Christmas is full of surprises, and I don't just mean the presents.
I have talked with a number of people lately, and read a few posts on Facebook, and I have found out that lots of people choose to not "do" Santa with their children.
I can honestly say, I was a bit shocked. It never even occurred to me to not "do" Santa at my house. My parents did it. Pretty much everyone I know does it. I will do it too. And I guess that is exactly how cultural influence works, y'all.
Of course these people gave their reasons for leaving Santa out of their holiday plans. Many didn't like to lie. Many didn't want to disappoint their children when the truth came out. I admire their conviction. They can choose to celebrate how ever they see fit.
BUT, (you knew there was one coming, didn't you) I still feel totally comfortable with Santa being part of our Christmas tradition. I want to explore why here on this lovely computer screen and then be on my merry (Ha!) way.
1. Reason One: We don't want our children to be devastated when they find out the truth.
Devastated??? Really? I just don't see this happening. I doubt my children with need therapy over Santa, or the lack of him.
I still remember when I found out. I was in third or fourth grade (I am not ashamed that I was kinda old. Good for me for having a childhood.) and I was reading a Parents magazine. Yes, I loved to read and read everything. I am sure I had just finished my Babysitters Club and moved on to the next thing of print I saw. I read something that referred to Santa and his other friends, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, as a myth. I asked my mom what myth meant. There you go. Truth hit. And I was totally ok.
2. Reason Two: We don't want to lie to our children.
This has a little more merit, in my opinion, than reason one. I don't thinking lying to children is right, either. I don't put up toys that I don't want my kids to play with and say they are "broken". I say, "I don't want you to play with this." I don't tell my kids the candy is gone when it's not or that Dora isn't on when she is.
Something about Santa doesn't seem like a lie to me. It seems like tradition, culture, and childhood. It's like when little kids really think puppets are talking. Or how my daughter thinks the ladies we saw at Disneyland are the REAL princesses.
Too often we rush children into reality, into being practical, into being adults. I want the wonder to go on.
3. Reason Three: We want to have all the focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
By far, the best reason. This really made me stop and think about my calendar of events this December. It made me look around my home and see what I showcase as important during the holiday season.
I'm just not sure it has to be a Santa vs. Jesus mentality. Santa started as a real man, St. Nicholas. He loved. He gave to the poor. He cared for "the least of these". He did exactly what Jesus called us to do.
Santa, today, can be a fun bonus and Jesus can truly be the focus. Santa can be used to promote giving and caring for others. I think children follow our lead about what is the most important thing. They will celebrate what we celebrate and love what we love.
That being said, I need to spend some time getting my heart ready for the Christmas season.
I need to take the time to really remember that the God of the Universe came down as a baby, in a barn, born to a woman who was probably half my age.
That this birth is what gives me my hope. It is what saves me from death.
That the greatest gift is nothing that Santa will bring. The greatest gift came two-thousand years ago.