Monday, December 5, 2011

To be, or not to be... Mrs. Claus?

(Before I begin, I typed "Mrs. Claus" into Google to find an image to put in my blog (you know, for artsy-fartsy purposes), and the majority of them were pretty skanky. Well, maybe not the majority, but there were way too many.)

I have been dwelling on this question for the majority of the afternoon.

This afternoon, during nap time, when all the kids at work were sleeping, I was checking out my Facebook news feed on my phone. A friend of mine had a status regarding her young son not believing in Santa Claus, and not knowing why people make such a big deal of him (in a nutshell). She went on to explain that neither she, nor her husband, grew up with a Santa Claus belief in their families, so it's natural for them to raise their children to know that Santa is a "fairy tale."

There were a few responses from other people, and most of them mentioned that their families don't "do the Santa thing" either.

My friend had mentioned that it's easy for them to not do it (as I think I already stated), but those who may have grown up believing in Santa and such might have a more difficult time deciding what to do for their children.


Up until that point, I had never really thought about whether or not to do the Santa thing with my children or not. Nope, hadn't really crossed my mind.

Funny enough, a business page that I "like" on Facebook also asked their fans if they do the Santa thing in their families just minutes after I started contemplating. More of them said that they do.

I grew up in a family that did have a Santa tradition. My husband, when I asked him whether or not he did, said "not really" (which he didn't explain, so I hope he will later).

I asked Jillian, and she said that she and Robert both grew up without a real Santa tradition... more or less.

I can't decide, still, "officially," if I want Spencer to have a Santa tradition, or to what extent, if he did.

Here's my thought process, currently (to which I discussed aloud with Jillian during nap):

I feel like he doesn't need one. I had one, but looking back, I don't really see the point. I mean, yes, Santa brings gifts. But why?

We are Christian in this household, and for as long as I can remember, I have known the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus was born! Hallelujah!

So, why celebrate an imaginary character?

The wisemen brought gifts to Jesus. People came to celebrate his arrival. Joy and love abounds.

We can easily recreate those things without Santa. In fact, shouldn't we? I think we should. I know every family feels differently, so by no means am I implying anyone is right or wrong here. But really, we give gifts at Christmas, to show love, or appreciation, and to celebrate the spirit of giving. I love giving gifts. I intend on giving my children gifts for this reason. I have always felt like Christmas was also about family. Relationships. Joy. Love. Spending time together and making memories. Jesus had family with him celebrating these things, right? And we should too. My favorite Christmas memories are related to spending time with family and loved ones.

Yes, I remember trying so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, "knowing" "Santa" was coming overnight with a bunch of loot. It was awesome, because that meant we were "good kids" all year (pfft, what is that?) and so we were being rewarded by this fictitious dude who went down.. chiminies (which I never believed (we didn't have a fireplace)) and drove a flying sled powered by reindeer (seriously?) and visited EVERYONE in the WORLD overnight. BAH! And it was awesome to wake up in the morning and have a bunch of new gifts.

But, why can't Spencer wake up on Christmas morning, and have the excitement of gifting, but have it be for a real, good reason? That reason being that his mom and dad know his interests, work hard to provide for him, love him to pieces, and want to celebrate that love for him by giving him something special?

As Jillian put it (if I can recall almost precisely), we would be giving gifts to Spencer to celebrate our love for him, and the joy we feel having him, because he is our miracle, much like the reasons Jesus was given gifts by the wise men. He was, too, a long awaited miracle worth celebrating.

And, as Jillian also said, why give the "credit" to this dude who doesn't exist? We work hard and spend time planning, preparing, and spending money to provide these tokens for our children, and then they have no idea until they're older that it's really their parents who love them and not some old dude living in the snow.


I suppose we could just tell our children (I am hoping/praying/unsafely assuming we will have more than one someday) the story of St. Nicholas and where the "Santa" story comes from.

But then, I wonder, how do I explain it to my children, the falsity of Santa Claus? What if their friends question them, or bring it up? How do I prepare them for that? And am I "robbing" Spencer of "Santa memories" or the anticipation that I had as a child?

I just don't know.


No, I don't think my son is a divine, heavenly, diety, so I hope you're thinking that's the comparision. It's not, not at all.

(And, in another sidenote, I am guilty of becoming "addicted" (I say that lightly, because I can't think of a "lesser value" synonym) to watching Glee on Netflix. And there's an episode where a high schooler is still TOTALLY on the Santa train. It is absolutely freaking ridiculous, though, kind of amusing, won't lie.)


  1. Trevor and I feel the way you (and Jillian) do when you said,

    "As Jillian put it (if I can recall almost precisely), we would be giving gifts to Spencer to celebrate our love for him, and the joy we feel having him, because he is our miracle, much like the reasons Jesus was given gifts by the wise men. He was, too, a long awaited miracle worth celebrating."

    But we feel that way about THEIR birthdays. We feel very strongly, for our own family, that Christmas day is Jesus' birthday. We don't want our kid's focus to be on themselves and receiving, when they have a birthday to know just how spectacular they are! We are going to start making their birthday super special, so they know on that day that we are celebrating only them. =)

    We want to give to Compassion an extra gift that blesses the poor and needy, like a cow or a small business, just like Jesus' coming blessed the poor and needy in spirit by coming to be our Savior. We are actually starting that this year!

    Every family, Christian or not, has to decide about the Santa thing. Personally, the idea of telling your child Santa is real, then later them coming to the devastating realization that he is not, is really cruel. Just a personal opinion!

    P.S I grew up with a very strong belief that Santa was real, and I remember finding out he wasn't. I felt deceived, let down, cheated and embarrassed, and I was only 7. Not cool!

  2. I should orobabky clarify/add that I dont intend to give our children oodles of Christmas gifts each year. And that my family, while they did give a lot of santa gifts, always made sure to remind us And reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas.

    and I love your compassion gift idea, Mb.

  3. For me, the biggest reason I didn't want to do the "Santa thing" is because of what Marybeth explained in her PS. Personally I don't want to spend any time on decieving my children into believing in something that they will eventually figure out to be false. I don't know if it would bring up additional questions about everything else I have told them but I never want to knowingly give my children a reason to doubt what I have taught them to believe.
    Maybe that's a little harsh and deep for something that's supposed to be jolly and fun but I would rather just encourage truth.

  4. I was just talking to Mary about this with Evan. Not having kids, I don't have a strong opinion and lean toward not lying to children, but her concern was that he would go to school and "ruin Santa" for other kids by telling them the truth.

    By the way, tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day, the origin of Santa.

  5. So here I come with a different opinion. I get everything you're saying, but I gotta say, my Santa tradition growing up remains one of my favorite childhood memories. I don't remember truly believing in sister ruined it for me when I was pretty young, so maybe that's why I don't find it deceitful. We would spend weeks planning for Santa's arrival, doing "stocking drills" and planning our route down the stairs, which ones were creaky, how to make as little noise as possible while tiptoeing past our parents' bedroom door. I still smile to think about it.

    As an adult, watching my nieces and nephew get to experience the wonder has been so much fun. My sister's girls put out reindeer food they made themselves, and Santa always gets cookies and a can of Mountain Dew. The presents in the stockings are never the elaborate ones...those are wrapped and placed under the tree from family. But little things, like chapstick and fun socks and little games are so fun to find in stockings.

    Confession: My parents still stuff my stocking every year. And I love it ;)