Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why My Kids Will Never Believe in Santa

I really don’t like to lie. It gives me the heeby jeebies…I mean, I get this bad, horribly guilty, feeling when I lie. When I was a little girl I would tell the truth within days of telling any lie. Now, as a parent, I hate lying to my children too. I try to give them honest reasons for why they shouldn’t do things like eat MSG or jump on the couch (hello, head injury!).

So now with Christmas drawing near, my twins will be turning 2 years old, and my husband and I are being faced with what to tell our children about Santa. Everyone from Grandparents, to receptionists, to hair stylists are asking my toddlers if they are looking forward to seeing Santa, and getting gifts from Santa, and asking if they have been good for Santa etc. It just drives me crazy! The whole world just assumes that we tell our children that a rosy cheeked, large man will somehow break into our home and leave gifts for them…ugh.

So here are my problems with teaching my children to believe in Santa
1)     Jesus is the reason for the season. This season, and every other one. Our family celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and I don’t want my children’s attention more focused on the glitz and glamour of Santa and gifts rather than Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I love gifts, holiday lights, carols, glitter and reindeer….but I think that you can have all of that and still focus on the birth of Jesus. I think that Christmas is the perfect time to emphasize the gift that God has given us. Jesus is God’s gift to us and when Jesus died on the cross as payment for our sins; that was His gift to us. So in a season that seems to be all about who gives the best gift, we will be teaching our kiddos about the ultimate gift, Jesus.
2)   The whole lying thing. I can’t fathom perpetuating a lie for the next 5 or so years. Telling my children that there is currently a magical man, who lives in a magical land, with flying reindeer, and elves who make toys…that is a flat out lie. I LOVE LOVE pretend, and make believe. But I make it a point to make sure my children know that we are “pretending” to drink tea, and fly, and be puppy dogs, etc. They know reality from pretend. Enter Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. I have no problem with my kids having fun and pretending that a large rabbit laid eggs in our yard, or pretending that a winged, magical fairy flies into their room and collects rotting, stinking teeth…ugh.
3)   We all know that it is hard to trust and/or respect people who have lied to us. Especially lies that have been carried out over years, or multiple lies. So I don’t want to start long term lies with my children. I want them to know that they can trust mommy and daddy; that we will always be honest with them. Being honest with them will instill respect and trust both ways.
4)   History is fun and Saint Nick was an interesting man. I hope to teach my children about the history of Saint Nick and how he became the legend known as Santa. I want my children to know how Santa came to be, and why people tell their kids about him. I hope to teach them to therefore respect other people’s feelings and not blurt our “Santa isn’t real!” to other children.
5)    Back to my pet peeve. It bothers me so much when people use Santa to try and manipulate their children and their behavior. Saying things such as “If you don’t behave Santa won’t bring you any gifts.” Or “ Santa is watching you and keeping a list.” Okay, that last one is just creepy. What kid needs to think that someone is always watching them, but they can’t see that person….But really, a child should be taught to behave because it is the right thing to do. If they behave well only when a reward is offered, they will quickly misbehave when there is no potential for reward, or when they find out that the reward is moot.

All this being said, we will celebrate Christmas, with Jesus as the focal point. We will decorate a tree, we will hang lights, we will sing about Rudolph. We will even go to a mall and get a picture taken on “Santa’s” lap. (Or as my kids will know him, a man dressed up as the historical Saint Nick.) You can still allow your family to experience the joy of celebrating the holidays of this world without being of this world. I don’t believe that my children have to be ostracized because they don’t believe in Santa. I hope that my kiddos can share their faith and love of Jesus Christ with all of their little friends during Christmas (and all other times).
Merry Christmas!

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