Wednesday, December 16, 2009

reason #241 why we don't "do" the santa thing

I asked Malia -- my 4 year old -- this morning, "What is Christmas all about?" Her immediate reply: "Santa!"

That just goes to show you that no matter how much you push Jesus' birth as the real reason for the season, there's too much Santa-stuff out there that completely over-shadows it.

People may think this is harsh -- but we tell our kids straight up that there is no Santa Clause. We tell them that WE buy them their presents, we tell them that there is no such thing as a fat man in a red suit going in everybody's homes on Christmas Eve, sneaking gifts into stockings and under the trees.

My problem this year: Joelle isn't convinced. I think deep down she knows he doesn't exist...but she won't stop arguing the fact that he is real. She wrote a letter to Santa this year and wants to send it to him. I'm struggling with this. I don't really mind her playing long as she knew it was just that; playing around. But do I really want to encourage this when she so obviously wants it to be real?

You may think I am over-reacting and that kids will be kids; let them have fun with it and eventually they outgrow their belief in Santa. But that just doesn't sit well with me. I want my kids' immediate response to "What is Christmas all about?" to be "JESUS!"

And that is why we don't do the Santa thing at our house.


Rebecca said...

Have you told them where the idea of "Santa Clause" came from? I don't remember the exact details but it was a generous man who really did give toys or something to kids, orphans I think. I need to refresh my memory. Maybe teaching them who that real man was and how he showed God's love the same way God showed his love by giving us his son could help it make sense to them? Or at least understand why people talk about the guy in the red suit so much.

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

But it sounds like even though you don't do the Santa thing, they still don't respond the way you expect them to so why not play along? Maybe if you allowed her to "believe" then she would stop pushing so hard, and you could refocus on Christ. You know kids...when you say no, then they try to find a way to make it "yes"!

Having said that, we "do" the Santa thing, but there is nothing wrong with NOT doing it either. However you choose to celebrate Christmas, we can't deny that the birth of Jesus should be the focal point.

Merry Christmas!!

ValleyGirl said...

This past summer, my parents found a Disney movie at a garage sale that's called Great American Legends and it's got the stories of Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and two others. It's actually gone a long way to assist in discussions about how legends get started and become unrealistic and larger than life as they're passed down from generation to generation. Which, of course, is the same with Santa.

Our girls have always known, too, that Santa isn't real (Peanut actually kinda got in trouble last year for making a classmate cry when she argued Santa was just a story!) and that it's their parents who give them gifts ~ although we still always threaten that Santa will leave them just a lump of coal in their stockings if they're not good.

I guess it would be different if we were getting the impression that they weren't sure. That would definitely make it a bit trickier and we'd probably want to avoid all references to Santa as much as possible then, too.

Kathy and Carl said...

It's always a tricky dilemma what to do when kids respond in way that we aren't sure about.

We told our kids that Santa was a generous man, but now the guys in the suits are make-believe and that some kids like to pretend that he brings them presents. So Joel has broken the hearts of many preschoolers and shocked many grandmas with his soap box rant.

But Kezia figures there is a Santa and he brings us gifts because it's Jesus' birthday and God gives presents to all his children. !!

So,we talk about Advent and Jesus and God and eventually they will understand it and appreciate it. In the meantime, I smile and nod.

Roo said...

i had a picture of santa and asked shiloh who he was and she said, "A SNOW MAN!" ;)

Jenna said...
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Jenna said...

you know, we tell aidan the same thing Kathy does...we talk lots about saint nick,how he love JESUS and wanted to give to others...we talk about the blessing of giving in secret..and that thats how the santa thing came to be...he knows the story well(veggie tales helps) and yet he is confused by the bombardment of santa stuff. just the other day he came to me and said "if there is no such thing as santa, why are kids waiting for him?" I told him that some kids really do believe hes real, and he said he wanted to too...but we just remind him that not believing doesn't mean he's not getting pesents, anymore than believing means you GET presents. I know he's only four..and so its still hard to figure out..but don't worry andrea, i grew up believing in santa,AND knowing very clearly that JESUS was the real reason for christmas...i had no doubt...none what so CAN have both, even though i've chosen to not confuse the issue, if your girls are insistent, i say let it go, and let them figure it out...wanna borrow the veggie tales saint nick movie??

Melanie said...

We "do" the Santa thing at our house. So I was just curious to see what Hailey's response would be when I asked her what Christmas was all about. She said, "To celebrate Jesus birthday."

So, while I don't think there's anything wrong with not doing Santa, I don't think you have to avoid it all together in order for children to know the real meaning of Christmas.

The Veggie Tales movie about Saint Nick is a great way to teach about St. Nick and where the idea of Santa came from.