December 3, 2010

The Great Santa Debate

December 3, 2010

Before having children of my own I never would have imagined that there would be such a great debate over the tale that is Santa! To be honest I never gave Santa much thought until we approached our first Christmas together as a family of three in 2008. We had several people make mention and ask us if we were going “to do” Santa with our children. This question provoked much thought between the two of us and a quick mutual decision not “to do” (doesn’t that sound so weird) Santa. I really did not think it was a big deal until I told a close friend and her response was, “if Colton ruins Christmas for my kid I will be so pissed!” (Friend, if you’re reading know that I love you!!) To be honest with you I was a little taken back and lacked words to respond. For those of you who know me, I know that may come as a shock. Had the conversation taken place now I think I would be better equipped to respond and respond in love.

Now, before you roll your eyes in disbelief or think I am a terrible of mom because I’m taking the “magic” out of Christmas, just give me a couple of moments to explain where I’m coming from. First, let me give you a little background… you may be surprised to hear how different the experiences of Chris and I were:

Growing up I never really remember a time when I thought that Santa Claus was real. My parents never made a big deal about him. I knew that my parents bought the gifts under my tree, and I realized that Santa and his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer was simply a story. Let me also explain that I was not raised in church. Yes, I went to church on occasion and I attended Sunday school for a short stint as a “bus child”, but my family was never active members of any church. With that being said I do not think that I fully understood the true meaning and magnitude of Christmas until I was a teenager when I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and became an active Christian. Yes, I knew that Christmas was supposed to be the time when baby Jesus was born, but I did not have a true understanding of what that meant.

Surprisingly enough (or maybe not) my husband’s experience was quite a bit different. Chris was raised in church from birth and came to know and accept Christ when he was eight years old. He recalls Santa being a big deal as a young kid. His parents were divorced when he was five and both homes did the Santa routine. Santa came on Christmas Eve dropped and dropped off a special gift for each child. Chris says he really do not remember when this whole routine came to an end (probably when his youngest sister finally realized Santa was not real) and surprisingly enough he says as a child he does not think that he really understood what the ‘real’ meaning of Christmas was. Christmas Eve has always been spent with Chris’ mom’s family. It was there that they sang some Christmas songs and read the Christmas story from the bible, “but for us kids”, Chris says, “It was just something we had to get through to wait to pen presents. We were never really explained in detail of the great importance of it all.”

I recently started a discussion in a Blog Frog community I’m a part of about this very topic and was amazed by the number of moms out there that feel the same way I do. It was actually very encouraging.

Our main reason for not encouraging this myth (other than the fact that it is a myth) is that Santa is invisible and God is unseen by human eyes (invisible) and we did not want there to ever be any question down the road about God being a “story” just like Santa. Yes, granted if your child is raised in a strong Christian home the likely hood of this happening is probably slim, but you never know and secondly, I do not want my son or daughter to ever question anything that I or their father tell them. A lie is a lie regardless as to why.

Christmas has become such a commercial holiday with way too much emphasis on getting and not giving. We were given a savior on Christmas morning over 2000 years ago and in our home I want that to be the focus. In order to help with this Chris and I have decided to make it a tradition to only do 3 gifts for our children and to each year read the Christmas story and explain about the 3 wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus. I keep hearing over and over about the “magic” of Christmas, but honestly I do not want to focus on the magic, but rather the miracle of what Christmas represents.

Needless to say I am really taken back by parents who would freak out that another child might spill the beans about Santa for their kids. Let’s just take a moment and flip the scenario around. What about a kid who does not have Santa, or maybe even Christmas (Jews for example) at home and they are being told by your child “Santa is coming to my house to bring me gifts for Christmas because I have been a good boy/girl”. What is the difference here between your child and my child? Why is it okay for one and not for the other?

Granted there are no real answers here, but there should not be judgment being slung in either direction. I think a fellow mommy blogger said it best when she said, “Expecting our children to not talk to one another about what they believe is just asking for them to grow up to be adults who cannot listen to one another at all.” Talking to others about what they believe is one thing I want for both of my children as they get older. Whether they are talking about whom they believe to be the best football team or most importantly what they know and believe about Jesus. We are never too young to be a witness for Christ!

So to sum it all up, I in no way think that “doing Santa” is wrong, even for Christians, but we, the Brooks family have just chosen not to. This does not mean we will not read “The Night Before Christmas” or attempt to get our children’s picture taken with Santa and we will make an effort to be sensitive to the wishes of parents who decide to make Santa an active “member” in their Christmas celebration. On Christmas morning we plan on celebrating with a birthday cake for Jesus and join together in singing happy birthday to Him and then we will read the Christmas story and try our best to somewhat explain it to our 2 year old. We want this to be a yearly tradition in our family. Then we will let them open their three gifts from mom and dad.


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