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.
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. Do your children believe in Santa? Why or why not?