Insert the groans. Not another post from some ultra-conservative Mom of many about why she and her family don’t play along with the man in the red suit game and the little doll that sits on a shelf. I seriously don’t even get that. I clearly missed that boat.
First, I’m WAY FAR from ultra-conservative. Seriously way far from that.
Second, I don’t capitalize the word santa even though my iPhone tries SO VERY HARD to make me.
Third, our family made the break with the red suit lie many years ago when we brought our first daughter home from China, and we have never—not one time—regretted it or felt our kids had a less-than Christmas.
I could list many reasons, but honestly the ONLY reason for us to make the break is this: IT IS A LIE. A BIG FAT LIE.
For some background: both my husband and I were raised in Christian homes where santa was experienced. We had the nativities, the lights, the tree, and santa. We have many fond memories. My husband’s favorite Christmas memory is the year he was given shiny black boots. He was 4 or so, and he and a neighbor friend met up outside, and so the story goes the neighbor friend must’ve gotten new boots too. The Prez ended up knee-deep in a snowy, mushy, muddy mess and when he was pulled out the boots didn’t come with him. Needless to say he was in some trouble, but I think once the boots were retrieved all was well.
For me, its hard to pick one stand-out. I think for me it was waking up with all four grandparents there to see me and my older sister getting our presents. I remember one year I had asked for this larger-than-life hot wheels garage, and there it was under the tree along with brand-new matchbox cars! I was elated and can still see that garage with orange plastic pillars and cardboard walls.
I don’t know one day what our children may remember about Christmases in our home. I hope they remember good times spent with extended family celebrating the birth of Jesus and making memories with those we hold most dear.
Now I will attempt to tackle why the big lie is not a part of our Christmas celebrations ever.
1. Gifting gifts to our children from santa requires either telling them the truth when they begin to ask questions or lying to them.
Let’s face it. Some kids just put 2 and 2 together, and they will ask. Our 12YO began asking the questions around age 4. And yes, we lied to him to keep the “magic” alive. I will never get over that fact. We lied to our son to propagate a lie.
I can’t even form anything else to say here that I can put on the blog. It is so huge to me as the parent of kids who have been traumatized in so many ways, but everyone doesn’t have that perspective I realize.
2. Not all good children, including four of ours, are visited by santa on Christmas Eve.
I would daresay there are as many children in the United States who find out the hard way—because santa skipped their house due to economic constraints of the parent(s)—that he isn’t real as those who find out from a friend or a parent or walking in on santa activities late at night on Christmas Eve.
What can I say to this? I hear teachers talking about how awful it is that druggie Mom isn’t getting santa gifts and I hear friends bemoaning the fact little Johnnie’s friend told him the truth because his family couldn’t afford to buy fancy gifts from a fake image. Folks, no matter the reason, why propagate a lie at the expense of a little child who has learned early on that it is all a LIE. It doesn’t matter the WHY—orphan, single mom spending money on drugs, single mom working three jobs just to pay the bills, parents who choose not to do santa—but it does matter that the lie is forced on innocent children.
As for our four from China, they all KNEW—even the “baby” who happens to have also been the youngest at adoption at age 23 months—santa was fake and didn’t actually bring gifts to all of the good children in the world. Two of them spent their first four and five Christmases in a Chinese orphanage. I will tell you that fact folks will RIGHT your perspective on the big fat lie. In China, everyone knows he is fake, even the families who celebrate him tell their children it is just a story and the gifts are from them. I like that much better actually.
3. He is an idol to many, and while we aren’t really even getting it done in our own home regarding the real reason behind Christmas, we’re darn sure not gonna add another distraction to this season.
There isn’t room in our home or hearts for two big guys at Christmas. Why do we as Christians do the gifts? I’m not even sure myself, but if I’m going to do them I definitely want them to be a symbol of the Christ who came as a baby and was welcomed with gifts from afar. We do three gifts as well as a symbol of the gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.
Life has been so hectic with the surgeries and just hard stuff around here that we aren’t reading an advent book, we aren’t doing family devotions and gasp … we haven’t regularly in a long, long, long while … and who knows when we will again because its not my place to question … but we also aren’t propagating a lie about a man who doesn’t have reindeer who fly and live in the North Pole along with a plump wife and little people with pointy ears.
I will just conclude with this question: what if your insistence that those of us who don’t “do santa” are ruining your child’s Christmas also meant that you were adding to the trauma of a child who learned a long time ago that your santa didn’t care enough about them to pay them a visit even though they tried to be good in spite of going to bed hungry, afraid, alone, cold and helpless with NO ONE earthly to care for them. Just think on that.