Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Going Out on a Limb ~ My Conflicts with Christmas


I risk sounding like a scrooge here, but the last few years have found me having a conflict with Christmas. To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the holiday, and certainly not with the Reason for the season. I love Christmas; I'm listening to Christmas music as I type, and I have every intention of trimming a tree and attempting to fill my home with the Christmas spirit over the next few days. But one of my struggles has to do with how most of us celebrate Christmas, and that would include me.

While we may share our bounty with a needy family or two during the holidays, and serve up soup in a soup kitchen to the homeless, I dare say that most of our time during the Christmas season is spent on doing things for ourselves and our immediate families, and I dare say that the bulk of money spent at Christmas is spent on those who don’t need a thing, including, and especially, our children.

And, now for the biggie. Can I just lay it all out here? I’m no saint, but I’m glad I never allowed my daughter to believe in Santa Claus. Oh, sure, I took her to the mall a time or two, where she had her picture made with him, and we talked about the idea of Santa Claus, but, call me Grinch if you will, I couldn’t tell her a lie, and I didn’t want her hopes and dreams to be dashed when she learned the truth later on. But more than anything, I didn’t want her to have mixed signals when it came to why we celebrate Christmas. I didn’t want her to think that all of the fun gifts she received were placed there by a jolly little man in a red suit, flying through the air using a sleigh and a pack of reindeer for transportation.

I know I’ve gone out on a limb here, and I have friends who have called me old fogy in the past, but that doesn't offend me. The truth is, when my little daughter looked up at me, with trusting eyes the color of chocolate drops, and asked, “Mommy, is Santa Claus real?” I have no regrets about answering her in an honest fashion. How could I do anything less? While the idea of Santa Claus is a good one, he isn’t the bearer of Christmas gifts, and I wanted her to know that every good gift comes from God, that He is the only reason for the season, that He is the only reason we are able to give gifts to each other.

Children are the purest forms of human beings, and they trust their parents to tell them the truth, about everything. Allowing them to believe—to really believe—in Santa Claus cannot have a happy ending for them. True story: I once worked with a forty-something-year-old woman who told me that one of her greatest childhood disappointments was when she found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real. She still remembered how betrayed she felt when she discovered that her parents had been feeding her a fairy tale all those years. She said her heart was broken, not so much because there wasn't a Santa Claus, but because her parents had lied to her. She said it took her years to get over it and to forgive them.

I know that sounds extreme, but that was her experience, and it only confirmed my belief that parents should always tell their children the truth, even when it comes to Santa Claus.


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13 comments:

  1. We did allow our children to "believe" in Santa Claus when they were very little, and when they asked we were honest and told them the truth. If I had it to do over again, I would not have even started telling them about Santa. I don't believe it harmed them in any way (LOL) however, I agree with you that deceiving our children, even innocently (Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy) is really not a good idea. We don't have any grandkids yet, but when we do I will suggest to our kids that they not deceive either. I know the feeling. It is so hard to buy anything for my kids as they have everything they need, and most things they want. I feel as if I'm spending money just to spend, although we are pretty frugal and the amount of money I spend on my grown kids pales in comparison to what I hear others say they spend. Jesus is Christmas!!!

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  2. I wasn't raised to believe in Santa Claus and feel relieved that I didn't have my heart broken over that, or that my parents had lied to me about that.

    I love Christmas and have started decorating today. :-) It's not the same since my dear husband went to be with Jesus, it's different.

    Happy holidays to you and yours ~ FlowerLady

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  3. I have no recollection of actually finding out that Santa wasn't real....so I was obviously not traumatized by the whole thing. But hey, to each his own! Either way, enjoy your holiday season!!

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  4. I think you said it, "I have no regrets about answering her in an honest fashion."
    You told the truth!
    We need more Truth, coming out lips.

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  5. We, too, chose not to lie to our son. He has always known that there is no Santa Claus, and it has never stopped us or him from living the joys and blessedness of the season. He still gets SO excited over Christmas...not that we can afford to lavish him with nearly all we wish we could, but he knows it is not about that anyhow. I think one of the main reasons we should not lie to our kids about Santa is that when they do find out the reality and discover we have been lying to them, it will totally diminish our credibility with them, and they may begin to wonder what else we are lying to them about...such as they might even question whether or not Jesus is real and that His virgin birth is real and all of the other truths of God's Word. To us, it is just best to tell the truth right from the beginning.

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  6. I chose not to lie to my children once it registered on my radar screen. I wish, however, that I had never allowed Santa (done out of ignorance) because, quite frankly, they haven't forgiven me for telling the truth yet. It is a terrible thing to kill Santa. Best to never bring him to life in the first place. Just my two cents. As for the other things, we should do as God tells us. You always have things to ponder over here!

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  7. We have never done Santa in our home. The deciding factor was when my daughter at 2 was petrified of the idea of Santa. I have no regrets and my children haven't been scarred, so that's a good thing. ;) My daughter isn't choosing to go the Santa route with her children either. It's a choice for every family and I respect that. Our choice worked out well for us.

    (I was in fourth grade when a smart little boy told our class that Santa wasn't real. It was then super hard for me to keep that secret from my little sister who was 5. Mama threatened me, so I kept mum until she figured it out herself.)

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  8. I have to be honest, Christmas is NOT my favorite holiday. Sure, I love the reason for the season and the beautiful decorations, but I dislike the commercialism and the way the season is pushed on us earlier and earlier each year---long before we've even celebrated Thanksgiving, Santa Claus has arrived at the mall, the neighbors have strung up their Christmas lights, and the stores are playing Christmas tunes.

    Christmas has so lost its meaning. I have this vision that when asked about Christmas, the vast majority of people respond, "Oh, yeah, Christmas, that's the time when I get loads of really expensive presents."

    Just this past Sunday at church, a gal (in her 50's, like I am) and I were talking about the craziness of the season and how it was when we were little, or what our parents told us about when they were little. People used to decorate very late in the season (23rd or 24th) and then not take down until Epiphany. Epiphany was even celebrated back in the day. I think I might like to start that tradition myself.

    We, too, did not raise our children with Santa. We were criticized for that regularly, especially by our parents. We were told that our children were missing out on something, that we were denying them one of the most important things in childhood. But we stood our ground, and you know what, our kids never felt deprived.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Blessings,
    Patti

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  9. I never told Leslie there was a Santa Claus, and I never told her there wasn't. She figured it out on her own around the age of 4. It's a funny story, and a memory forever etched in my head. Truth is always best.

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  10. This was an interesting post and I enjoyed reading the comments and other opinions as well. We did "do" Santa when my kids were growing up, but it wasn't something they believed in much past the age of 5. Once they were smart enough to figure out how ridiculous the whole concept really is, we said things like it was just for fun etc. No real effort was made to keep the illusion going. I don't think any of my kids ever considered it as we lied to them or they were traumatized in any way or anything like that, though it might be interesting to ask them, lol. But! my kids have ALL chosen NOT to do Santa at their houses. So none of my grandkids have ever played that little game. They do not do Elf on the Shelf (which is sooo popular now) or any of the rest of it either. Instead they do focus as best they can on Jesus and the reason for the season. And their toy load on Christmas morning is really very small in comparison to what many experience. They do put together multiple boxes of gifts for underprivileged children as well. Personally I think it's wonderful. I support it 100%. Truthfully it never occurred to me to leave Santa out of it, but I see now it was soo unnecessary for the blessings of Christmas to be experienced, and only serves to encourage a child to focus on themselves.

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  11. I'm smiling as i read this:0 We seem to live in age when opinion which leans one way needs no apology but as soon as it clings to traditional values we are made to feel apologetic.
    When we were kids we marched down to the village general store to see George Fisher dressed up like Santa, we sat on his knee and the reward...a candy cane! We never thought Santa was real...it was knowing the fairy-tale from the real thing! Jesus was the real thing and Santa was, well... Santa Klaus!
    But then along came our children and no, we never really talked about Santa. from the beginning they knew Santa is a regular guy in a red suit saying ho-ho-ho to kids who liked that sort of thing. We taught them Jesus is Christmas but I didn't realize that somewhere along the way my youngest daughter decided Santa must be a 'bad-guy'. One day we went to the mall and she said she wants to kick him. She was approx. 3 yrs. old.
    No! No! I told her, horrified at her anti-Santa-ness. Thus came the idea for this poem
    http://anotherporch.blogspot.ca/2015/12/the-reason-for-season-jesus-or-santa.html
    Every year i have a friend who asks if I've turned it into a book but i tell her I'm torn. She says she would buy it for grandkids or others who think Christmas is only Santa!
    I totally get your feeling on the 'buying' thing. It didn't used to be this way because no one had the money or credit to do it. I think you worded well the thoughts of many of us!

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    Replies
    1. Your story of your anti-Santa toddler gave me a laugh. Kids can be unpredictable for sure.

      You know I'm an admirer or your work. I loved the poem.

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  12. My response may be way off, but I grew up in a Greek orthodox family, and while the commercialized Santa Claus was all around us as kids, so where the religious icons. We were taught as kids the true meaning behind "Santa Claus". St. Nicholas was real person and he was known for his secret gift giving. I won't bore you with details of the miracles attributed to him, but he seems to be a forgotten Saint by Christians during this time of year even though he is the reason for the Santa Claus.

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