Friday, December 14, 2012

On Santa and faith...(with a little ranting mixed in)

Our house is all decorated for Christmas now.  Thanks to my mother-in-law, I've got some nice greenery and bows for above the fireplace and some stuff for the railing around our front porch.  We've got our tree, and the kids had fun decorating it.  It's not too bottom-heavy...  ;)  It's a nice tree, and the house smells great, the way Christmas is meant to smell.

We got our tree at Home Depot.  Not a particularly exciting place to go for a tree, but it's close and not too expensive, and they have decent trees.

Unfortunately, an experience we had with the sales lady this year left me with a funny taste in my mouth.

She was a nice enough lady, and I'm sure she meant well, but since when is it her right to try to convince my daughter that Santa Claus is real?

Let me explain.  We had our tree picked out and went inside to get the lady to come wrap it up for us.  As seems to be the usual practice any time we go anywhere in these days leading up to Christmas, the sales lady had to ask our kids something about if they were ready for Santa to come or some such nonsense.  We've never done the Santa thing in our house; we want our kids to know where the presents really come from so they can be appropriately thankful to the givers, not to mention we want the focus to be on the real reason for the season, Jesus's birthday.

So naturally, Reuben pipes up quite loudly, "There is no Santa!"  The lady was just appalled at this, (and I couldn't tell if she was seriously appalled or just playing it up a bit to try to keep up the allusion that there really is a Santa), but she proceeded to try to convince the kids there is a Santa, and the kids kept saying, "No, there's no Santa."  Finally, we just stepped in and said, "Okay, kids, that's enough." 

I had hoped the conversation was over at that point.  Heh.

We were walking outside to where the tree was ready to go, and the lady decided it was okay for her to take Kaylee aside, deliberately leaving Reuben behind (the more vocal objector of the two), and whispered in her ear, "Don't you listen to what anyone else says.  If you believe there's a Santa, then there's a Santa.  Do you believe?"  And Kaylee apparently replied, "Yes." (The sales lady then came and told me what she had said to Kaylee.)

I think the lady might have thought she was helping because she later made a comment that she had kids and grandkids, and I sensed that she's had to deal with older children popping younger children's "belief in Santa" bubbles before, but neither of our children have ever believed in Santa, (not that we've encouraged at least, if anything we've deliberately discouraged it).  There was no bubble being popped, and if anything, she just created a difficult and confusing situation for my poor 3-year-old little girl.

We ended up having a conversation in the van on the drive home about the real meaning of Christmas, how we believe in God and Jesus, not Santa, and Christmas is about Jesus's birthday.  I think we got the message across, but I also think that Kaylee was a bit upset by the whole thing.

When I look back on the situation, I get a sick feeling in my stomach.  I wish I hadn't let that lady take Kaylee aside.  I should have been more protective of her and not let some stranger take her away from me and whisper in her ear.

It's also caused me to consider a little more closely the whole thing about faith and how to talk to our kids about what we believe.  I mean really, the difference between faith in God and faith in Santa is not so far a leap as far as believing in something you can't see goes.  So I had to think about how to explain to the kids why we believe in one and not the other.  I am so thankful for the Bible!

I'm equally annoyed that our society puts So.Much.Emphasis on Santa Claus.  Especially since the prevailing sentiment is that Santa isn't actually real, that he's just something for little kids to believe in.  Why in the world is it so important to set our little ones up for disappointment?  Fine, have some nice stories about Santa at Christmas time; I won't make too much of a fuss.  But for the love, don't expect me or my children to ACTUALLY believe that he's real, and you darn well better not step in to try and convince my child that Santa is real if he or she is telling you he is not.  It is MY job to teach them what to believe about Santa, not yours.

Anyway, enough ranting.  I think, I hope, I pray that Reuben and Kaylee got the message about what the true meaning of Christmas is.  It's so hard to know how much they understand and what they think about all of it at this age.  And now I know what to prepare for when Nathan gets a little older, and people start trying to convince him that Santa is real...


Amy V said...

I had the possible beginning of a similar scenario the other day and could feel my stress just spiking cause I was feeling unprepared for dealing with it! I would love to chat about how you talked to your kids afterwards. This year I am mostly just avoiding where possible the issue but by next year I won't be so lucky.

Does Reuben's school do Santa? It amazes me some days how many churches and the like do and I can't quite understand that. I am with you on being so baffled at the insistence on lying to kids. I know it's a socially loaded topic so I try very hard not to make any bigger issue
than need be but I regularly want to say to people ok if you don't want me to "ruin" it for your kids than don't ruin what I teach mine!!

My little rant to go with yours!!!

Aunt Amy said...

My strategy with your cousins was to explain that the people who didn't know Jesus and therefore didn't celebrate his birthday at Christmas, also wanted to celebrate something and so the clown Santa was developed (his story based on Sinter Klaas, the bishop who gave to the poor). Santa did not exist as a giver of their gifts nor was he watching their every move to determine if they'd been bad or good.

It was incredibly awkward the first Christmas after my Dad remarried and Santa had a big role in the family get together. However, we simply showed the kids who was disguised as Santa (some were afraid of this bearded clown and sitting on his lap was not worth the present) and told them who really bought them the gifts they were receiving. Brad was 2 at the time. So Santa still comes every year.

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! Finally somebody who feels the same way I do. I don’t have children yet…. Still waiting on the Lord for that but…. why the celebration of Santa Claus, especially in Christian homes? A. It is the parents who work hard to buy those gift and they should get the thanks. B. Isn’t it a little creepy that Santa “sees you when your sleeping and when you are awake” and sneaks into your house the middle of the night. C. These people are outright LYING to their children- what’s next mom and dad? Are you going to tell me you made up the story of baby Jesus too?
End Rant!

Post a Comment