'Tis the season! In my mind right now, there are a bunch of topics I'd like to broach - and yet, I'll try to stick to one! Good old Super Jolly Fat Man.
I only have one memory of actually believing in Santa Claus. It was Christmas Eve and my mom was tucking us snugly into bed. She must have been exhausted, for she uttered those famous Christmas Eve words, "If you don't shut your eyes and go to sleep, Santa won't come!!" Good times! I also used to believe that dinosaurs roamed the first floor of our house at night because as I lay with my arm under my head, I would hear the blood rush through the veins in my arm. My pulse sounds a lot like T-Rex foot steps. I digress.
Early in our parenting years, Richard and I decided that we wouldn't encourage the Santa myth. Already, Christmas has become such a stressful, commercial time of year that we felt that adding Santa to the mix would be taking away from what Christmas is supposed to be all about. This summer, our wonderful babysitter told the girls about him - perhaps playing the "Santa won't come" card? - and this led to a truthful, and gentle talk about Santa, Jesus' birth and Christmas. As we told our girls, Santa is a fun story but he is just pretend.
Some people don't agree with this - rather than dashing through the snow, we are dashing our children's Christmas memories and robbing them of a precious, essential childhood memory. I don't believe that. When my children are adults, I want them to remember Christmas as a celebration of our Saviour's birth, as a happy event like a birthday party, cuddling on the couch with Mommy and Daddy, participating in concerts and caroling, hot chocolate, visiting relatives and friends, etc. I want them to associate Christmas with Christ, his birthday with giving to others (and I don't mean stuff, I mean time, volunteering, charity, etc). Yes, there will be gifts, but they won't be the focus. Yes, Santa will be at the mall and on Christmas specials, but he will not be an idol. Yes, we will probably spend too much on diverse Christmas paraphanalia (spelling?), but we will try to keep it in line with our budget to discourage waste and excess.