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.