What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

28 November 2010

Hold the Tar and Feathers, Please

2. Bar Santa from the house.

Yep, here's the unpopular one. And of course if you have children between 3 and 10-ish who have always had Santa, this is not a route you will be able to take. But you know those families I mentioned in idea #1? Yeah, they do this, too.

Seriously, I get so annoyed at people who lament a) the condition our country is in, b) how sad it is that we don't acknowledge Jesus at Christmas any longer, and/or c) how materialistic the U.S. has become, then follow it all up by showing me pics of their kids with Santa. I smile and nod, but inside I'm screaming, "You can't have it both ways!!!" And I really believe that you can't.

And this one does have some personal experience attached: I was so devastated when I found out about Santa. I held on to believing for a long time-- much longer than kids normally do-- because I didn't think my parents would tell me something that wasn't true. I was really upset when I found out that Oh, yes, they would. I just don't see how I can expect my children to accept that Santa is a story but Jesus is real, when I spend the first few years of their life presenting both as the truth. It works for some people, apparently, but I'm not one of them.


Unknown said...

You've given me something to think about... I've always planned to tell my children about Father Christmas and the tooth mouse/fairy and other things like that, because I had such fun believing in all those fairy tale type things when I was a child, and yet I'll be teaching them about Jesus as well... It seemed to work for me (I can't really remember when I figured out Santa wasn't real), but as you pointed out, it doesn't work for everyone. So now I wonder...

Su said...

I don't really have a solution worked out yet for my own kids, but here are some things my friends have done and I'm currently considering them:

1. Just call him "Pretend" Santa Clause.
2. Tell the kids he's pretend, but tell them it's a secret (so they feel like they're in on something, and don't mope about missing out).
3. Tell the kids that everybody knows that Santa isn't real, and that everybody is pretending. That gets them playing along without actually believing the story, and cuts down on the chances of them spilling the beans to other kids.

And of course, not every kid is as weird as I was. So you may be in the clear. ;)

Aaron said...

Psh, I'm only one of two parents, and what I say gets shot down most of the time. So as much as I would like to get away from the whole materialism of Christmas and Birthdays and 'I want...'(s)... my cynical voice isn't enough.

Su said...

Another good point-- both parents do have to be in agreement for this to work.

Amy said...

My kids know that Santa is Grandpa. They dutifully keep the secret for their cousins and poor Grandpa.
We celebrate Hanukkah as a family and Christmas with the clan. This seems to have blurred a lot of lines and made it just a great season to talk about God's heart for His people. And also to eat pie. Lots of pie.

Su said...

Amy, you are brilliant.

And please pass the pie. :)

Timbra said...

we have toiled over whether we will talk to our kids about santa. . . i feel like it's a fun tradition but at the same time, the devil is in the details and i don't like to talk about all sorts of north pole and how santa gets to all the kids in one night. . . i feel like we might even just give up on the santa myth this year b/c i don't want my kids to mistrust me, THOUGH i never mistrusted my parents after finding out santa wasn't real, i felt the way i do now. . . it was a fun part of the tradition of things (and even if we tell alani that santa is not real, then we will still take her every year to make her sit on santa's lap :)

Su said...

Pretend Santa the photo op? ;) That's great. (And of course, you weren't among the moaning/'look how cute' crowd that I had in mind when writing.)

However we eventually come down on the Santa thing for ourselves, I'm with you on the details... when they start asking questions about how it's done, it's time to move on instead of feeding the myth, IMO. (Having said that, in the movie The Santa Clause when the kid comes up with his own explanation, it's brilliant. Of course, in that movie, Santa is real.)

Faith said...

Hi Su, trying to catch up on some of your posts... growing up, my siblings and I didn't believe in Santa Claus and I don't feel that we missed out on anything at all. We have oodles of family traditions that we still hold onto and celebrate together. At the time, I remember wondering how anyone's parents could lie to them about something as important as Christmas, but that was my own thought process -- I honestly can't remember what my parents' explanation was as to why we didn't have Santa in our house.

Anyway, it's a tricky topic for me because I don't think Santa has a place in Christian homes beyond the "pretend" aspect. But I have Christian friends who have made the choice to 'do Santa' with their kids, so I guess it's going to depend on your upbringing and (hopefully) how you feel God is leading you to handle the season in your home. With a dash of common sense added, I trust.

Su said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Faith! The more people I meet who say they never did the Santa thing, the less I feel like I might be crazy. :)

And you have also made another point that I neglected: Traditions are important. I think it's essential for a family to have traditions, for holidays or seasons or Fridays or whatever. That's what ties bonds among families, I think, and what gives the grown children an anchor back to their past.

Beth said...

We have always told our children that Santa Claus is pretend (but that many parents want their children to believe he's real), and that's what I was always told growing up as well. Also growing up we had the "Pretend Easter Bunny" and no tooth fairy at all. We haven't had any lost teeth yet, but I'm not planning to do the tooth fairy thing unless Ryan feels strongly about it, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't.
I was always glad that my parents didn't lie to me about Santa Claus. I honestly felt sorry for children whose parents were deliberately deceiving them.
I don't buy any Santa Claus decorations (I do have a few Santa ornaments that were gifts), but I do have a nativity set and I bought a toy nativity set for my girls this year.
I would be happy to do few or no gifts, but several people in my family have "gifts" as their primary love language and have said that it just gives them so much joy to give gifts.
I appreciate you bringing this up because I've been trying to think of good ways to help my children focus on Jesus instead of the gifts.

Kate said...

My kids have always known that Santa wasn't real. In fact, Annie has been HELPING me fill the stockings since she was two!! We don't wait till Christmas Eve to fill the stockings either. We just wrap each item that goes in! Of course, I made sure they knew that most people pretend that Santa IS real and we shouldn't tell their kids that he's not....that's up to the parents. We do the same thing with the tooth fairy and Easter bunny. In some ways, I think it's made it more fun for us...especially since they got old enough to realize that Mama's stocking was always empty...they started filling it!! LOL!!

Su said...

@Beth: I was thinking of you when I wrote this; you were the first person I ever met who didn't think I was weird for not wanting to make Santa real in my house. And you were also the first I'd ever met who grew up without Santa (but still celebrated Christmas-- I did know a few Jehovah's Witnesses as a kid).

@Kate: That's brilliant. And again, I keep getting happier as more people tell me they don't have Santa and their kids aren't permanently damaged. ;)