I am torn on the whole Santa thing this year.
This is the first year the girls have really begun to ‘get’ Christmas. They understand that there is a special day that you get presents, even if they have issues waiting for that special day. And they know what Santa looks like though they don’t really know what he is all about.
My plan was to sort of let them take the lead in deciding how much they want to believe in the Santa thing. I really want to steer them in a certain direction and have started telling them a bit about Saint Nic and why the Santa’s they see wear a red suit etc etc but mostly that goes over their heads or gets lost in Zoe’s abject fear of anyone even remotely Santa-like.
I love the magic of the Christmas. I have great memories of leaving biscuits and beer out for Santa and a bucket of water for the reindeer. I know the stories of my drunk Uncle and father out on the streets of Sydney one Christmas eve looking for something resembling reindeer poo to go on the front lawn. I love decorating the Christmas tree. Even when I was way too old I always got presents ‘from Santa’ but I don’t ever remember a time that I totally believed he was real or when I suddenly found out he wasn’t.
I’d like my kids to be a part of that magic stuff. The fun. The imagination and pretend… I think that is all great. But I have issues….
I have issues about actually encouraging them to believe in something that I am making up.
We have bought them a few ‘presents from Santa’ this year (previously they were too little to get it so we didn’t bother) but as I was wrapping them last night and thinking about what we’d do with them I got all wound up and stuck. Can I really have the girls come out Christmas morning and have me say ‘look what Santa gave you!’ and then go on to elaborate? I am not sure that I can. I am trying not to see it as a lie, so much as telling a story and letting their imagination decide how much they believe and don’t believe and where they want to go with it. But at only just three they don’t have that complex a grasp on imagination – if I tell them Santa came into the house and left these presents for them they will believe me.
I feel like I am in a limbo year.. they are old enough to understand and believe 100% if I want them to but not old enough to understand the nuances that I’d like them to take into account and develop their own sense of Christmas magic and belief without too much of my influence or society’s commercial Christmas influence.
Add in my other ‘issues’ about making Christmas meaningful to us rather than a re-hashed northern hemisphere religious commercial celebration. And that everyone will ask them if ‘Santa came’. Plus the fact that Zoe freaks out t the mere mention of Santa coming to our house..
Maybe I am making way too much out of this. In fact I probably am, but you know.. it is the kind of stuff you think about when you find yourself wrapping presents at 10pm in front of summer TV and wondering how any of this actually relates to Christmas!?
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Oh I understand the dilemma…if you look at it rationally as an adult its a lie… if you look at it as a child it is a wonderful and magical idea. My kids believe… because I have taught them to believe, all their friends believe, Jacob made a Santa and a Nativity scene at school. I would find it really hard to spoil the magic for them… I sort of figure that you are only a small child for such a short time.
In our household, Santa brings ONE or TWO gifts… the rest come from Mum and Dad – I believe that it is important to learn to recieve gratefully and part of that involves saying thank you and recognising the thought that went into the gift (even if it is not what you really wanteds LOL) and it is easier to teach that from Mum and Dad than from Santa… he is recovering at the North Pole by Christmas morning ;)
Ok this is really long…. stopping now and Merry Christmas.
Oh since when did YOU make up Santa, hmm? ;) It’s only your job to make the magic come alive, you’re the alchemist, the magician, the good witch of Christmas! :)
In every culture people do things sometimes out of touch with the meaning behind it … it sometimes takes a anthropologist to point out the meaning and origins of even deeply spiritual rituals. This year I have been focusing a lot of the origins and meaning of what I’m doing and my Christmas spirit is through the roof! LOL
For me part of Christmas is to impart that the world is a fine and generous place – I know how consumeristic it seems to say that Christmas is about abundance. But really, this is one of the main things for me, that there is a whole day set aside for family, there is special and plentiful food, special decorations, there is special attention, and special presents shared … I remember the feeling of being so lucky on Christmas day, I really think it can contribute to an optimistic outlook on life. It’s easy to feel grateful when you feel truly blessed, and at this young age, they are very easy to “fill up”, so I’m going for it for all it is worth :) I don’t think I’ve been as excited about any present as this dancing Genebeave!! LOL She’s wanted it so long and has such faith it is turning up on that sleigh *sniff sniff*
Fully understand the dilemma Kate as I am sure so many parents do but you know let then believe in the magic of Christmas for as long as they can and as they get older they will ask different questions about the real maening of Christmas and that will be the time to let them know. That is how we did it with our children and it just comes naturally as they get older. We always taught them the real meaning of Christmas along with Santa. I love the magic of Christmas and I love the real story behind Christmas with the birth of Jesus even better. I also love what Christmas brings that any other time of year does not, so it would seem, which in so many ways is very sad but all in all Christmas is about sharing, giving, loving, togetherness, family, Gods great gift with the birth of his son (if you believe) and added to that is a touch of magic in the story of Santa.
The thing I am truly grateful for is the fact we can celebrate Christmas freely with whatever religion you are or follow and in whichever way you believe. we are also truly blesses in this fortunate country of ours that Christmas can be celebrated and that we can share it with loved ones when so many in the world go without. Whatever you feel Kate and whatever you decide always follow your heart!
Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and a wonderful and safe new year.
Hmmm, I think the only thing I was thinking about while wrapping presents last night was glancing over to the pile of unwrapped one’s wondering if it will ever end! LOL
Good luck with it, which ever way you or the girls go!
Andrew Scott says
Christine and myself were talking about the “santa” issue yesterday, we were wondering when we realised he wasn’t real, and how we felt, me, I can’t remember when I didn’t believe, Chris was 8, she thinks, she realised the tags from Santa had the same writing as the tags from her mum..
im not sure what Id do, if/when we are lucky enough to have our own boggerheads.
it does seem like a con, given the rest of the year, the rest of their life, morals and honesty is a big “thing” i guess everyone tries to teach. Maybe it needs to be a celebration of family and friends, where gifts are a part of sharing? then you remove the religious and santa aspect and make it about friendship? but what do I know,. i send you whoopie cushions from santa! have a fun xmas. :)
I’m glad I have a bit longer to ponder these questions. I want them to have that sense of excitement and wonder of Christmas, but without the over the top want want want, give me part, to appreciate what they receive. But how to do this – I’ll have to think over the next year.
Have a lovely Christmas!
I read this this morning and reading your blog entry made me think of it
“A proper Santa Claus is the one we have in our own hearts at this time of year…A proper Santa Claus is the spirit of giving and sharing, of good fellowship…Don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t a Santa Claus. A proper Santa Claus belongs to us all.”
From A Proper Santa Claus by Anne McCaffrey.
Hope it’s helpful.