Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

Why Santa (but not The Elf) is A part of Our Family’s Christmas

on December 4, 2013

As I have previously written about my family LOVES Christmas. Starting the day after Thanksgiving when my kids get up they no longer great anyone with “Good Morning” it is “Merry Christmas”. I love it because they just kind of started it on their own and they all do it. Like all families traditions are a big part of celebrating any holiday. There is one Christmas tradition that seems to divide people more than any other, specially Christians, Santa. There seems to be two camps of “Yes  Santa” and “No Santa”  then some have carved out a “I will neither confirm nor deny” camp.

Well my family falls firmly in the “yes Santa” camp. I do understand the other side though. I understand why some people worry that their children will be mad that they lied to them when they find out. I understand that we at times give Santa God like powers (he knows if you’ve been bad or good…) and that could be confusing to a child’s faith development. And yes, Santa can be used to manipulate your child’s behavior for all the wrong reasons. I hear all these reasons and even get where people are coming from. As I child I can remember thinking, “Is Santa God? Are they the same?’ I can even remember thinking as a college age person that maybe I wouldn’t “do Santa” with my kids (who were still years away) because I didn’t wan to mislead them. Here’s what I finally came to realize. I don’t know anyone whose relationship with their parents was truly harmed because of Santa. Now there might have been much bigger issues at play in the family but I don’t think Santa was the main problem. As far as the faith part I also don’t know of anyone who left their faith because of Santa. Might they have questioned things, sure, but I want my kids to question and examine their faith.  If they want to to think through the differences between an imaginary Santa and a very real God I am ok with that. I believe the foundation of faith in their lives is strong enough for that. If they choose one day to walk away from their faith I really don’t believe it will be because of Santa. I will say when my kids ask me if Santa can see them all the time and really knows everything they do I am quick to answer, “No, only God can do that”.

So what about manipulating behavior with Santa? This is actually one of my least favorite parts of the whole Santa thing and one of the big reasons we don’t have an elf.  I try very hard to not use Santa as a manipulation tool. My expectations of their behavior should be the same in December as it is in July. The positive consequences for good behavior and the negative consequences for bad behavior should not drastically change because the month does. Also, I can not imagine how bad one of my kids would have to be for Santa not to come, so why even go there?

Now as far as the Elf, like I said, I don’t like the manipulation aspect of it. However, the biggest reason is that I’m a sprinter not a marathon runner (strictly a metaphor I’m not any kind of runner). I could do a bang up job with an elf for about 4 days and after that I would resent the guy and call him bad names. I calculated up the number of nights I would have to do the Elf if I continued until my youngest child was 13 and it came to around 300 nights, um not gonna happen.

Now back to Santa. I want my kids to experience Santa because they deserve the magic. In the same way they deserve to believe Tinkerbell brings pixie dust and fireworks to Disney and that magic  can get Mickey from Epcot to Magic Kingdom in the blink of an eye.Our kids grow up to fast and they are growing up in a world that often treats them as and expects them to be adults way to early.  Santa is all about childhood and I believe in childhood.

 

Look next Wednesday for a post from my very good  friend on why they take a different approach to Santa. In the meantime how do you handle Santa in your family?

Oh and here are my kids with Santa:

Santa 2

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3 responses to “Why Santa (but not The Elf) is A part of Our Family’s Christmas

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m not the friend having to write the other post am I? 😉

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