OK…so before you read this post, PLEASE READ THIS:
Our family doesn’t celebrate Santa and I’m giving some legitimate reasons as to why. But this post is meant to be taken in good humor. I’m not writing this to make anyone feel badly or to criticize. I am writing this to provoke thought and there are some for real questions and points I intend to make. But, seriously. My parents celebrated Christmas with Santa and I never once thought they were bad parents for doing it. In fact, as terrified as I am in the picture under reason #4 , it’s one of my favorite Christmas pictures…because it’s HILARIOUS. However, I do find it ironic how much people talk up Santa Claus at Christmas time. Yes, St. Nicholas was a pretty stellar guy. But honestly, let’s examine…
Reason #1 – Let’s face it…we’re lying to our kids. My cousin once told me that her family was big on Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. And she truly believed in Santa. Her mom took pains to make sure that the illusion was upheld. And then she found out the truth. And she felt betrayed and lied to. And it took her time to trust her mother again. Let’s let that sink in. You may think this is extreme, but we cannot take for granted that our kids know the truth and are just playing along. They may not. If your kids are as literal and black & white as mine, they may be falling for it hook, line and sinker. And is it worth losing their trust over when they finally figure it out?
Reason # 2 – He plays favorites. My hubby told me the other day that he seriously thought Santa liked other kids more than him. His parents weren’t rich, so he would get a small gift from “Santa” every year. Then he would go back to school and find out that his rich friend got a new bike or a Power Wheels. That’s a big disparity. This can cause our kids to ask, If Santa plays favorites, who else does? Do my parents? Does God?
Reason # 3 – And speaking of comparisons, he is a God-like figure. “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good…” Instead of our children being encouraged to be good and obey because it pleases God, we’re encouraging them to be motivated to “be good” in order to get stuff.
Reason #4 – Stranger Danger matters…except with Santa Claus. All year long we tell our kids, “Don’t to talk to strangers. Don’t take candy from strangers. DON’T EVER sit on a stranger’s lap! Who knows what a CREEP like that is looking for! Oh, except for this big dude in a bright red suit with a bushy white beard that covers his whole face. Wait, why are you crying? Stop that. He’s perfectly safe. You can trust him!” (see photo below) We need to help our children foster their gut instincts to stay away from people that give them a bad feeling. If your kid is terrified to sit on Santa’s lap, let it go. You can get other cute Christmas shots sans Santa.
Mom and Dad having to sit on Santa’s lap with me to get the shot, Christmas 1982
Reason # 5 – He gives stores a way to pressure us parents into consumerism and debt to keep the fantasy alive. There your kiddo is, sitting on Santa’s lap. You are straining to hear what they are asking for to make sure you were on the right track for their gifts and then, to your horror, little Suzy asks for a puppy or little Bobby asks for a train set. That actually happened to us. A couple of years ago while we were in Kentucky for Christmas, Nana and Papa paid for all of us to go on a train ride with Santa. We decided to relent and let the kids sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted. Up walks Nutkin and asks for a train. Ummmm? We had no idea that he wanted that. He had said nothing. And here we are completely done with our Christmas shopping, thousands of miles from home and only three days before Christmas. Thankfully, Nana and Papa had gotten him a train unbeknownst to us and all was well. But how often does that happen where the parents then make a mad dash to the store, spend more than they intended and stress themselves out? And worse yet, how many times have you heard a store clerk tell your kiddo, “You like that $400.00 toy, huh? Well, maybe Santa will bring that to you for Christmas.” *wink, wink* Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Nutkin dropping the bomb on us… December 2014
Reason #6 – He replaces us as the giver of the best gifts to our children. We all know how hard we work. We want Christmas to be special, so we scrimp and save to give good gifts to our children. We spend hours shopping, standing in lines, decorating and wrapping gifts. But instead of putting “TO: Johnny, FROM: Mommy & Daddy” on the package, we give Santa, a distant, un-involved magical man all of the credit! WHAT ARE WE THINKING?! Sorry, but I want my kids to realize that I love them and hand-picked a present personally for them.
Reason #7 – He takes the focus off Jesus. This is a separate point from reason #3 and to me, the most important reason of all. If you are not a Christian, this argument is moot. But to those of us that are, I believe that I can make the argument with little dispute that Christmas is all about Jesus. If we can establish this as fact, then we must examine who we are giving focus to besides Jesus at Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birthday. Holiday means “holy day.” It’s His day. Not Santa’s or Rudolph’s or an Elf on the Shelf or any other character. Santa often represents commercialism, excess and what we can get. Jesus not only represents, but IS the embodiment of grace, mercy, humility and what God gave…Himself. And what a beautiful present He is!
So dear friends, as this holy day fast approaches, my family and I wish you the happiest of Christmases.
My next posts will be about the Jesse Tree, a fairly new Advent tradition in our family. I’m excited to share my discoveries with you!
Blessings and much love,