Sunday, December 21, 2008

ho! ho!...who?!

We don't do Santa in our house. As in, the girls don't get a gift on Christmas morning that magically appeared under the tree from a fat man in a red suit that somehow got into our house even though we don't have a chimney.

I know there are a lot of you out there who do the whole Santa thing, and I don't judge you for it. But I certainly feel like I have been judged when not only have I said that we don't 'do' the Santa thing, but after I have also said that we have come right out and told our kids that Santa isn't real. (and don't worry -- they are under strict instructions to keep this information to themselves)

Yes, we said it (and people have made me feel like an awful mother for doing it). Last year was when we told Joelle the truth, and it didn't seem to phase her all that much since she hadn't really had a lot of exposure to him yet (and the exposure that she did have of him was frightening for her).

This year, however, she insists that he is in fact real. No matter what we try to tell her -- she argues against us and is adament that there really is a Santa Claus. She even wants to leave out milk & cookies for the man.

And that's fine.

I know Santa is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e and you just can't escape him this time of year. And that's not our intent. We talk about Santa and the girls even got their pictures with Santa this year (first time they got near enough for any sort of picture) at a Christmas party. We encourage their imagination in this regard...but that's as far as we take it. Imagination.

We are not going to present them with a special gift and make them think that Santa was actually sneaking around our house in the middle of the night. But if they want to have some fun and leave out milk & cookies and imagine that Santa was really there, that's fine. Les will enjoy the bedtime snack and we will all wake up in the morning and have a wonderful time together opening presents that we bought for each other as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The girls will know that all of their gifts came from us, and next year we'll do it all over again.

I know there are a lot of arguments for the Santa thing, and that's all well and good. But it's also well and good to not do the Santa thing. There is no right or wrong here, as far as I'm concerned. But we have simply chosen to not participate in the whole Santa-Is-Real escapade.

But after getting some of the reactions that I have gotten lately, I started to doubt our decision. Are we doing the right thing? Will our kids be missing out? Should we just let them believe in it all until they grow out of it?

But the more I thought about it, the more I felt confident that we had made the right decision -- for us.

Neither Les or I grew up with the belief in Santa Claus, and I certainly never felt like I had missed out on anything. Besides, I have noticed lately just how much focus is put on the whole Santa thing. Anytime somebody talks to my kids about Christmas, the first thing that is asked of them are things like:

"What did you ask Santa for for Christmas?"
"Have you been a good girl for Santa Claus?
"What is Santa going to bring you?"

It seems that the main focus around the Christmas season is the big man in the red suit. Sure, kids can have fun with it and use their imagination...but I believe with my whole heart that Jesus' birthday should be front and center. And yes, I know there can be a balance, and like I said -- that's fine if it works for you.

But as for me and my house -- Santa is just pretend.

I'll respect your decision and I ask that you respect mine in return.


Kathy and Carl said...

Well, sounds a little bit like our house. Joel has shocked a few adults when he told them that Santa was just pretend; besides people can't just come into your house. And Kezia thinks he's Moses or something.

I don't think there's any magic lost with telling them it's just pretend. I still remember the anger I felt when I was 8 and found out it wasn't true....

andrea said...

i am in FULL agreement with you! we read about Santa...a lot actually! but my kids just know that Santa is pretned...i don't think i have ever told them. I can't believe how others have made you feel badly for not celebrating Santa. Seriously! My kids have a story called 'God Gave Us Christmas'. It talks about Santa helps us to be kind and think of others and benvolence but Christmas is because of Jesus and His birth...awesome story is read and explain the reason to kids ...and apparently some parents too!

Jenn said...

I hope I wasn't one of the ones to make you feel badly. If I was, I'm sorry - everyone makes the decisions that are best for their own families and I don't judge you for yours. Until I moved here I don't think I knew anyone who didn't do the Santa thing so it has taken me aback. We most definitely tell our children that Jesus is the reason - there's no confusion over that.

jackie said...

i totally agree with you, andrea. i really don't appreciate all the santa questions and judgements of not being a good parent if you don't encourage it with your children. i'm really trying to make a point of also decorating with Jesus as the focus too. i try to focus on nativity scenes, angels, etc. My poor nephew has just realized santa isn't real, and he's really disapointed and confused about it all.

Roo said...

:) i have so much to say but i don't know where to start....
(and i have to get off the computer now) maybe i'll come back...or send you an email....

love you!
love your heart!

Pam said...

I'm so sorry if others have made you feel badly for your decision! That is terrible. You know your family and you know what is best. You do what will work for your family. No one else is in your family or position so they cannot tell you what to do. You know we 'do' Santa here, but that is my decision and I respect you for your decision. You are doing with love, caring, and your family's best interest at heart. How can anyone judge that? And, you play along a bit to allow Joelle some freedom this year to have her opinion on this. You have done everything 'right'- no worried about people who judge you!

Michelle said...

I believe EVERYONE should respect EVERYONE's opinion and leave it at that. People don't always have to agree on everything. Everyone has different beliefs and we should all respect them just as we expect people to respect our own. I'm sorry that you had negative reactions. It shouldn't have to be that way.

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

This is one of those subjects that is so whether or not you let your kids go trick-or-treating at Halloween. I think that it is a matter of personal conscience, and that no one should feel judged for doing what is right for their family.

We personally do the Santa thing, but there is no doubt Who Christmas is all about in our home.


Melanie said...

People always try to make us moms feel bad about our decisions, don't they? (I just came from Pam's blog).

At our house Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas too. But, we also do the whole Santa Claus thing. So even though we don't do the same thing as you I can totally see where you are coming from and understand what you are saying. Why can't others be like that? We can have different opinions and still get along.

Rebecca said...

I've been debating santa thing too, they talk about it so much at my son's school that we can't really avoid it but I'm going to do my best not to make it the focus.

Pamela said...

I had the same thing happen to me a few years ago. I hosted a Christmas break exchange with some of the moms from school and while they were over one mom started in on me for Kezia telling her daughter there was no Santa (Kezia is my rule girl and if there is no Santa then she felt everyone should be aware of that fact :) I was taken aback because I didn't realize I was the ONLY one inthe room that didn't "do" Santa. Neither Conrad or I have been brought up believing in Santa and didn't even question if we would do it for the kids. Besides, it is probably a good thing that we didn't tell them that Santa brings the presents in the middle of the night because Kez is already scared of robbers getting in and if she knew Santa get it she might be even more spooked! I think you should make a decision about what is best for your family and people should respect that.

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

Yep, I talked about this last week on my blog too. We are not going to "do" Santa, but intend to teach Ladybug about the real St. Nicholas. That's our choice as a family. And I totally respect other parents who decide to do something different. I just don't like it when people ask if Ladybug is excited about Santa. First of all, she's too young to understand all that. And second, I think they are assuming a lot.

It's about what you decide is best for your family, not what another person's opinion is.

Have a blessed and very merry Christmas, Andrea!

Jamie said...

Good perspective--I agree with everything you said. Interesting how most people assume everyone else does Santa and always asks questions about that. We DON'T do Santa for many different reasons. So I fully respect your way of doing it! I have thought of teaching my kids about the real 'St. Nick,' because he was such a good man, but I definitely want them to understand the REAL reason for all the festivities (and I don't want someone else getting credit for all the presents I bought them!)