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    Let’s talk Santa

    I’ve really been struggling with what kind of exposure I want G to have to Santa. I’ve got nothing against the jolly man in the red suit, don’t get me wrong. However, I do have a problem with… how should I put this… his authenticity.

    I want to tell G about the origins of Santa and what he represents: generosity towards others, fairness and humility. I’m hoping to skirt the whole “Is he real?” conversation (some day) by acknowledging that St. Nick (aka Santa) was a real, live person, and that people resurrect his memory each year to honor him. I don’t want the focus on Santa (for G) to be “What will I get from him?”, but “How will I live up to his spirit?”

    So… starting this year I’m creating a new family tradition: on Christmas Eve we will each go and donate to an organization. When G’s old enough he can pick out what he wants to donate (it could be an item, cash or his time volunteering). This year I picked for him, but I picked some of the toys he’s enjoyed playing with that, hopefully, other kids would enjoy as well. It will be his first year being Santa.

    Then there’s the whole “gifts on Christmas day” conversation between S and I. I’ll be honest, I don’t want G to get any gifts from Santa… or if he does, I want Santa gifts to fit into his stocking (only). For the record, I’m not saying “no gifts” on Christmas day. G would still get his share of holiday loot, but it would clearly be labeled from the giving party. S, however, isn’t buying into this idea and doesn’t want G to be “the only kid who doesn’t get anything from Santa”. His argument is “if G plays Santa for someone else, who will play Santa for him?” So we’re trying to reach a middle ground. I’m willing to compromise on a single “Santa” gift. One! It has to be within $30 and we can wrap it in special paper (I stole this idea from S’ sister). We’re still ironing out the details though, so stay tuned for final decisions. Luckily for us, it’s not something we need to figure out this year.

    You might be thinking that I’m killing Santa here. I’m honestly not. If anything I want to keep Santa alive for G beyond the age of 6. I want him to perpetuate the spirit of St. Nicholas by doing deeds in his name, past when his classmates say “Santa’s for babies!”

    With this G still gets to bake cookies with me (yummo) and go hang out with a Santa in pictures. I’m not denying him those experiences. I just want to encourage him to honor the season by asking “What can I do?” and not “What can I get?”

    I want to put a big disclaimer here: I have nothing against others who want to tell their kid that Santa lives on the North Pole with a gaggle of hard-working elves and a flying sleigh with reindeer. I will support any of my friends who want this to be what their kids believe in. It’s just not what I want to tell G. The problem at hand will be how do I merge my friends’ perpetuation of the “Night Before Christmas” version of Santa, and the Santa I want G to know. I don’t want my kid to be the one ruining Santa for all others. I’m open for ideas here.

    How do you non-Christmas celebrating folk handle this?

    8 responses to “Let’s talk Santa”

    1. Kelly Marie says:

      this is also something I want to instill in MY G. But I do think that you can have both the orgins of Saint Nick, the kindness to others and charity, while still getting presents from the dude who lives in the north pole.

      this is the first year that Grey has understood Christmas as all. And I admit, telling him about leaving out cookies and Santa coming to leave him a gift (this year, a star, which is what he wants) has been soooo fun. i don’t see any reason why you can’t have both. 😉

      • avalikelava says:

        Although I won’t tell other kids that North-pole Santa isn’t real, he’s not the one I want to tell G about. I would just rather not fat out lie to him. I understand that there will be times when I will have to lie, but hopefully only in order to protect him. This scenario doesn’t fall under this category, so I just can’t bring myself up to do it.

    2. ariel says:

      I completely understand where you are coming from and love the one gift from Santa idea along with the G playing Santa and teaching him the true meaning of the season. But I personally LOVE the magic of the Santa who lives on the north pole and flies around giving gifts to all the boys and girls. I can’t with hold that joy I had from Riley. I love the wonder of St Nick, and the innocence it takes to believe in something like that, even if that means I have to lie to my kid.

      I do wonder though how not doing the North Pole Santa will work out when G is 4 or 5 and really understands what his peers believe. I guess time will tell.

    3. Kelle says:

      truthfully, if i had it to do over, i would not do the whole “santa thing” with my kids either. my reasoning would be that i would want to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas-the birth of Jesus, but also because i have major guilt about lying to my kids. i try to teach them NOT to lie, but somehow justify it when it is convenient (such as this) lying is lying, no matter how you mark it. though i have never been the one to say “you better be good b/c santa is watching” or “santa wont bring you gifts if you are bad”. we decided that when we were faced with the actual “are you and daddy santa?” we wouldnt OUTRIGHT lie-but we would come clean. too little too late in my opinion.
      but be sure that there will be talk between friends and he could be the one that wants to have the truth known and therefore will stand his ground (Even if you tell him not to!!!) there is no way around that one. i say, do what is best for you and your family. it may make him different from the other kids, but different is good!

    4. maydaygirl says:

      That is how we “celebrated” santa growing up. Learning about where the fairy tale came from. Unfortunately my parents never told me not to tell OTHER kids he wasn’t real. lol oops!

    5. Paul King says:

      IMO, Santa is part of the awe, surprise and amazement that is only available to toddlers. They will learn soon enough about the world and the need for charity, but I believe that their development actually might require the trickery we provide in Santa and the Easter Bunny. Figuring out what is real and what is fantasy is a stage of development that every child must pass through. The game of picabo is actual an example of how we teach this to children.

      Anyway, you would be right to try and keep your toddler from the giant over-expectations that are often associated with Christmas and Santa. ‘Nothin’ worse that a spoiled brat.

      I like the direction, anyway.



      • avalikelava says:

        Paul/Ariel thank you!
        I don’t disagree that helping define the line between fantasy and reality is something kids need to go through. Two points of consideration, however:

        1. Do you insist that in the ocean there is a purple wich octopus named Ursula? How about that carpets can fly? Why are the stories of Disney and Arabic folk tales not held up to the same pinnacle of reality that Moore’s Night Before Christmas? If you play along the reality of one, why discriminate against the others?

        2. Different countries interpret Santa very differently. For example, here kids have to go to sleep when Santa comes, otherwise no gifts. When I was little Santa came and delivered your gifts directly to you (this by the way required some friend/family member to dress up). You guys get reindeer and the dude comes down your chimney. We don’t. Santa here has a Mrs. Claus. Where I come from he was assisted by a young, and foxy Snow White (not to be confused w/ the Hans Christian Anderson Snow White). Santa came to you on Christmas Eve. Thanx to Communism we didn’t celebrate Christmas and Santa came on New Years Eve. There are so many variations of the story, how do you decide which to observe? Is part of fantasy having to keep up with the story that the local kids are noting?

        By the way, peek-a-boo is a great game 🙂

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