Sometime around mid-August, as the summer winds down, it’s like someone throws a switch and suddenly we feel a nostalgic longing for new shoes, a new sweater, and a new box of crayons. Whether you’re eight or thirty-eight, the start of the school year signifies a new beginning, a time to get organized and get down to business.
We sort through the kids’ closets to see what fits and what doesn’t. We clean out cluttered desk drawers, throwing away dried up markers and broken pencils to make room for fresh new ones. And for those of us at Pear Tree, this includes Mom’s desk drawer. Kids aren’t the only ones who need new supplies for the school year. This is the perfect time to re-stock our stationery drawer.
Personalized note cards, thank you notes and address labels are the basics we can’t do without. Next, depending on our kids’ ages, we find mommy cards can be very handy for making connections with other parents at school. For the new teacher, personalized book markers or note cards make a thoughtful beginning-of-the-year gift. Even if we don’t have kids in school, cleaning out our desks and freshening up our stationery collection just feels right at this time of year.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is sitting down with my kids to write personalized letters to Santa. It is an activity the kids are excited to do, it gets us in the holiday spirit, and it is always an enlightening experience for all of us. Not only does Santa come away with some good ideas, my kids learn to identify needs vs. wants, to prioritize, and to set realistic expectations even as they ask for the moon.
There’s something about actually sitting and writing the list that forces them to decide what is really important to them and what they can do without. If they end up with a lot of things on the list, seeing it in writing helps them realize that Santa might not be able to fit it all in his sleigh, so it might be prudent to prioritize. Sometimes they surprise me with just one or two things. Sometimes they don’t have anything in mind and want Santa to surprise them. But once the letter goes in the mail, sorry, no changes allowed. That’s why you have to check it twice.
In our home, we also write a follow-up letter to Santa that we leave out on Christmas Eve along with a few chocolate chip cookies. It is a reminder to Santa about the first letter written and the multitude of requests. Santa then leaves a note back, commenting on the children’s shining moments through the year. Maybe that’s the Santa letter we love the most. It is not there when we go to bed, but is always there when we wake up in the morning. It brings the magic of Christmas to our children, for as long as Santa exists to them.