Santa won’t be stopping at our house, this year or ever. This is a topic very dear to my heart and I know it’s a very sensitive issue but I had to share the perspective of a family who does not “do” the whole Santa Claus thing.
When my daughter was born in January of 2008, my husband and I had almost a year to discuss how we would handle Christmas with our little girl. Would Christmas be about the birth of Jesus? Would it be about Santa? Would it be about both? Would it be about giving and helping others? Would it be about family and traditions? Christmas can mean so much but what would it mean for our little family?
I have strong emotions when I think about my personal experience with “Santa Claus”. I remember being completely devastated when I found out that Santa was really my parents. I also distinctly recall my anger with them… they always told me to be honest and tell the truth yet they “lied” to me for years about this mystical man that comes down the chimney delivering presents. I remember feeling so hurt and confused.
My husband and I decided we would not do the Santa thing with our little girl. It didn’t matter in her first year or second year. She was too young to understand Christmas and what it meant for her and her family. This year she is almost three. This is the year that we feel she will really grasp the importance of this season and what it means to us as a family. We want our little girl to see the joy in Christmas. Helping and giving to others, as well as sharing special moments and traditions with the family. My husband and I have also shared with her that it is Jesus’ birthday (she seems to think a birthday cake should be involved). Perhaps next year we will share with her the stories about St. Nicholas; a man who demonstrated charity and humility.
We have chosen to spend our time and energy on enjoying the holiday season with our little girl. We don’t want to stress about getting our stories “right” or fret about how to keep her believing. We would rather focus on tobogganing, looking at Christmas lights, sipping hot cocoa on a cold winter night, attending concerts, giving to others, being kind and generous, visiting with family and loving one another.
However, it’s not easy “avoiding” the Santa hype. Santa is everywhere and to go against the “norm” is challenging. We’ve also discovered that other parents get very sensitive around this issue… we’ve been questioned and told; “Why don’t you let her believe? Don’t you think she’s missing out? It’s not lying… it’s helping her learn how to have faith”. To us, having faith in something that we, as parents, clearly lie about, is not a good lesson about faith. Since it is such a sensitive topic I try to avoid these discussions, which is unfortunate because I think we each have a right to celebrate the holiday season the way we wish.
Last night my husband and I watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. At the end of the movie Clark Griswold shares his wisdom about Christmas… “See kids, it (Christmas) means something different to everybody. Now I know what it means to me”.
I have to emphasize, my family’s approach to Christmas is our own choice and I think it’s important for every family to have their own traditions and approaches to enjoying the holiday season. We’re just different and that should be okay.