Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Great Santa Debate

I am amazed at all of the controversy that Santa brings up at this time of year. As I have been reading bits and pieces of other people's blogs and visiting message boards I keep seeing the issue of whether or not to tell kids that Santa isn't real. And, oddly enough, feelings run so high that people are getting nasty to each other when they disagree.

Here is where we stand. My child will believe in lots of things when he gets to be a toddler. I'm sure he will think there are monsters under the bed, that he has imaginary friends and that Santa does exist. I will tell him that the monster's aren't real, but I will likely talk to his imaginary friends and I won't correct him about Santa.

And I do wonder, for those people who do want their kids to believe in Santa, how do you explain all the discrepancies out there about how he works? It seems like every Christmas movie has different explanations for how Santa gets all those toys delivered in one night, how he gets in houses without chimnies and what enables the reindeer to fly. It's so ironic to me that the overwhelming promotion of Santa by our culture has made it so much more difficult for children to believe in what they are trying to promote.

Our home is not going to focus on Santa or on giving gifts. The Christmas season is the time to talk about the birth of Jesus, celebrate Jesus' birth, spend time with family, and to reach out to others. We're not against Santa, he just isn't the most important thing at Christmas time for us.

Our home does have a Christmas tree, a Nativity set, an Advent calendar, stockings hung on the mantle and gifts under the tree. I'm pretty sure that Santa will be dropping of presents at his grandparents' homes and I know he will have a stocking at Mawmaw's house that Santa will drop off there.

I realize others will tell my child about Santa, ask him if he's made his list and inevitably the other kids will tell him Santa doesn't exist. When he asks us about it, we plan to tell him the real story of St. Nicholas on a level that he can understand. Basically we want him to know that St. Nicholas was a real man who loved Jesus so he gave everything he had to other people. Because he loved Jesus and helping others so much people still celebrate his life by giving gifts and helping each other out at Christmas to each other to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Santa Claus in the red suit with all of the reindeer is not real, but the spirit of generosity and giving that he represents is. Moms and Dads tell their children about Santa Claus and pretend to be Santa Claus because they love them and they want to give them gifts and telling the story to children is fun. I also plan to tell him that we should not ruin the fun for other kids and their families by telling them that Santa is not real.

Santa Claus is very much a part of our culture. There is no way my child will not hear about Santa unless we move to The-Middle-of-Nowhere without a TV, internet and human contact. And let's face it, Santa can be pretty hard to compete with. What kid wants to hear about a baby born in a manger when he can hear about the jolly man with the fancy sleigh, flying reindeer and presents? Instead of insulating our child from that or trying to deny the existence of Santa to him, we plan to let Santa be a peripheral part of our celebration and use him as a way to explain to our child about Jesus and why the baby in the manger was such an important event.

1 comment:

  1. We don't do santa here at our house, I have 3 older kids(18,17,14) we did a homeschool lesson when they were small about ST. Nicholas, They were good with it. And I will do the same with the 3 little ones (5,5,2) next year maybe. Although I almost burst out laughing cause my 3 little ones love the Polar Express movie, We were watching it for the billionth time last week and Jacob said, Mom, I don't think that man can really fly, If you can't fly noone can!!!! I love it when they are young and think I can do anything!!!
    I read somewhere years and years ago when maybe my youngest was 2 or 3, That if you do santa claus every year, and then teach about jesus too, Then the kids find out there is no santa claus. How do you explain you were lying about santa but not jesus. I wanted them to believe in jesus, But could never figure out how to get them to understand even though you can't see both, santa is not real, but jesus is. I just chose not to go there. Of course I had to carry this through the whole year. Easter is no easter bunny, no tooth fairy...etc. But we do awsome things for all and noone ever complained. Michelle ( )


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