Santa Claus can become a very touchy subject for some. There are people who are very torn about the whole thing.
As with many things in my life, I have felt like a fence rider. My theatrical nature and flair for dramatics makes me want to jump in full force and create the whole big Santa experience. My being a Christian makes me want to downplay, even get rid of the whole Santa notion and just focus on Christ’s birth.
I’ve read Facebook posts and great articles on why Santa Claus is a bad idea. I’ve written about who he really was and how his own story can be helpful when you are explaining things to kiddos.
When the boys were small, I went a little overboard with Santa Claus. One year, I even thought about leaving prints in the snow (yes, we had snow that year) resembling reindeer tracks. Riley and I went out onto the cold sunporch when he was around three and speculated as to the exact spot where Santa might land his sleigh. “Dad, won’t he land on the roof?” Looking into his eyes and feeling his excitement and anticipation, I completely lost my mind and laid it on thick. I even wrote a tiny little note from the elves. Michelle chastised me, but there was no turning back.
Yes, total deception. Did I fess up and tell the boys about it later? Yes, I did. Then I even explained about how we can get caught up in all the fun and magic of the situation and forget it is all a big farce. As always, I’m a supporter of having conversations with your kids. I’ve explained things to them, I’ve apologized for mistakes, and I have laid down the law. Talk to them.
Now that the three older kids have outgrown Santa, it’s easier to look back. We talk about why some parents promote Santa and some don’t. My oldest talks about how he plans NOT to introduce Santa to kids. The other two haven’t decided, yet and the verdict is out with the baby.
Mira is still young enough that Santa is part of the magic for her. However, with many kids her age, the thought of sitting on Santa’s lap strikes terror in her heart. I’m almost wondering if she’d be more relieved if we said, “Look kid, this Santa thing is just a big story.” Who knows?
With Mira, we read stories about Santa and say things like “Look, there’s Santa!” We have also said things like “Maybe we could ask Santa Claus to bring that toy for you” when she spies a larger purchase she’d like to have.
However, we DO talk less about Santa than we did with the other kids. As we have always done, we talk a lot about Jesus’ birth and how He came to Earth to save us. We talk about how His birth is a miracle. Yes, we’ve talked about the important stuff quite a bit.
We have read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” every year to the kids, but we have also read from the Bible in the morning or on Christmas Eve. Wishy-washy? Some would tell me that I am.
My biggest beef against Santa is how we can go overboard. I do not believe in threatening kids and saying things like “You better straighten up. Santa is watching.”It’s no wonder kids are scared to death of this guy; thinking he’s watching and thinking he’s going to deprive them of their gifts if they are naughty.
I think we could spend a lot of time getting kids to believe in something imaginary that will disappoint them later. Yes, I think it might be okay to pepper Santa here and there, add a little magic and fairy-tale to your celebration of Christmas. Be careful how you present it all. Don’t lay it on too thick.
And besides, we have far more important things to believe in