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On That Jolly Old Fat Man In The Red Suit.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On That Jolly Old Fat Man In The Red Suit.

Santa Claus.

I remember the day as clearly as it happened last week. I was in the second grade and it was probably the first altercation or argument I ever had.

"There is no Santa Claus. He's just pretend." I told the five or six second graders as we sat down to play War with a deck of cards during some freeplay time.

"There is to!!" They each argued with different stories and reasons for believing.

But I argued back harder. And harder. And after one girl started crying my teacher Ms. Peterson took me in the hallway and explained that just because I didn't believe in Santa Claus didn't make it ok for me to ruin it for my friends.

I wasn't trying to ruin it, I just wanted to be right and prove my point. (Something my husband says I still do today in various other aspects of life. Ahem.)

In my world there is no Santa.

Yes, the television and the local mall and just about every advertisement says there is, but to me, he is a ficticious character just for fun that some (most?) people celebrate and associate with Christmas.

But we don't.*

It's a compromise J and I came to upon committing our lives together. I hadn't grown up with Santa, he had. I had no interest, desire or yearning to celebrate that aspect of the holidays, he could take it or leave it. So leave it, he did.

We do celebrate St. Nicholas Day at the beginning of December but it is viewed and celebrated separately than Christmas. As for Christmas, I just choose to focus on it being Jesus' birthday and our reason for celebrating.

Now before I go further, I don't mind if anyone else does Santa. I think that every family and parent makes decisions that they feel are best for their family and themselves personally. Some families do a great job of celebrating twofold meaning they can celebrate Jesus and Santa. We just don't. And we'd still like to be your friend.

So the big question, especially this year with H being 3 (and a half) and basically the epitome of make believe believing age, is how do we deal with Santa and Christmas?

Very, very carefully.

Most people that we know do believe in Santa Claus and celebrate that aspect of Christmas and I don't want H squashing those beliefs of others.

I have never really told H about Santa and we don't own any books or movies that really talk about the meaning of Santa. The only Christmas stories he's learned from us have been the real Christmas story or Mary and Joseph and Jesus, and what he understands of that is probably little.

Last year, when we would drive through the neighborhood seeing giant inflatables of Santa Claus, H would say, "There's Jesus." That's how little he knew of Santa.

This year, with social pressures and just being more observant he does notice and question more.

A few weeks back we went with several friends to the Macy's display downtown, I was unsure of my steps as we exited the display and friends turned their strollers towards the line for Santa.

What to do, what to do.

I joined them, looked at H and asked if he wanted to sit on his lap.

He said no and I sighed a huge sigh of relief.

He watched his friends get on his lap, some happily, some not so much, and never wavered. He had no interest. And either did I.

This year, either because of his growing age or because of my growing awareness I've noticed more and more strangers asking or saying things to him about Santa.

"Did you go see Santa?" They'll ask and H will reply no without so much as batting an eye and they'll continue on. "Well did you write him a letter?" And so on.

"Oh make sure you're listening to your mom, Santa is watching." The cashier at Target will say and H will look around for security cameras wondering where the heck that fat guy is hiding.

"Are you excited for Santa to come to your house?" My personal favorite simply because of H's reply; "Santa doesn't come to our house."

That's simply the way we've handled it for now. Santa doesn't come to our house. And it has nothing to do with whether he's good or bad or anything in between. Until he asks more or we feel he deserves more of an explanation we're leaving it at that.

*As for T and M, they are beyond the Santa years at this point but they did do Santa. At their moms. Since Santa doesn't come to our house.

So what do you think? Do you celebrate Santa? How do you handle the Santa thing and the true meaning of Christmas with your kids? Or how was it handled when you were a kid?

***Just a reminder that the giveaway ends tomorrow night, so if you haven't already entered go ahead and enter.***


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I handled Santa at my house by saying santa is not a person. He is a special spirit, That makes people reach out to people and kids with special presents. A Spirit if giving to all. love you Janet

December 16, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jill Davis Doughtie said...

I didn't grow up with Santa, either. My parents were very concerned with not lying to us (as they explained when we were older). My mom read us a story about St. Nicholas, and the book explained that we was a real person, who was dead now, but who we remember every year.

Once, when my brother was little, a grocery store cashier asked him what Santa was bringing him for Christmas. (My mom had brought all four of us little kids grocery shopping with her -- wow.) My brother told her matter-of-factly, "Santa Clause is dead." My mom says that cashier gave her such a dirty look!

December 16, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Rodman Life said...

I love this! I completely agree as well! I grew up with Santa Clause, but I think I'll raise my kids (someday) with the same view as you. I really like your points here, because I could never really figure out WHY I didn't want to do the whole "santa thing", but this was helpful! I love H's responses, those are great and should make you proud!
- A parent at the daycare told me why they don't do Santa: "We want her to appreciate what we and others give her, and not be concerned with what Santa brought, because he didn't actually do anything."
I also thought that was insightful!

December 16, 2009 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger charish said...

With the Brittany when she was little it was just easier to say "Santa goes to other peoples home who's parent can not afford to buy us presents."
We never had any problems with it.

December 17, 2009 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger GMS said...

When I was growing up, big gifts clearly came from my parents and sibling and the stockings had little things in them like candy and "little stuff". My parents didn't go to great lengths to hide that there wasn't really a Santa. I don't ever remember thinking I got short changed by the guy when other kids got their big gifts from Santa. We had the same approach with our two kids (now 16 and 21) and they figured it out very early (probably pre-school or K). We told them that he was pretend when they asked & from then on we said it was a game and it wasn't our job to tell anyone that there wasn't a Santa, BUT if they played the game and didn't tell anyone what they knew about Santa, we would play the game and fill their stockings. My 21 year old told me the other day that he didn't ruin the game for anyone this year and smiled. I'm still filling stockings w/ "little stuff".

December 18, 2009 at 4:24 PM  

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