"Christmas is not about gifts, but so much more..." Read on to find out more from our guest blogger

Happy December everybody.

My name is Erin, and I’m so excited to do a guest post here! Thanks so much for reading it.

Before I start my post, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’ve lived in Saskatoon for almost ten years now, and I have a very active three year old boy. I am a stay at home mom and a writer. My Instagram account is thewritingmommalife, and have a website with my writing called thewritingmomma.ca. I use both of these to share the realities of being a Mom. I share the hard moments, as well as the funny moments, and the wonderful moments I want to celebrate. I truly believe that talking about what you are going through helps. It’s okay to admit that being a mom is hard.

With that, I’ll talk about the holiday season. I had a huge writing project in November, and unfortunately, between that and a son who forgot how to sleep through the night, I have not been able to get anything ready for the holidays. We still need to decorate, buy gifts, do some baking, get cards ready to mail out, and make all the holiday crafts.

I’m a bit of a stress-ball a lot of the time so getting ready for the holiday and keeping calm is something I need to work on. To help with this I need to give myself some self care to keep me sane. In my case, self care can be as easy as writing or taking a bath. Taking guilt-free time for myself is necessary.

Last year, I went through my son’s toys while he was sleeping and got rid of the ones I know he never plays with, and he’s too old for. I donated them. He did notice a few things were missing, but I explained that a child who needed it will get it. He handled it well.

This year, I am working on something new, and it’s been harder than I expected. Instead of going through his toys without him, I am going to get my toddler to look through them with me so we can pick out the toys he wants to give away together. We are doing it later this week, and I’ve been talking to him about it for a month. I wanted him to start thinking about what he can give away, and prepare himself. Even if he doesn’t play with his toys, he still wants to keep every single one of them. My child had SO many toys.

The concept of the holidays and giving is a hard one to explain to toddlers. Everywhere my son goes, he sees Santa. He knows who Santa is, and assumes that Santa will bring him everything. Every morning lately, he has woken up to tell me about the dream he had about Santa bringing him monster trucks. We are trying to let him know that Santa will bring the smaller toys, and Mom and Dad give him the main ones.

When I told him we were going to give toys away so that kids who didn’t have as much as him could have them, he asked my why Santa wasn’t going to bring them toys. His question was so innocent. It broke my heart. It’s really hard to explain to him how unfair life can be someday. I want him to know how lucky he is to have the life he is, and that it’s important for him to give back. I told him we can donate the toys to help Santa.

This year, I’m working hard to teach him that Christmas is not just about the presents he thinks Santa is going to bring him. It’s about so much more. This holiday season has a magic about it that has nothing to do with receiving or giving gifts. I want him to feel the love and the magic.

He’s got some unrealistic expectations about all the gifts he’s going to get. I am not one hundred percent sure where he’s learned this, but I’m sure we didn’t help. He’s young, and being excited for presents makes sense. I still get excited for presents as well, but I also get excited to give them. I don’t want him to lose his optimism, but I do want him to know that Santa will bring small gifts for him, and he will get bigger ones from his family, but we cannot afford to get him every single thing he points to in the stores. He points at EVERYTHING - I am going to have to go shopping without my son because the toys are up front and center in every single store, even grocery stores.

I don’t want my son to see his Momma stressed as we get ready for Christmas because the truth is, he will love the magic of the holidays even if it isn’t perfect. This year, and every year following, I want my son to learn the things I’ve also had to learn. I want him to learn to give back, and that it’s not just about the presents we receive. I want him to know that not everybody gets all the things they want, and some need more help.

I want him to love the Christmas movies, the hot cocoa, the candy canes, and holiday meals with family. I want him to know how much we love him: during the holidays and every day after that.

It’s the season of giving, but it doesn’t have to be gifts. There are so many other ways to give, and every year, I hope my son and I discover new ways.

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