In mid-October I did a double-take while I was running errands with my sons, Joey (now 7) and John (5) — one store in which we were shopping had decorated for Christmas even though Halloween candy was still on the shelves.
Wow, I thought — the commercialization of Christmas is starting really early this year!
As a mom, I think it’s OK for my boys to enjoy some of the secular traditions of the season that I loved as a kid. But as a Christian, I want to emphasize the "real reason for the season."
What’s a parent to do?
The key, I’ve determined, is to do everything in moderation.
My kids believe in Santa — I just make sure they know that he represents the spirit of giving, and I also tell them about the real St. Nicholas.
I read them The Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas, but I also tell them the story of how the baby Jesus came into the world.
We create bell, snowman and reindeer ornaments for our Christmas tree, but we also make Advent wreaths and decorate a Jesse tree at church.
We sing all sorts of holiday songs, but we’ve learned some hymns as well.
But is what I’m doing working?
Something John did recently gave me my answer.
As he decorated his salt dough ornaments, he began singing a song as he worked. It was "Away in a Manger."
"I just love that song!" he exclaimed.
I couldn’t help but smile!