While we aren't Christian we do celebrate Christmas. At this time of year, regardless of your religion or what you celebrate, trying to de-commercialize is especially difficult but even more important. If you have children in your life (be it your own or family members) it is even more of a challenge and all that much more important.
We started out as many parents do with their first child: swearing that we wouldn't allow them to watch any tv. And, just like the majority of those well-intentioned parents, we let them watch tv. We do however limit them to certain channels and won't allow them to watch tv all day. Mainly they are allowed to watch a little bit of PBS in the morning, but they usually end up focusing on playing with toys (right now they're building with blocks). They also get to watch a channel called Noggin, which is mostly educational stuff ("It's like preschool on tv" as Shannon quotes to us! - It's the channel's tag line.) - they only get to watch that on very special occasions here ... like when Mommy is trying to cook dinner and REALLY needs them out of her hair. ;)
More and more though I find myself muting the channel if the shows get too "commercialized" - Sesame Street did a take-off of 'High School Musical' the other day called 'Preschool Musical' that I muted. If Noggin is on, commercials are muted. So, it was a moment full of an enormous amount of pride when my mother told me how Shannon told her that they didn't need to watch any other channels because there were too many commercials for him!! Talk about one VERY PROUD Mama!!! They both also will turn off the tv here saying they've had enough for the day, a wonderful surprise.
With Christmas now quickly on it's way this issue is a daily one. Last night and again this morning we talked about how the elves make toys at Santa's workshop in the North Pole. The toys they get from Santa & the elves we try to ensure look like they could've been truly handmade, if they weren't in reality. Last year we bought several handmade wooden toys from a local man who makes them. We stamped them with a stamp we had made that says "Made for you by the Elves is Santa's Workshop."
Our home has hardwood floors in every room, except for the bathrooms and kitchen. We keep our house at cooler temperatures in the winter as well. The two combined make for pretty chilly floors and the need for "house slippers" a necessity. So, last year the boys got "Sock Monkey Slippers" in their stockings, knit for them by Mrs. Claus. (You can find your's at http://www.uncommongoods.com/) Of course those slippers have been out-grown, so this year they'll be getting some new indoor slippers made by Mrs. Claus and the elves. (http://www.kidbean.com/)
It's a continual challenge, keeping out the commercialism. I know it will get harder and more challenging as the boys get older. But, so far, I think we're doing a fairly decent job of it. Whether the successes show themselves in Shannon's rejection of tv & commercials, or in their delight in singing Christmas Carols and wanting to get out instruments so they can play music along with it, they are those moments that you know you've done a good job.