I never believed in you.
Santa is not real, and we won't try to teach our kids that he is, because it is pointless. It really is. You know who is real and should be the focus of Christmas? Jesus Christ. No wonder so many Christian parents wonder how they can help their kids understand the true meaning of Christmas, and they're busy looking for ways to remind their kids...but it's harder because they're also holding onto the tradition of Santa.
My parents would play around with the Santa thing with us kids. If they had to keep something secret, they'd give us a teasing look and say that it was up to Santa or something like that. And we felt like we were in on the joke. There was no stress about Santa for me. I knew he was a fun tradition, and I knew that people liked to pretend that gifts were from him. It was just fun.
I also understood that some kids really thought he was real. My parents tried to help us be sensitive to that fact.
This is where things get frustrating for me now-- why won't other people be sensitive to the way we teach our children that Santa is not real? Do they not realize that it's just not funny to tell my son that he should write a letter to Santa and tell him what presents he'd like? Because guess what...we had to have a bit of the "Santa talk" this morning. He thought that he had to write to Santa, and he felt concerned about it.
I was there when someone was telling Ender he had to do that, but there were other children around, so I couldn't just say "Sorry, we don't play the Santa game!" I wanted to be careful about that since I know there are families who make it a big deal. So it's a little frustrating that things don't work the other way around.
I had to remind Ender this morning that it's only fun to pretend that Santa is the one giving everybody presents, but he knows who is really giving him presents. I had to re-explain that Santa doesn't matter. I reminded him about the scriptures stories we've been reading about Jesus this month and that Christmas is all about Jesus.
Look, I get it...I get that it's fun for the parents to tease their kids into believing something like that. I get how the tricks are just delightfully sneaky as you watch how gullible your kids are. The way I'm putting it might even sound mean, but I understand that it's fun. So don't get mad at me when I say that it's just the wrong thing to tease about. It confuses kids about the focus of Christmas (not just "the spirit of giving" but the life of our Savior). Michael and I personally feel that it's a little too manipulative of children's willingness to believe whatever we tell them, especially when it concerns something so important.
Go ahead and do your Santa thing if you really feel so strongly about it. If you think it's "cute" or whatever. But please, please, please don't try and make my son believe in Santa! That is not how we do things here. I'm not trying to make you feel like we are better than you, I just want to make it clear that in our effort to embrace Christmas, we don't mess around. We center our Christmas around Christ.
Please read update!
UPDATE: Okay, now I feel like the Grinch. PLEASE don't think I'm bitter! I'm worried my writing looks mean and nasty when I don't mean for it to be that way. Santa is fun, and I have lots of fond memories of reading about Santa stories and learning more about the history of how "Santa" came about. Our family had a hilarious "biography" of Santa that we loved reading (even during non-Christmas months!). Mostly, I wanted to express how I feel about making kids believe Santa's real. Because he's not. The magic of Christmas is fun and wonderful, but faking the magic just...doesn't appeal to us.