I love Christmas time! Christmas is my favorite holiday and the weeks leading up to the big day are some of the best I have all year long. I’ve recently started decorating outside our house as well as inside. We have our tree up, fireplace decorated, gifts wrapped and under the tree. Lights are strung up across the front of our house, we have a lighted snowman, a few shrubs strung with lights and some light-up animated deer hanging out in our yard. I’ve even scheduled a time off from work the week of Christmas so I can stay at home, enjoy the days up to and after the big event and just relax and take in the holiday. Just last night, my son and I finished up some final decoration tweaking outside before settling down to watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town from our holiday dvd collection. But wait … not all is perfect in Whoville. There are those who would dash a child’s hopes and dreams.
Something that has came up recently, in family discussions, is Santa Claus and lying to our children. My wife’s brother and his wife recently had their first child, and the sister-in-law’s first declaration was that she would not lie to her child by telling him about Santa Claus. Background information: Originally from Romania, from a large family she came to the U.S. through a church visitation program where she met The Wife’s brother and they eventually got married. She is also a Christian and believes Santa Claus takes away from the true meaning of Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth. She is becoming very vocal of this now that she has a child of her own, with no regard or seeming respect for anyone who may think otherwise, it seems. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this subject.
The Wife and I both grew up in households that were on Santa’s radar. I have fond memories of Santa. I never visited him at the mall and I really can’t remember if I wrote him letters – but he knew. He always knows. Come Christmas morning, I would wake up every year and walk into our living room to find a huge floor full of loot laid out before the tree. The one Christmas that stands out most in my mind when I recall Christmas past, involves me walking into the living room to find a giant Voltron remote control figure, Megatron (Transformers G1 GUN Megatron, not one of these weak versions you find in stores these days. One that looked like a Walther P38 because kids could handle something like that back in those days and weren’t all panty waists.) There was the Ecto-1, all the Ghostbusters, all kinds of good stuff!
And that is what some folks have a problem with, I guess, is a child being happy because they receive toys and celebrate the visit of a man who comes bearing gifts in the middle of the night to brighten their faces. It detracts from the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday, God’s only son who was sacrificed to pay for our sins – the greatest gift ever given. Then there is the whole “lying” thing, telling your child something that might – when they learn the truth – make them doubt the existence of other unseen entities that may be watching over them.
There are a lot of things that bring a certain amount of negativity to Christmas. The way stores and large malls jump on the season and try to wring out that extra dollar from everyone’s pocket. Putting out their merchandise months before the actually holiday. I walked into our hometown K-Mart a few weeks before Halloween to look for something for my wife, and there where the Halloween decorations had been a few days before, were three aisles of Christmas bows, wreaths, tree skirts, tree displays, etc. Halloween hadn’t even come and gone, but K-Mart was shoving out the Christmas decor! As if that wasn’t enough, you have the real folks retailers are after hitting the streets the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday – the day after everyone gives thanks for what they have, they head right out to fight their neighbors over things they want – at discount prices! Geez, no wonder folks think badly of the holiday season these days, but what gives with the whole Santa Claus is bad thing?
My wife worries what will happen if/when our son finds out about Santa Claus. Not because she’s afraid he will be devastated, but because of the way he may find out. Having family with older kids (one of whom is slightly impaired and blurts out whatever is on his mind) and of course having a sister-in-law who is strong in her conviction of No Santa!, she’s scared someone is going to spoil the magic before we believe the time is right. So, being the (sadly) creative one in the family, I took my own thoughts, ideas and beliefs on the subject and created my own spin on this “lie.” But honestly, if you believe it yourself, can you really consider it a lie? Or maybe that question makes me seem a little more crazier than I meant it to. Anyways, here is what I have taught our son in the past year or two concerning Santa Claus.
- Santa Claus is real. No matter what you hear or what you see, Santa is real. I can prove it to you, look at this: Wikipedia: Santa Claus. See? It’s on Wikipedia, so it has to be true. But seriously, Santa is based on real folk from our distant past. Each region has their own version, from Saint Nicholas to Sinterklass, Tomte, and Father Christmas.
- The folks you see in the stores and malls or at their entrances dressed up as Santa Claus aren’t really Santa Claus. Santa can’t be at all those places at one time, so these folks are sort of like hired help. The malls hire them, dress them up and sit them in the malls so kids can come and tell them what they want. It’s sort of a way of passing along valuable information to the actual source of the gifts. So always remember, he may look like Santa, he may act like Santa, but that’s not really Santa. Santa doesn’t come out in public for people to see, he’s too busy for that kind of thing.
- No one has ever really seen Santa. He’s just there. You know he’s there because you can feel it. Your brain and heart both work together and let you know he’s real, therefore he is real.
- Santa won’t visit you forever. Once you reach a certain age, say around 10 or so, he will probably stop visiting you so he can focus on the younger children that are always being born. Some people think that because Santa quits visiting them that he isn’t real. In truth, they’re just disappointed that he isn’t bringing them presents anymore. So their parents take over and every year after that many parents will continue to put gifts under the tree, just like Santa use to. Because of this you may hear some of your cousins, like @@@@@ or @@@@@ say that Santa isn’t real and that their mom and dad buy their gifts. That’s true, their mom and dad’s do, but it’s because they’re older than you and Santa doesn’t visit anymore.
My son asked me the first year I told him this: “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” I quickly and strongly answered, “Yes, I do.” And do you know what? I do believe in Santa Claus. Santa Claus does exist in my crazy little world, as long as at least one person believes, he is real and so is the purpose he exists for. Santa represents the hope and goodwill and generosity toward man that we feel – not only in December, but all through the year. Santa isn’t there to compete with Jesus Christ or God, he’s there to co-exist and help deliver the message of hope and peace and goodwill toward man. Of course there are those that think you can take Santa out of that entire picture and rely only on Christ, and this is true. But Santa is simply a more approachable person to the children. Someone who is nice to children, someone they can look up to and learn from. I’ve never once seen Santa depicted as someone who bashes you over the head and tries to divert your life from your religious beliefs. Not saying those images aren’t out there, I’ve just never seen them.
- Never stop believing in Santa. Even when you grow up and Santa no longer visits and you have kids of your own, don’t stop believing in Santa. He’s good people. He makes folks act a little nicer, walk a little taller, smile a little brighter. He may not be the reason for the season, but he’s a good guy to have on your side.
So, yes, my son may be disappointed when he gets much older, has children and realizes that he’s going to have to fill that role, but if he’s like me he won’t complain one bit. He will happily carry on the tradition. Not because he wants to lie to his children and take Christ out of their lives, but because he wants to let them revel in that special moment of childhood when someone like Santa is on your side. God will be with you forever, if that is your path in life, Santa, however, is there to bolster the holiday and add a little something extra to it. I believe the two can coexist peacefully and compliment each other nicely. But then again, people call me an idiot at times, so that’s just my opinion.
Now, to be my usually much cruder self, I’ll add this little bit. If I choose to tell my kid about Santa, that’s my business. If it conflicts with your agenda, then that’s your problem. But don’t come over here and start running your mouth in front of my child and dashing their hopes or beliefs because you think they “need to know the truth.” I’m their parent, my wife and I decide what they do and do not need to know. Thank you very much.
- Do You Believe In Santa Claus? (susankinchen.wordpress.com)
- Man arrested after telling kids Santa Claus isn’t real (myfox8.com)
- Is Santa Real? How to Deal with the Christmas Question (education.com)
- The Legend of St. Nicholas – Santa Claus (conservativeread.com)