Here on the blog, I talk a lot about inner beauty: about being your best self, practicing kindness, and developing a giving spirit. These are universal concepts that, I think, appeal to most people. But the truth of the matter is that my desire for inner beauty comes from a much more deep-seated place that simply being a good person. It’s because I am a practicing Christian.
I do have to pause just for a second and acknowledge how difficult it is for me to call myself that. Because you see, I feel like when I use the word “Christian,” people automatically assume that they know that I think and believe about society, politics, the environment, etc. And they are probably wrong. So I would much rather call myself a Christ follower, a Jesus groupie, or something like that. Not Christian.
Anyway (stepping down from soapbox), despite the fact that I don’t like calling myself a Christian, I take being a Christian very seriously. So does my husband, Erik, and that’s why we’ve decided not to do Santa.
Let me explain…A couple of years ago, I was teaching a group of middle schoolers at church. It was Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter), so I asked the kids if they knew what Easter was. One of the kids had brought along a friend, who eagerly answered the question, “It’s when Jesus went to sleep and when he woke up, he saw the Easter Bunny!” This kid wasn’t being silly or snarky; he was completely serious, and to me, it made total sense. Here was a wildly, fantastical story about a giant bunny who hides eggs filled with chocolate and toys. Why wouldn’t someone also think that a story about a man dying and then being raised from the dead, was equally fantastic? And why wouldn’t they somehow morph these two outlandish stories into one?
Santa Claus suffers the same fate as the Easter Bunny. It is an unbelievable story about a man who travels the world in one day, delivering presents. But it’s not just the story that’s the problem. It’s the fact that we, as parents, often go to great lengths to convince our kids that Santa is real. It is one very big, elaborate lie.
So Erik and I decided that we would not do Santa with Baby J. Yes, it’s because we want Christmas to be about celebrating the birth of Jesus, but it’s also because we never want to deliberately lie to our child. And we don’t want her to ever make the mental leap that if we lied about Santa then we must be lying about Jesus too.
Those are our reasons. That doesn’t mean, though, that we are Christmas killjoys. We still took J to see Santa. When she is older, we will tell her what he represents but won’t ever try to convince her that he is real or tell her that she needs to believe in him. (We’ll also warn her not to ruin it for the other kids!)
We still do Christmas trees and baked goods and caroling and presents. The whole shebang. We just don’t do Santa. We are working instead on building mutual trust. And that is something that is beneficial for all families, regardless of whether or not they are religious. Just something to think about…
And now I want to hear from you! Do you do Santa? Why or why not?
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