Growing up, my family never believed in Santa Claus. My parents weren't into perpetuating the story and they wanted the focus to be on the birth of Christ and not on getting presents from the man in a red suit. We still had the tree and the presents but we never went and sat on Santa's lap for pictures, never wrote letters, or hung up stockings and put out cookies. Once, a woman asked my brother if he was a good boy and if Santa was going to bring him presents and he responded with "there is no Santa! The UPS man brings the presents!" And I think that is an excellent answer. The UPS man was one of our favorite people in the whole world. Because what kid doesn't like getting a box full of surprises? And why shouldn't the UPS man get to see the joy?
Before I had Jacob, I used to tease my mom and tell her that my kids were going to believe in Santa and she'd have to play along because I wasn't going to let my kids get the short end of the stick on the childhood fantasies. I thought it'd be so funny to make her pretend that Santa was real. But for the life of me, I don't know what I thought I was missing.
CS's family did do the Santa thing, which is odd to be because they adhere to a strict "Christian" code. His mom used to pull them out of school on Halloween because it's a bad, bad pagan holiday and full of Satan. But they used Santa as a way to mollify their children when they asked for expensive toys for Christmas.
It should come as no surprise to you that I am firmly in the pro-Halloween, No Santa camp and CS is in the No Halloween, Pro-Santa side. I guess we came to an agreement when I said that I would only keep the Santa secret if we did Halloween. I will never allow Jacob to dress as anything demonic or overly scary so I don't feel that Halloween is a bad holiday. In my research of the day, it seems more of a time of crossing over but not Satanic. It's a time to remember those who died and honor them, rather then get freaked out by teenagers in scary masks.
I'm still having a hard time with the Santa concept, mostly because it involves lying to a child. And the thought of taking him to the mall and standing in line to see Santa is even more horrifying. I pledge to never take him because at some point he is going to realize that Santa should be in the North Pole making toys, not in front of Walmart and ringing a bell. So those Santas are going to be "helpers" but not the real Santa. Real Santa only reads letters. My other deal with CS is that the big, fun, much longed for toy comes from us. I do not want to pay hard earned money and give a fictional character the credit. I want those big blue eyes of his to look at us and squeal when he opens whatever item is trending that year.
I'm still not sold on this idea of Santa and how to go about allowing him the fantasy but not crossing my own boundaries of comfort. I'm glad I have at least one more year before he has any grasp on the concept. I'm glad that this year he will open presents and still be inthralled with the paper more than the toy.