Friday, December 11, 2009

Case against Santa Claus

Don't be mad!! I LOVE Santa, love him. I love the idea, the stories, the magic, all of it. However, we're not teaching Kadence about him. I begrudge no one who teaches their child about Santa, and if my personal experiences hadn't gone the way they did, I would most likely have a different outlook on the whole thing. Alas, that is not the case.

We are Christians, and while we love Jesus with all our hearts, we do not believe Christmas is all about Him. As hard as it is for some believer's to grasp, Jesus is not the "reason for the season". Though Christianity mingled it's teachings with Christmas, the holiday is not rooted in religion. Jesus was not born in the winter, and Christmas was a Pagan holiday long before it became Christianized. If you want to celebrate a Biblical holiday in December, you're much better off celebrating Chanukah. It, unlike Christmas, has biblical roots and Jesus himself actually observed the holiday. Though we will still incorporate Jesus' birth into our Christmas traditions, I do not hold them too high, and our faith in Christ has nothing to do with teaching our children about Santa...directly. I do have a slight fear that if we teach our children about Santa while teaching them about Jesus then one day they find out we lied to them about Santa, they will question if we lied to them about Jesus. I guess our belief plays a part in it, but I know many Christians, myself included, who at one time believed in Santa and are not damaged.

Furthermore, we live in a society that is richly prosperous. Even some of our poorest are wealthy according to most of the world. However, in this economy there are quite a few people left having what some would call a "lean" Christmas. How do I reconcile that with my children? How can I explain to them that Santa simply couldn't bring them the new video game system or custom build dollhouse or whatever they put on their list? If he has Elves making toys and things year round, how can we expect them to understand they can't have everything they want? I also worry about the "be good for Santa" mantra. If they are horrible all year long, should I follow through and say they were on Santa's naughty list? And again, if they are good but we can't fulfill their wish list, what do we say? Also, we plan to donate toys to Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots, and/or a local organization each year; when we do this, will our kids wonder why Santa doesn't visit the less fortunate?

Though important factors, I can't say for certain these in themselves would cause me to feel the way I do and teach our children what I plan to teach them.

My main reason for not teaching our children about Santa is this:

Christmas Eve, 1985. Each year, "Santa" would come visit my step-grandmother's house. I remember how wonderful it was to see him in person and get presents, though they were significantly less appealing gifts than the non-step grandkid's gifts, haha. Just before Santa arrived that chilly Christmas Eve, my brother, who was 10, callously informed me that not only was the guy I thought to be Santa my uncle, but that Santa didn't even exist! Crushed, I turned to my dad to expose my brother's lies, but sadly, he confirmed them. That was so painful for me to learn, and of all my childhood Christmas memories, this is the most vivid one. I cannot bear to think about setting my children up for such disappointment. Though, again, I understand not everyone has such a bitter memory of finding out Santa wasn't in fact real. I hope Santa memories for everyone who believed in him and their children are nothing but fond ones!

As for what we will teach our children- the truth. We will teach them the story of St. Nicholas, and how because of his faith, he devoted his life to helping others. We will explain (in age appropriate terms, of course) how his life was such an inspiration that his work is still celebrated at Christmas time..a la Santa Claus. Though he isn't a live person who lives at the North Pole and "sees you when you're sleeping...", it's okay to celebrate Santa knowing who he is based upon.

My one concern- my kids ruining it for others. I'm hoping that since we won't teach that "Santa isn't real", they won't go around saying such things. I will not, however, feel too guilty if they happen to tell their friends the truth. I can't. I mean, it's a conviction I have and I shouldn't be expected not to teach them things for fear of them telling others. It will never be my intent, though, because I know how devastated I was when I found out the truth. I certainly don't want my children to be responsible for doing that to someone else.

I hope that all makes sense, and that you won't take offense if you teach your child something different. This certainly falls into the "to each his own" category, in my humble opinion. :)