“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”

Joe and I started a little tradition with the kids a few years back. We told them that they would only be getting three presents from Santa. Gasp! I know! What kind of Grinches are we? We told them that, “Jesus got three presents, and if it was good enough for Him it is good enough for you. Besides, Santa has a lot of presents to deliver and we wouldn’t want to be greedy.”

They totally bought it!

Now before you think we are totally maniacal, let me explain. Our reasoning was twofold. One is that I can’t stand the stuff. I find myself clearing out toy boxes and cabinets prior to the holiday to only make room for more stuff. We are literally drowning in it. Although I don’t think we overindulge our kids, we certainly have more than some kids. I find myself having to think up things to give them, or ask for around birthdays and holidays, because they literally don’t need a thing. And for crying out loud, we have four kids! If every kid got ten presents and you multiplied that by 18 years and then you carried the 1 and, well, you understand…

The other reason is that we don’t want the kids to be centered on the stuff, either. If you are Facebook friends with me, you have probably seen that we’ve taken several “Christmas road trips” this year. We would rather create memories with the kids than give them things. I tell them that “We would rather  do stuff than have stuff.” I know that someday, when this whole Santa gig is up,  our kids will be in therapy talking about that Ipad that they never got because their parents were too altruistic, but that’s a chance we’re willing to take.

So far, they haven’t complained. Charlie literally asked for “Star Wars action figures, a Mario DS game and a board game” for Christmas and Finn asked for “a toy boat, a toy train (without a face) and a blanket.” Does it get any better? And then there is this:



Each night before bed, we say our “Sweet and Sours” for the day. It’s a chance for the kids to voice a complaint or say something that upset them, but also find something positive about their day. Charlie, completely unprovoked, wrote, “I am glad that I have a suportive family to suport me around Christmas time. I am glad that I have a rich and happy family and not poor (freesing cold with no home.) Family to go cool Christmas places and ufourd the big winter taxs.” 

My job is done. I don’t think he could get any sweeter. I did ask what the “big winter taxes are.” He said “it’s the money you pay in the winter so you can go places.” Hmm… that’s a good thought. Maybe we should tell Obama.

And then we took them to see Santa. Finn, who normally is so particular about EVERYTHING, told Santa that “It didn’t matter what he brought him.” I couldn’t believe it! I almost cried right there on the spot! Top that off with the fact that Finn actually held one of the babies in the picture for me and it nearly blew my mind! (Finn normally won’t hold the babies because he is afraid they are going to slobber on him!)

So, this year, in light of the devastation and tragedy that seems to be all around us, my Christmas spirit is renewed in the faces of my own kids. We will be enjoying a family centered holiday that is light on the gifts and heavy on the love! Merry Christmas!


As many parents of children with Autism can attest, Legos are a big deal to us! Finn has made a new “Gingerbread house” out of Legos every day that must remain next to our edible one. I wanted to share his ingenious, ever changing creation. “You can look, but DON’T touch!”


5 thoughts on ““Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”

  1. Well Bravo Shann for being one of only a few families left that actually embody the TRUE meaning of Christmas. We were actually having this conversation about a week ago.
    So…having dinner with my in-laws at the Chattaway Inn in St. Pete. It was a cute quaint place with chach-kees EVERYWHERE. I was saying how I don’t really care about gifts or presents…We have enough stuff…enough chach-kees…just enough of everything. We talked about how I don’t remember getting tons of presents growing up. I’m not saying we were poor but my mom felt the same about gifting. My mother-in-law gasped! She said, “Oh no. Mom-mom Florence would be so mad at you because we had to have gifts up to the ceiling and more and more gifts each year…the whole neighborhood hated us because my kids got everything! Whatever was the newest & hottest gifts…go carts, you name it and they had it.”. Now, Darren has 3 families that love & care for him…us, his grandparents and his mom & stepdad. Every year, as children age, their gifts become more & more expensive. This kid had 2 of EVERYTHING. I am not kidding. I sat there at the table and discussed my memories of my childhood Christmases. They included our yearly trek to the city to see the Christmas display at Wannamakers. A trip to Jewelers Row and maybe a trip to see my Aunt Phobe in upstate Pennsy where sometimes we’d cut our own trees. We would decorate sometime near Christmas Eve and my dad always cheered for more and more tinsel (so tacky but he loved it). He taught us every year how the streets ran In the city N-S & E-W and the order of streets named for trees. I can remember giving homeless people blankets and coats although some I did hurdle (of course I was scolded for it..:I was a kid, I didn’t know any better…I literally thought they were people who didn’t like houses. My parents weren’t Grinches. They provided a great life for us. Even though there were times we were so poor because Frank didn’t work due to a massive heart attack; I went through St. Mary’s and GCHS; my sister St. Mary’s & Bishop Eustace & Frankie…well he was a public. Lol. Shann, I was never in therapy for anything because I didn’t miss a thing. We were happy kids. We had family over or visited with family…we did stuff. We went on vacations every year practically & my mom paid the house off 10 years ahead of schedule. Now that Darren is 17 and his needs outweigh his wants…like he needs a college education, car insurance, etc, he gets some little stuff and one big gift that we can afford from us. Meanwhile my mother-in-law tries to guilt me every year by saying, “Is that ALL you got him???!!?”. In the past I would feel guilty, but not anymore. When we packed him up to move we found gifts still wrapped and never even opened…instantly they were donated. In fact, most of his presents this year are gifts to do family stuff I.e. going shooting at a range, swimming with manatee, etc. I can personally guarantee that your kids will remember places you went rather than what or how many toys you get them. Don’t buy into the Christmas that is fake and phoney with overflowing gifts…it’s much richer to spend quality family time – not one spent with everyone on electronic devices. Honestly, I am not doing a tree because I am living in a construction zone plus Darren will not be home until after the first. Ironically, for the past 2 years, I began to celebrate Merry Taylormissmas. It’s usually ironically on the Epiphany. So enjoy and don’t fret. You are creating a richer experience rather than drowning in debt…plus you’re saving trees too. Lol. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

  2. I love reading your posts, this one is one of my favorites! Love the way you a raising your beautiful children. Merry Christmas!!!

  3. Pingback: The perfect Christmas present | HighFunctioningMomism

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