It’s almost that time of year. The leaves have fallen, the air is crisp and I’ve started our Christmas shopping. With birthdays in Decmeber, Christmas, New Years all following Thanksgiving…I like to shop early and get great deals to have the best and awesomist presents I can find!
I grew up believing in Santa. I remember Christmas Eve nerves, trouble falling asleep, wondering when Santa would come down our chimney. Waking up at 4 am half asleep to find presents under the tree…it was was a magical surprise. As I grew older the stories my parents told me about Santa seemed fictions. I remember the night I asked my Mom about Santa. I stood in her bedroom doorway and said “Mom, is Santa real?” She replied “What do you think?” I said “no” and she said, “You’re right” and explained a bit about the tradition. I was confused, I felt betrayed and I asked why they had lied to me. Elaborate lies, photos with some guy in the mall, pretending to hear sleigh bells…the list goes on and on. She explained that they wanted to make Christmas special and fun for me.
Christmas IS magical, without Santa Claus. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Entire religions are based on his birthday and celebrated around the world. If you practice Christianity, you believe one man was born to a Virgin and placed her on Earth to save our souls. Now, I’m certainly not a religious scholar…and I should spend more time reading the bible…but that’s amazing. I don’t need a man making minimum wage dressed in a red suit and fake beard to make Christmas magical…it already is! I can go to Heaven after I die because of Jesus?! Santa who?
I knew even before I had my babies what I would tell them. Christmas is a special time of year because we are celebrating Jesus’s Birthday, we also include the story of St. Nick. My 4 year old asked how we would give Jesus presents. I explained that he’s in Heaven, and we celebrate his birth by reading the bible, going to church and helping others in need. We also exchange presents among ourselves in celebration of his birth. It’s the biggest Birthday party ever. Bounce house optional. When I mention this to other parents, I find that I’m not alone. I’m happy with our decision and my children know that Santa is for fun. He’s a symbol of celebration…but certainly not someone who is going to sneak into our house at night and creep.
I find it odd that people assume my children believe in Santa, as in the man who’s magically coming down our Chimney Christmas Eve and watching them 24/7 for good behavior. I find that manipulative. While I have been tempted to pull out the “You better behave or Santa won’t bring you any presents” I find the notion creepy. Who wants to think that someone is watching them 24 hours a day and basing gifts on their behavior? During the Holiday seasons I constantly field questions asked directly to my children; “Have you been good this year, is Santa going to bring you presents?” “Are you excited for Santa to come and bring you gifts, I hope you were a good little boy.” Um no lady, my kid was an asshole. Santa drove by and gave us the finger and yelled “Better luck next year!!”
Why is it that complete strangers feel the need to keep up this facade and smoke and mirrors story with my children? First off, how do they even know we’re Christian? I find myself explaining more then I would like to that we will be celebrating Jesus’s Birthday, and that we appreciate Santa’s helping along the festivities, but that presents come from Mom, Dad and Grandparents etc. I get looked at like I have two heads. How dare I say that Santa wasn’t coming down the chimney in front of my kids?? Yes, Christmas is a special time of year. Yes, we will be exchanging presents…but before you start grilling my children…Don’t Assume We Believe in Santa.