Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I Do (not) Believe

Oh, the Santa thing. I'm dreading it this year as Jacob is getting bigger and more and more people are bringing up the Santa Thing.

I did not grow up believing in Santa. I'm not sure the exact reasons why, although I imagine putting Christ first in Christmas was part of it. My brothers and I thought the UPS man was the best thing ever because he always brought the boxes of toys that we knew were coming for Christmas. I've never regretted not putting out cookies (although I did, just to prove he wasn't real), or writing letters or going to the mall to sit on Santa's lap. We circled all the things we wanted in Sears catalogs and waited impatiently to tell our Grandma in Pennsylvania what we wanted. She was the best grandma, the one who got us the great toys. Our other grandparents lived next door and they always gave us clothes. Helpful! But not fun.

CS, on the other hand, did believe in Santa. Despite the fact that his parents pulled them from school on Halloween, they really did the Santa thing. His mom said it helped when they wanted really expensive toys, since Santa could only bring one thing? I'm hazy on the details.

The other day, CS's dad spoke directly to me about how Santa would be in town every Saturday for the next few weeks. I suppose I should have known it was coming but I was pretty surprised. He's only TWO! And I know he will be terrified if we take him to a big man with a beard and tell him he has to sit on his lap. I know he's not ready for that, and I'm not going to terrify him in the name of "tradition" for something I never knew.

But the more I think about it, the more I struggle with the whole concept. Say he does grow up believing in Santa. He's always going to ask questions about it. And I will have to lie. Not only will I have to lie, but I will have to buy a gift with the money I work very hard to have and tell my son that Santa gave it to him. Where the heck is Santa when I need to pay a doctor's bill?

I know it's all relatively harmless and lots of children grow up loving the fact that they believed in Santa. But I am happy with my Christmas past and so grateful to my family for all that they gave to me for Christmas and I want Jacob to appreciate how wonderful it is to not only get a gift but to give them as well. More fun, in fact!

So what about you? I'm curious!

7 comments:

CallieSam said...

I always believed in Santa growing up, and it’s one of those things that is just so prevalent it can’t really be escaped without making it into a huge deal. It was fun when I was a kid, and I liked setting out cookies and milk and seeing that they had been eaten in the morning, making lists for Santa, etc. Cash has actually gotten really into Santa this year and had a great time sitting on his lap and getting his picture taken. We’re not religious, though, so we have no issues with keeping Christ in Christmas or anything like that. As a kid, we knew that Santa didn’t bring ALL the gifts, just a few special ones. Most of them came from family, but there were always a few unwrapped gifts on Christmas morning that hadn’t been there before. To me, it’s just a fun little tradition.

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Kendra said...

Someone I know had to have the "Santa is not real" talk this year and it was disappointing for everyone involved, for mom because she is sad to see her little girl grow up and for the girl to realize that Santa is not really real. I can appreciate the Santa story but don't like being deceptive (not a poker face here). Teaching children not to lie and tell the truth and then we break the rules. I just doesn't work for me. But I try to respect families that do "believe"

Dino. said...

Well, I am only 16, I am not that old but I remember expecting to hear the magic bell, to catch Santa while putting the gifts, to wait with expectations to see which one of the gifts I asked I actually deserved, because I tried my best to be a good girl. And since my birthday is in November, it was nonstop happiness, because then at the beginning of December we decorated the house, we putted the tree, I wrote my letter, and the countdown started! What is better in Christmas for a kid than opening something? Everyone knows how disappointed a kid can be when he finds out, but in my family including all my uncles and aunts did the same: well, we all found out before they told us, but when everyone was ''old enough'', our parents told us that yeah, there was no Santa. The magical creature we believed in still existed, but his name is not Santa, it is Dad. My Dad, the one who struggled with, i don't know... another 3, 4, 5 dads? to get the exact toy I asked. That one that woke up in the midnight to put the presents without us noticing. He was the same that, although he was full of all the food we had for dinner, ate the cookies and drank the milk to keep the magic. He is the same that after that hard night woke up early only to see us running to the tree, to open our gifts and see us smile. Because that smile and the look in our eyes were his Christmas gift. That was all he wanted, and he got it every single time. And even before that chat, I was glad my Dad did that, because I didn't feel betrayed, or like it was a lie, i felt like my parents wanted to give me magic, to have a childhood full of illusion, to believe in something that is there, watching me, kind of like Christ. And when they told me that, I couldn't but cry. Because it was true. And my Dad, not only giving me all the best every single day of the year, he also gave me that, something I will never forget, and that I will keep forever. Because I do and I will always think Santa exists. Not physically, but in our hearts. We can all be generous, we can all bring joy to people. And that is something I will give to my kids. It is a lie, and if you want your kids to be honest it can seem like double messaging them, but I just wanted to state that it is not necessarily bad, or the bad commercial holiday it has became. Your point of view is awesome, and I support you. Your kid must not believe in something if you didn't. I just suggest you to don't make it like ''Pick whatever toy you want to and we will buy it to you'' because that is what I hate about the Holiday nowadays. Just teach him about how Christmas it's a time of joy and happiness, not about presents, and Santa will not be needed at all. Greetings! and Happy Holidays!(And excuse me for my English)

thepracticalperfeccionista said...

I hopped over from the Pillow Party and was wandering around your blog when this caught my eye! We don't do Santa either. My kids are 4.5 and 2 now. I just didn't want to lie, and I remember how it affected me when I found out my parents had been making it all up and telling me it was true. It doesn't bother all kids, most are fine with Santa and such, but it really bothered me, and I just can't do it with my children. So we've just told family we're not doing it, and left it at that. This year I did talk to my 4.5yo about not telling other kids that Santa isn't real. If other parents want to play Santa, that is their right and their business. But he asked me, "but mommy, why do other parents want to lie to their children?" And I knew I'd made the right decision for our family. Just do what is right for yours, whatever you decide it is. We don't really do Christmas presents (though grandparents do, but they're far enough away to send them, and we don't give them to them on Christmas Eve or Day, so it's not so associated)...though this year we let them pick out a World Vision gift, which meant giving ducks or water to children in another part of the world, and then they also received a little stuffed animal and a water bottle to remind them of the gift they'd given. We do presents through the year and at birthdays instead of making them the big deal at Christmas. You have the power to change family traditions if you so choose.

thepracticalperfeccionista said...

I hopped over from the Pillow Party and was wandering around your blog when this caught my eye! We don't do Santa either. My kids are 4.5 and 2 now. I just didn't want to lie, and I remember how it affected me when I found out my parents had been making it all up and telling me it was true. It doesn't bother all kids, most are fine with Santa and such, but it really bothered me, and I just can't do it with my children. So we've just told family we're not doing it, and left it at that. This year I did talk to my 4.5yo about not telling other kids that Santa isn't real. If other parents want to play Santa, that is their right and their business. But he asked me, "but mommy, why do other parents want to lie to their children?" And I knew I'd made the right decision for our family. Just do what is right for yours, whatever you decide it is. We don't really do Christmas presents (though grandparents do, but they're far enough away to send them, and we don't give them to them on Christmas Eve or Day, so it's not so associated)...though this year we let them pick out a World Vision gift, which meant giving ducks or water to children in another part of the world, and then they also received a little stuffed animal and a water bottle to remind them of the gift they'd given. We do presents through the year and at birthdays instead of making them the big deal at Christmas. You have the power to change family traditions if you so choose.

Send flowers to Patna said...

I hopped over from the Pillow Party and was wandering around your blog when this caught my eye! We don't do Santa either. My kids are 4.5 and 2 now. I just didn't want to lie, and I remember how it affected me when I found out my parents had been making it all up and telling me it was true. It doesn't bother all kids, most are fine with Santa and such, but it really bothered me, and I just can't do it with my children. So we've just told family we're not doing it, and left it at that. This year I did talk to my 4.5yo about not telling other kids that Santa isn't real.