Friday, December 12, 2008

The Santa Dilemma

A couple years ago Jason and I decided that once we had kids we wanted to skip the whole "Santa" thing. But now that we have Antalya and she is getting older I have spent many hours pondering the "how to implement" part of our decision. I know it will be no easy task. From my adult mind it makes perfect sense, but that is because I can understand abstract thoughts - such as Santa isn't real, but what he stands for is; and understanding that Santa is really a symbol of Christ used to help us feel the magic of the season.

How do you explain all that to a child? And how do you explain when you see Santa everywhere. Do we take our children to see Santa? Do we avoid him? What about when people ask our children what they asked Santa for? How can we teach them to answer that questions without feeling like they are missing out on something.

The only real conclusion I have come to is that we need to create in our family a sense that there are many "Santas" - an understanding that "Santa" is someone who goes around doing good for other people. Teach our children that we are "Santa" for someone else and that "Santa" doesn't come to our house because we have what we need, and therefore we have been asked to be "Santa" for another family.

Anyone have any thoughts on the subject? Is there anyone else out there that has attempted to change the image of "Santa" in their family?


Anonymous said...

I still believe in Santa so I can't help much with the change of Santa...I don't know if it really matters except what you want to teach her about the holidays. We talk about Santa and we are excited he's coming and each night we talk about it being Jesus' birthday and He's why we celebrate and Santa helps us plan the party!! Good times!!!

Amber H. said...

I'm not sure what to say...we love Santa around here, and the magic he adds to Christmas is something I wouldn't want to take away from my kids for anything. We just really focus on Christ and Christmas in that way, and Santa is just a fun addition...kind of what Janeen was saying. I had a friend who's parents were Jewish and were baptized when she was a small child. They never had "santa" but they always had Christmas gifts. She never thought they would do the Santa thing either, but after having kids I know they do it now. So I'm not sure...except if you decide not to do it, I hope she doesn't grow up to spoil other children's Santa fantasies! :o)

Dehner Family said...

What??? There's no Santa? Why hasn't anyone told me this... I'm crushed.

Sonja said...

*Santa believers--read no further*

I'm with you Sunny. I have never felt good about having my children believe in something that I did not truly believe in. I guess it's the way I was raised. My mom is from a country where Santa is not a big deal. In fact he doesn't even come on Christmas day, he comes on Dec. 6th.

Jeremy and I waited until Sam asked us about Santa (he was one of those kids that got freaked out about the idea of some guy sneaking into our house). Then we told him about the history behind St. Nick and what our thoughts were and let him come to his own conclusion. We let him know that lots of people, especially kids DO believe in Santa and we should respect what they believe. In other words, DON'T GO TELLING EVERYONE SANTA IS DEAD.

But that's kind of how Sam is, he needs to know the truth about things and feels so much better when things "make sense."

Elise (who loves dragons, fairies and mermaids) likes to believe in Santa, even though we've told her the "facts." She told us, "I don't care, I'm still believing in Santa."
(My parents always send them a gift from "Joulupukki")

That's just how we choose to do it. There's still plenty of magic in the good feelings we get when we share, sing carols, give and recieve gifts to each other and think of the miracle that was Jesus Christ's Birth.

Adam, Jaci, Grant and Grace said...

I love Santa and the magic I felt as a child (and still do) when we spoke of him. My mom always referred to the spirit of Santa...not like heavenly spirit...but the whole giving spirit and spreading Christmas cheer kind of a thing. I think that as we live the gospel principles and talk of Christ, our children will get the idea of what Christmas is about. Even though Grant is only 2, he knows that Jesus was born on Christmas and he LOVES to play with his nativity set. I got him one that is his own and he actually plays with it all year long. Grant is excited for Santa but also gets excited about giving gifts to friends and he can't wait for Gracie to "open" the gift he bought for her. No matter what you will be the right decision because you are Antalya's mom. Good luck with the dilemma.

Strawberry Girl said...

I had the same dilemma. We don't really have a lot of money to dedicate to Christmas and i've always hated "Santa" bringing the best toys to my kids, where is the thanks? So we told the kids that there was a man that lived many years ago who went around doing good for others and giving children gifts and that people like to imagine him coming and leaving gifts (we explained it better during that conversation). Since my kids understand pretending and playing comes naturally to them the idea of "pretending" that Santa is coming appeals to them and they still thank us for the gifts. My littlest boy though didn't understand the conversation and still believes in Santa so we let him. If he asks us we will tell him about the history of Santa, after all it is interesting.

Cori said...

We have been having this same discussion. I don't have any suggestions yet but I will let you know what conclusion we come to:)