Category Archives: Traditions

5 Reasons Why We Don’t Do Santa Claus

I’ve been writing this post in my head for weeks. Trying to figure out the best way to get my words on paper, er, computer screen. This morning I woke up with an icy cold nose which told me the temperature had dropped. It’s snowing! I said to myself as I hopped out of my warm blankets and looked out the window expectantly. And sure enough, it was. wpid-2014-12-14-09.49.08.jpg.jpeg

And you know how we love snow days. Today is the day I need to write, I thought as I prepared breakfast for my hungry crew. It’s going to look like Christmas outside, so it’s time to write about Christmas.

Now before you read this, notice the title is NOT “Why We Don’t Do Santa Claus and So Shouldn’t You,” because first of all, that’s a grammatical mess. Second, I don’t want to convince you of anything. I just want to let you know what we do and why, because I’ve found myself having this conversation in person several times over the last couple weeks, which is always an indicator to me that I should write.

So here we go, 5 reasons we don’t do Santa:

1. I really don’t like Santa. I never have. Even as a kid I loathed being forced to sit on his lap so that adults could coo and snap pictures. I knew he wasn’t real and it seriously creeped me out that I had to sit on a costumed stranger’s lap. Obviously, this isn’t the only reason my kids don’t believe in Santa, but to be honest, it is a reason. The Oatmeal has a great comic illustrating my feelings toward the jolly guy.

2. Big Brother is extremely literal. He believes exactly what you tell him. It’s really hard to sneak anything by him. So I left it up to him to figure out Santa. I never told him anything for or against the story of Santa and the reindeer. I knew he would ask eventually, because he always does. And when he did ask (this year, and last year, and the year before) I asked him what he thought. I could see the wheels turning in his head. He knows that nothing about Santa Claus lined up with what he knows is truth, “he’s not real, right?”

“Right,” I replied, “he’s just a fun game we like to pretend about at Christmas time.”

“Like Batman!?” Little Brother chimed in.

“Yep, like Batman.” Satisfied that they had gotten to the bottom of it, they ran off to play.

3. I can’t lie to my children. This really belongs with reason number 2, but it’s so important I’m giving it its own paragraph. My children learn about the world primarily through me, because they’re with me most of the time. This is a big responsibility, and I can’t take it lightly. I’m not saying here that if your children believe in Santa that you are lying to them. But if they come right out and ask you if Santa is real and you say yes…by definition…that’s a lie. Let’s just call it what it is. I never want my boys to doubt what I say. When we read a book they always ask if we’re reading truth. Sometimes we are, sometimes we aren’t, but we always let them know. The ability to discern truth in this world is a skill that is so desperately needed. Again, I’m not saying that your kids shouldn’t believe in Santa, because myth definitely has its place in life too, but I want my kids to know that I will always give them a truthful answer. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t fit Santa into this, for our family.

4. Christmas is freakin’ awesome without Santa! Seriously, guys. If you’re a follower of Jesus this is a pretty important time in the history of our faith. It’s a time of Advent, of anxiously awaiting the Savior who was born and who will come again. These are incredible truths that really put the big red guy to shame. Our Creator God wanted so badly to make a way for us to come back to himself that he sent his Son, an extension of himself, to our filthy, wicked earth as a helpless baby to dwell among us. How does this not blow our minds? If I’m going to waste energy telling my kids a story that seems too incredible to be true I’m going to pick this one, because it’s true!

5. One of the great joys in my life is loving people by giving them gifts. I love my friends and family, and I want to communicate that love by giving them a gift that I picked out just for them. When my boys open their presents at Christmas I don’t want to give the credit to a stranger who broke into our house last night. This is probably selfish of me, but oh well. I want the credit. I’m the mom!

The point of this is not to make you feel judged for what you do with your kiddos. Instead I hope this has caused you to think. Tim and I often say we want to live intentionally, or live on purpose. We want to think about the reasons we do things for ourselves and our boys. We’ve thought this through, and our actions follow. My desire is that you would stop and think about your family traditions, and if you do and still do Santa at your house, then awesome! Do it!

Furthermore, I don’t hate Christmas. At least not all the time, and my favorite Christmas movie is Elf (Home Alone is second). May you and yours have a very merry Christmas. wpid-2014-12-14-09.48.31.jpg.jpeg Do your children believe in Santa? Why or why not?

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No Architects Here

I wrote earlier about Christmas Traditions, and tonight we tried our hand at one of the most popular traditions: Building a Gingerbread House. It would be interesting if this blog gave you a history on why this is even a thing, but since I abhor doing research for things I don’t necessarily care about…

Anyway. Where was I? We bought a kit at Walmart (Walmart shopping during Christmas season…*shudder*) and put it together tonight as a family. If you’ve never done minor construction with children and are somehow thinking this would be easy, you are insane. My oldest son was born to be a foreman and is excellent at giving out instructions and telling me where to put the “glue” (frosting) and referring back to the picture on the box and telling me again and again how I was doing it wrong.

Here are some pictures to tell the story.

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Look how beautifully it started out.

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Starting to eat, er, I mean put the candies on the house.

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Looking good.

There was a huge pile of candy in front of the house when we started. Somehow it disappeared quicker than we could decorate. Where did it all go?

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That blur you see? That is Big Brother’s hand. He was consuming candy so quickly you can’t even see it.

And of course, the final product…

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Isn’t he cute?

Turns out, apparently, that you can’t push candy into the frosting with the force of a bulldozer. Boys started to fuss about their project caving in, but we pacified them by letting them eat part of it.

This was lots of fun to do and I highly recommend it. Although next time I think we might just do graham crackers.

Oh, and did I mention we did all this while listening to Christmas music by the light of a fire?

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Netflix: Fireplace for Your Home

What’s the Condition of Your Tradition?

The thing about traditions is, some of them might be embarrassing. That’s because families are weird. Yes, even yours. One night during my teen years my dad asked us all a question during dinner (all 6 of us kids). He told us we needed a family secret and asked what we thought it should be. There were several contributions, including my brother’s name suggestions for our younger siblings (Slobbering Idiot), and that one time the neighbor girl pooped on the sidewalk.

Apparently that wasn’t what he had in mind and he told us that my mom was pregnant and that was going to be our secret. We were a little less thrilled about that than our other ideas, but my baby sister is pretty cool so we came around (no, she’s not still a baby, silly).

The Christmas Season comes with family baggage traditions, some great, some not so great. People have told me that the only way they survive the holidays is with alcohol because their family drives them batty. That’s not a great tradition. I’m blessed to have a family that loves each other even while we drive each other batty. We don’t need alcohol to get along. It helps, but we don’t need it.

When we were kids we would sleep on the floor in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Great tradition when we were young, but sleeping on the floor now is the worst. I guess I grew out of that one.

And of course we have a tradition of driving around looking at Christmas lights, as I’m sure many of you do too. Only now we are super judgmental about it.

What in the world were they thinking with that huge blowup snowman?

Why did they only decorate half of that tree?

Is…Is Santa peeing?

We are obviously experts, and have never put up Christmas lights ourselves. But aren’t the best critics the ignorant ones anyway?

But my favorite tradition, and the whole point of this post, is a little embarrassing. So of course I’m going to share it with the whole internet. Ready? Okay. We love Holiday Pies from McDonalds. It’s this creamy, flaky goodness that only happens once a year. They are great to pick up after looking at Christmas lights and eat while still warm (if you let them cool they become a little gross).  Do me a favor and never look up Google Images for this product. Just don’t. I told you not to. If you look too closely at any McDonalds “food” you will go blind it becomes really shady.

So I told you our tradition that I’m not proud of. I want to hear yours. What is your favorite/weirdest/coldest/worst/most creative Christmas tradition? I wanna know!