“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Saturday, January 9, 2010

To Santa... or Not To Santa...

When I became pregnant with Christopher, Anthony and I had a lot of decisions to make.  Cloth vs. disposable.  Pampers vs. Luvs.  Similac vs. Enfamil.  Natural vs. C-section.  And Santa vs. no Santa.

It was quite a dilemma.  Of course, some decisions were easier than others.  But to Santa or not to Santa... that was the question.  I had been raised believing in Santa.  And I have no gripes about that.  But being the legalist that I can sometimes be... I had a hard time thinking about deceiving my child into believing in a nice jolly fellow who would make all his dreams come true... and then one day admit that I had been lying the whole time.

So, after Christopher was born Santa didn't visit our house.  And Christopher didn't notice... considering being an only child... he had plenty of gifts beneath the tree.  We would visit Santa at the mall.  Christopher would receive gifts from Santa when he visited relatives.  When asked by Christopher, "Mommy, do you believe in Santa?" I would respond with a gentle prodding question, "What do you think?"  He still wondered... and being considerate of other parents... we never denied Santa's existence.

I later found that the choice to not have Santa visit our home was a huge benefit.  Christopher never asked for large presents... he was appreciative for what he received... and I could even admit that I was Christmas shopping for him or wrapping his gifts.  It was also to our benefit because when we would travel at Christmas to other homes, Christopher would not be concerned with whether or not Santa would find him on Christmas Eve... having opened his gifts in his own home days earlier.
But then something happened.  And I truly don't know what to think.

It was just this past Christmas Eve as we were driving from one relative's home to another.  Every store was closed.  There was an occasional convenience store open, but Best Buy and Toys R Us and Macys and Target... were closed.  And they would be closed on December 25th.  Christmas Day.

I began to realize that I was able to celebrate Christmas Day with my family... and have the day off... because Santa only comes one evening a year.  And to keep the dream of Santa alive... stores needed to close... and parents needed to be home... and children needed to be in bed.

Was it true?  Didn't Christmas Day have to do with the birth of Christ?  And yes, it does.  But I could celebrate the birth of Christ on any day... and actually... every day.  But not Santa.  Just one night... just one day... that we all agree upon.

So all along I was thinking that I should keep Santa out of Christmas... and what if I succeeded in that?  I mean truly succeeded in Christmas not having to do anything with Santa at all?  What if we all got together and rid Christmas of Santa all together?  I have a feeling that our "right" to have Christmas Day off and spend with our families... would disappear... and we would realize that it wasn't a "right" all along... but a privilege.  And I sure would miss it.

Sometimes... I just wish Christmas was simple, don't you?  I guess I have about 350 more days to ponder it...


Amy said...

Joel and I had the "Santa/no Santa" discussion before we had kids (it was more like an argument). I didn't grow up believing in it, but Joel did. We kind of settled on not making a big deal out of it, we would pretend, but when talking about Christmas we would focus on Jesus. Syd actually asked us this year if Santa was real, and we asked her, "What do you think?" She didn't know. We ended up telling her the story of St. Nicholas, and how the tradition of Santa came to be. They still like to make believe that Santa is real, but we have never encouraged them to truly believe it. I prefer it that way. Like you, I am free to talk about Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, etc, w/out the having to come up with lavish stories about a man that no longer exists. Jesus exists. Jesus is real. And that is the main thing I want running through their heads leading up to the big day and beyond.

Anonymous said...

This is a serious dilemma and I'm not joking. It is one I think I will contiue to grind my teeth over. Good thing I have a whole year to worry about it.

More importantly, I'll worry about how I have deprived my boys and what if they are disturbed because of it. Maybe I should just ask them!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

This year was the cross-over year for us; all kids now know, and honestly, it was such a relief. I have absolutely no advice along these lines. I wasn't terribly scarred because of my childhood belief in Santa. My children seem to have fared accordingly. Nor do I have a problem with being blatantly honest with our kids about the entire thing.

It's just Christmas I have a problem with, and that has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus, lest anyone thinks I'm missing the mark.

It's just the chaos of it all. I'm still sorting the thing through. Yes, thank goodness I have 350 days off from it so I can actually be at peace about it all.

Great pic.


elizabeth embracing life said...

Santa has been around our home for years. I realize that in the samee way kids watch magical movies on TV and grow up and realize it was just an actor in a costume, is the same way they address the realization that Santa is not real. If the love of Jesus, the passion for His birth are not lost in the red jolly suit then I think I have succeeded as a parent. Just today on a date with Ethan he said this..."I think Jesus will be so cool to hang out with". This on the tail ends of a busy santa holiday. Santa is never mentioned again, but my seven year old wants me to know that it's Jesus he looks forward to hanging out with. Look at you, you are an amazing woman, and I do believe it comes from the Jesus in you, not your earlier years of Santa belief. I love you dear friend.

Anonymous said...

My father came from a family that didn't really celebrate Christmas not because they didn't believe in Jesus (because they did) but because they were very poor. I don't remember if we believed in Santa or not...I don't think we did, but relatives did. When Sally was born I made the decision not to force the issue and she always knew that Santa wasn't real. Once Adam decided to leave out cookies...just in case, but that was the only time he was confused about the issue.

I have Santa decorations, but mostly because they were given to me by my grandmother, so they are more sentimental gifts. I'm glad my kids never wanted to go down that route. They also never believed in the easter bunny or the tooth fairy. But you wouldn't believe how many strangers would get upset with us because we didn't teach our kids to believe in the fairy tales.


gideonmommasita said...

We didn't do Santa with our first two children for the very reasons you brought up. Feeling a little less legalistic with the last one. We haven't pushed the idea but somehow she believes in Santa and I haven't corrected her.

Lora said...

Thank you kindly for coming by to say hello! I so look forward to meeting you in Houston!

I grew up believing in Santa, and thought we'd do the same with our children. When the children were in early grade school, I was very convicted that I needed to be honest with them.

I so wish I'd had the video camera rolling on the afternoon that I told them their dad and I were their Santa. It started out as literally, one of the funniest moments of their early years. Our youngest darlin' just laughed and said cute little things like "Daddy doesn't have a red suit" and "Daddy couldn't fit down the chimney," etc. while having a good laugh. However, the conversation did turn serious and by the grace of God, turned out very well. I have never regretted our afternoon of honesty, only that I didn't record the funny responses on video.

Blessings to you Sheri!

Joyce said...

All of our children are older now, 19 up to 25...so thankfully we don't have to deal with these things any longer. Until Grand kids come along one day.

We never did the Santa thing. And it was never an issue in our house. My kids were never traumatized because they knew the truth and that the gifts came from us.....their parents and we were able to give them presents because we loved them and because God loved them and were were celebrating the birth of Jesus.

My kids always had their presents laid out in the night....just as "if" Santa had come.

I love the entire "St. Nicholas" story. Just never incorporated into our Christmas's but one day we may.

They never felt robbed or anything. We watched Christmas cartoons with Rudolph and Santa...just didn't make a huge deal out of it. I never have had one Santa decoration in the house.

We might have started out a bit "legal" in the beginning.....but not through the years.
We just have a strong conviction about telling our kids the truth and we have never lied to them and wasn't going to start with doing holidays that way.

I work retail at a fun store and we see many "Christmas" items and decorations, etc. The past two years we have sold "Elf on the Shelf" and it grieves me how the parents/grandparents who ever use it to make their kids be fearful and behave because this "elf" is watching them for Santa.
One Mom even told me that her son came home from school where they had one in the class room.....and that the elf "winked" at him one day. So she had to come buy him one because he knew the elf would want to come to their house too.
Sad......great selling item too.

I'm all about the truth so that we don't have to keep making bigger and bigger stories up and cover ups.
Just me....but I don't condemn anyone for doing whatever their heart leads them to do.