I love the Christmas season-I love the spirit of peace and giving, I love the lights, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas carols, and of course above all I love Jesus who, according to my beliefs, is the Ultimate Gift that I commemorate this holiday. Still-no matter how and why I love Christmas, believe it or not, here in the House of M we do Christmas sans-Santa style. Monkey recognizes Santa, and knows about him, but as far as he is concerned Santa is like Kai-Lan....cool, and fun, but pretend. For obvious reasons our decision is not very popular amongst our friends and family, but what may be less obvious are the reasons that we have decided to forgo the jolly fat man.
I should say first that we don't have anything personal against Mr. Claus-we think the qualities that Santa stands for are very admirable, and we don't "do" the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy or any other imaginary house guests either. It should also be said that we don't have any problem with other people inviting the Claus into their Christmas celebrations-regardless of a person's beliefs he can fit in nicely into any home and create great holiday traditions. We personally just don't feel that Santa works for us.
One reason we don't do Santa is because we feel that he takes attention away from the focus that our family chooses to have during this season. For us, the holiday season is primarily about spiritual gifts, and about our faith, and while Santa is very nice we don't feel that he has a place next to Jesus.
We also feel that it is too easy for little kids to make a connection between Santa and Jesus-after all they are both supposed to be kind, both are supposed to be omnipresent and omnipotent, and both are invisible to kids but supposed to live in your heart...which is all fine and good until the inevitable moment when a kid is told or figures out that there is no Santa. What does this mean for their faith in God, which is based on so many similar ideas as a belief in Santa?
While we would prefer to avoid a major crisis of faith while our kids are too small to really think everything through, we don't ultimately have a problem with our kids questioning their faith when the time comes and they have the capability to-however during that time they spend discovering their faith, and in fact throughout their entire lives, it is important to us that our children trust us to tell them the absolute truth. No matter how pleasant the idea of Santa is, and it is, we wouldn't be able to both be honest and encourage a belief in Santa.
Whenever we tell people that we don't believe in Santa, there are always objections about 'the fun and excitement of Christmas'. I can assure you-the kidlets still have plenty of fun and excitement. We have regular family traditions for them to look forward to, and let's be honest-kids are excited for presents regardless of the occasion. They still learn about the spirit of giving and fraternity and faith, and they still have plenty of joy and wonder in the holiday from our faith. Our kids experience Christmas just like any other kids-we just don't get our holiday spirit from Santa Claus.
And we have plenty of holiday spirit-everyone in the House of M is counting the days until Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, as is our tradition, we busted out the Christmas carols and everybody had a great time singing along. We plan on getting our tree next week, and Monkey and I are going to string popcorn and cranberries together. I'm looking forward to our annual watching of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown and our special family reading of the nativity story, and Monkey can't wait for Christmas Eve at Grandpa's and orange rolls Christmas morning.
We're all geared up for a very happy holiday-what are your family traditions?