Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holy Ho Ho Ho

Sorry to break the news to you but there is no Santa Claus, and no flying reindeer either. I’ll wait while you run for the tissue box. (And by the way, please don’t call the North Pole to tattle on me for this post... I don’t want coal in my stocking.)

My kids have been told from the beginning that there is no such thing as an all-knowing Santa Claus who sneaks into our house and leaves presents under our tree. They know that the guy in the mall is just that... a guy dressed up to represent another guy from long ago named Nicholas who gave away his wealth to those in need, particularly children. They know that Santa Claus is just a fun made up character who hands out candy canes from his throne in the mall. Before you lament my poor children for their scrooge of a mother, know this: it doesn’t matter that they know Santa isn’t real because apparently the Santa Claus myth is so deeply ingrained in our culture that my three year old does not even believe me when I remind him of the truth...

Jade and I were in the store a couple weeks ago playing with Thomas trains. He was having a wonderful time and got quite upset when I told him it was time to say goodbye to Thomas. He threw an all out, thrashing, screaming, waterworks fit right there in aisle 8 of A.C. Moore. I told him it was okay because he would be getting Thomas for Christmas in a few weeks, that “Momma Santa” would give it to him. “No he won’t,” he wailed, “He’s mean.” After a bit of back and forth about whether or not this particular train would be under the tree on Christmas morning I got terribly exasperated and shouted, “Jade, remember? I AM SANTA CLAUS! And I KNOW you are getting this for Christmas!” He looked at me through his tears and yelled back, “You are not Santa.” And so it went, with me tossing my dear child over my shoulder and heading for the door.

As you can see, we are not Santa sanitizers... I mean, his name does come up and we do tell the kids when they want something to put it in on their Christmas lists for Santa, wink wink. But we were very clear with them from the first time they saw the guy who he is and who he is not.


Christian parents get all weird on me when I say we don’t do the Santa hoax in our house... Really what harm is there in perpetuating the Santa Claus myth?

First of all it is a lie. A big lie. A big big big lie that gets bigger and more detailed as your kids grow in sophistication. And last I checked God still wasn’t into lying.

Second, it confers God’s characteristics... omniscience, the right to judge, supernatural abilities... onto a dead guy who through his unwavering generosity got sainted and made into a cultural icon. (And no, Santa is not an allegorical God and even if he were, the second commandment might be an issue ;-) It is also kind of hard to convince your children that the Jesus (they can’t see) part of Christmas is still true after they find out the Santa (they see everywhere) isn’t.

Next, it seriously detracts from the real meaning of Christmas. A visit from Santa becomes more important (and certainly more exciting) than the greatest birthday celebration of all.

And last... it goes against everything we teach our kids about strangers... Yes, Jade go hop on that strange guy’s lap and take candy from him... he’ll be sneaking into our house later this week...

So why do we do it and why do we get so upset when someone suggests that maybe we shouldn’t? That is not a rhetorical question... if you know the answer, tell me. Do you think Mary would have pulled the Santa lie on Jesus... “Guess what Jesus... you've been such a good boy that for your birthday this year, some made up magical guy in a red suit is going to fly in on a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer to drop off your birthday presents while you are sleeping... isn’t that nice?”

Get your own Jesus and Santa figurine.


RissaRoo said...

LOL...I love this post. We've chosen to avoid the Santa thing at our house as well. The other day I heard a mom tell her child to be good or Santa will put Reindeer poop in her stocking. No wonder so many kids cry when they're asked to sit on Santa's lap at the mall!

Anonymous said...

Some interesting points there TUC! I guess people make choices about what they want to believe. It really has nothing to do with logic or science. I personally don't think about Santa as presents and I don't think my daughter does either. We do write a letter, with apples for the reindeer and cookies and milk though! For me all of the holidays have interesting cultural stories that accompany them- this one is a European custom that precedes Christianity. In actuality, beneath every Christian holiday is an ancient custom that has been buried. BTW- I LOVE the figurine!

DownTownDan said...

I can absolutely see the complete logic of everything you have just said, and I agree with every word. However, I still think Santa is awesome.

Parents are "into" Santa not because he is lugging around a sackful of toys. It's because he's lugging around a sackful of all of the magical things they believed in as a child. Did you ever believe that fairies just might be real? That your toys were alive? That if you tried hard enough, maybe you could fly?

You very likely did believe in some sort of innocent magic when your mind was still a bit mushy. And that wide open mindset doesn't last for very long, because eventually you realize that those things are fantasy. That life is a lot more boring than you hoped. Reality thumps everyone on the head, eventually, and once it does, you can't really ever believe in that sort of magic again (unless you become a professional Bigfoot hunter). And for many people this is very painful.

So when parents have a chance to help their kids hold onto that magic for a little longer, many do. It's fun to watch little minds rationalize preposterous things, because it's very adorable and it gives us a chance to see how their minds really work. It's a lie, but an innocent lie, and I personally think the good outweighs the bad for everyone involved.

It is unfortunate that this big charade has been grafted onto the most holy Christian holiday. I see how that is an affront to a big slice of the population, and I don't disagree. Santa should not be the focus of Christmas for Christians, not at all. But I do think he can have a nice place in a child's life.

CJ said...

Just another reason I adore you. I get a lot of heat about not lying to my kids about Santa. Or any of the other mythical beings. They know who they represent, what role they play in society and the truth. Of course, I also asked my son not to dismantle the belief of OTHER kids who do believe. Let their parents have that misery to face when their kids realize they have been lied to.

Far Above Rubies said...

You are too cool. I'm with you on this one.

One of my pet peeves is X-Mas. Do we have to remove Christ from everything?

DownTownDan said...

Regarding Jasmine's comment about Xmas:

My mom used to hate that, too, and when I was growing up our preacher and various people in church used to rant about how horrible it was. But recently I saw a tv show on the History Channel or something (I'm addicted to history/archaeology shows) that mentioned that issue. The X in Xmas stands for the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in the word "Christ" (in the Greek spelling). So the root of this practice is a very logical abbreviation, not anything devious or heretical.

I cannot say for certain whether people who use that abbreviation in modern times are actually using it to purposely take Christ out of Christmas. I have never heard anyone, ever, say that is their motive. So I have to believe that, in general, this is just a harmless quirk of language that is not meant to be taken as an insult to Christ.

My point is that you may be able to save yourself some grief by knowing that interesting bit of history.

Far Above Rubies said...

Wow, Dan. I didn't know this. It definitely puts a better prespective on it for me. I should have researched the X myself since I love history too.

Thanks Dan. xox

Far Above Rubies said...

I thought about my comment to Dan regarding a better prespective on X, and although he may be correct, it still does not deter from the fact that the word Christ is eliminated. Most people do not know the history of X, and as I gave it further thought - do not believe it is a harmless quirk of language.

Saving myself grief would mean be to remove myself from society altogether. Because not only am I an advocate for DS, but must be one for Christ.

We have a fierce enemy, and he is very subtle.

However, this is one woman's opinion.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

I also understand if you prefer not to publish this comment.

Blessings, and Merry Christmas my friend.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about not lying to your kids. My kids know there is no real santa nor a toothfairy or easter bunny. I don't like to clutter there minds with fairy tales. Magic is a sin and so is lieing.

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