The other tradition that started up on December 1st is “Secret Santa”.
This one is certainly a favorite with the kids.
Each child draws another child’s name at the beginning of the month. They are to play “Secret Santa” and buy small gifts and/or perform small acts of kindness and service throughout the month. They then purchase a main Christmas gift for their Secret Santa recipient and reveal themselves on Christmas Eve.
Of course, everyone has usually figured out who their Secret Santa is by hour two (little kids have a habit of somehow letting it slip!).But that doesn’t seem to stop them from enjoying the tradition!
This year one Secret Santa upped the ante already. They purchased a big Crunchie chocolate bar and a big container of Pringles for Josh. He was in pure heaven.
Everyone was jealous.
I suggested the kids write a little letter for their Secret Santa giving suggestions of ideas that they would like.
I took that idea from the suggestion people often make to newlyweds: don’t assume your spouse knows the little things that are important to you. Each spouse should make a list of things they would like or need, or the little acts or tokens that make them feel loved. Then, they are to exchange lists with their spouse, and over the years, try to give their spouse gifts off this list. Basically, learn to speak “their love language”.
So the kids sat down and wrote lists. I made them include some material goods, as well as some acts of service that would be meaningful to them. Common themes included chips and chocolate, school supplies (pencils, erasers), notes, back tickles (we are a big tickling family it appears!), making beds, getting toothbrush out in the morning, getting backpack ready for school etc. Josh included things like a soccer jersey, a soccer ball, an A on his dictee….Rob reminded him his Secret Santa was not a wish genie!
Zach copied down the list his Secret Santa recipient wrote down and keeps this copy in his pocket for “quick reference”.
I made a little list for myself too for them in case they wanted to be my Secret Santa in real secret! (I included things like peace and quiet, a little respect, and non stop hair tickles of course).
I also told them I was happy to help them get some stuff (as the little ones can’t go shopping on their own). Today, I had requests to buy 4 chocolate bars. Every kid was hoping their Secret Santa was going to be giving them their favorite bar!
I really love the little notes that get written, and the favorite toys that get given away, and the chores that magically seem to get done! I love being asked to help be sneaky and deliver gifts or pass along a little something special. I love it even more when the kids excitedly tell me how their Secret Santa recipient reacted to their surprise gift! I love that they get to see the joy of giving.
For family nights in the month of December we also focus on Christmas – and read inspirational Christmas stories and talk about the true meaning of Christmas. This week we read a great story about service and giving, then watched one of our favorite classics, “Mr Kruger’s Christmas” which is a great example of service and reaching out to those less fortunate.
I want our children to be constantly reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, that giving is better than receiving, and to learn to love and serve each other all year round. Secret Santa at least lets us have those thoughts actively on our minds for one month.
Tonight for bed time prayers, Sam asked that “Secret Santas be really good to everyone tomorrow and Quiet Elfie would find a good spot to hide”. I had to suppress my little giggle, but it really warmed my heart.