find happiness for themselves? A happiness that even a child saw to be elusive?

A few carefully chosen toys for each of them. That was my goal.

Instead of gift-a-palooza, we had a good time.

The boys, now recovered from the long pull towards christmas, spent yesterday playing with their new stuff, and playing together.

Maybe next year we can scale back a little more.

Maybe by the time the year after comes, we can drop all ‘santa’ references and approach this cultural insanity with more calm.

There are many, many things that we are doing that run counter to the mainstream. If I can add christmas to the list, without robbing my children of magic, that will be good.

And that is what the three things in the title have in common. All are areas where I am trying to blaze our own trail; one that resonates with us, not controls us.

Everyday magic. That’s what has the power to undue the pull of the consumptive part of christmas.

Next year, all about the solstice and the yule celebrations.

Next year, starts now…

blessings to you and yours, regardless of what holidays and traditions resonate within your heart…