I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day about how her little girl who’s almost 10 still believes in Santa. Now, I’m all about keeping kids little but my friend thinks this is getting a bit too old. She doesn’t want to tell her, but also wants to steer Christmas away from a Santa focus. So that got me thinking: what about introducing Christmas traditions that don’t involve Santa?
In my friend’s family, once she told her parents she didn’t believe in Santa that was it. Christmas was basically done for. After that, they’d open ALL their presents Christmas eve and no more Santa Christmas morning, so no more gifts. How awful!
Now, my friend’s daughter is a well loved only child and she would never repeat that tradition. But it also means she doesn’t have many family traditions to draw from when creating those magical Santa-free Christmas memories.
As for my house, we love Santa and we’ll be doing it for awhile considering the twins are only 4. If my older kids stop believing I hope they can help “be Santa” for the littler ones and share in the joy that way. Even when Santa is long forgotten I plan to fill their stockings on Christmas morning just for the fun of it.
Reasons you might want Santa free Christmas traditions
- Are of a religion that doesn’t celebrate Christmas but still wants holiday traditions
- Want to focus Christmas on other things, eg. Jesus
- Kids are grown up and no longer believe in Santa
- You want something to do as a couple or family
5 Christmas traditions that don’t involve Santa:
1. Play games as a family
This is one of my old childhood traditions. Each year we’d go for Christmas eve dinner at my aunt’s house. It was the traditional Ukrainian Christmas eve one: 12 meatless dishes after the 12 apostles. But after we’d play card games like hearts and kaiser together as a family. At your house, games can be anything from video games to board games to charades, just do what you enjoy.
2. Give to charity
Another one from my childhood. Each year we’d do up those Operation Christmas Child boxes and send them overseas to kids in need. Picking out gifts for kids that had nothing was a great experience for us kids. As an adult, I no longer support that charity, but I do support getting out there especially with kids and giving back. Toy drives, meals on wheels, and fundraising are great ways to give to others around the holidays.
3. Do your holiday baking together
Each year my kids and I make a huge list of holiday baking ideas. There’s some cookies that really only get made around the holidays in our house. We use these as teacher and bus driver gifts and the kids love the holiday baking in their December school lunches. Plus it makes our home much more welcoming to visitors. We always try and make one fancy thing together too.
4. Host an annual Christmas party
Whether it’s a fancy adult party, a family ugly sweater party, or a holiday brunch hosting an annual get together can be a great way to connect with extended relatives and friends and have a Christmas tradition. If you have kids, do a family party and get them involved in the planning, invitations, and decorating.
5. Wrap presents together
For me, Christmas is more about giving than receiving. One of my favourite childhood memories is being shut in my mom’s bedroom alongside her wrapping a mountain of gifts for family and friends. Usually we’d have the TV on and watch Christmas movies but that time together was really special to me. Now my boyfriend and I do the same thing marathon wrapping the kids’ gifts while watching Christmas movies.
There’s so many more awesome Santa-free traditions out there but these are my favourites. What are your Christmas traditions that don’t involve Santa?