Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Santa Issue

Dear Santa,
I never believed in you.
Michael and I have known from the beginning that we wouldn't be playing the Santa game with our kids. I'll tell you why...and I'll be very honest. Don't get your panties in a bunch, this is just the way we do things.

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.


  1. You don't sound Grinchy. Not at all. I have no idea what I'm going to do with my kids. My parents were like yours. They never tried very hard to convince us that Santa was real, but they definitely enjoyed playing along with it. We actually still leave a plate of cookies out on Christmas Eve (mostly because then my parents can have some guilt-free snacking while they're finishing up our presents). I'll probably do the same thing.

    But I do totally agree with you about the focus on Christ, and I hope you guys don't have to face too much heat for teaching Ender that Santa isn't really real. It's sad that you had to post something like this at all, because it's not like you're denying him anything about the magic of Christmas. He just understands the real source of the magic.

    I miss you! Sorry for the long comment that may not be entirely coherent. :) Love reading your blog, though, of course.

    1. :) Thank you, Lynnae. You calmed my fears a bit (it makes me nervous to imagine that I could offend people...haha, is that dumb?).
      I miss you too!

  2. So true! With Dade and Corben I never did the Santa thing. I never believed in him and neither did Dade. I remember my SIL being horrified that Dade didn't believe. She wondered why I would take that magic away from him and also how I managed to keep him behaving without someone to tattle to. But it worked for us. When I married Ryan Santa was a HUGE deal. His family celebrated with one gift left out from Santa on Christmas morning so we took up the tradition with Corben and with each of the kids afterwards. Can I tell you just how much I HATE it?! I actually heard one of them saying to the other, "Be careful! Santa and Jesus are watching!" Really????? Wonder how I can convince them the old man has retired...


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