Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Santa Doesn't Visit Here Anymore

Warning: If Santa still visits your house, do not let the kids see this post.

We no longer do the Santa Claus thing. Earlier this year, my oldest son asked me if Santa Claus was real. In a split second I had to decide: do I keep the make-believe magic going, or do I answer truthfully? I figured that since he asked the question he must want the real answer. So, I chose my words very carefully, “Well, Santa Claus is a make-believe character for little children.  He was probably based on a real person, but the character of Santa Claus in the red suit is make-believe.” He didn't seem upset or surprised. In fact, I suspect he was trying to corroborate what one of his friends told him. All he said was, “Oh, okay.”

Whether his question was prompted by his own curiosity or a friend's comment doesn't matter to me. I am kind of relieved that Santa won't be visiting our house again. Why? Late in September we had a family meeting and we told the boys that because daddy was out of work, Christmas would be a little leaner this year - meaning there wouldn't be as many presents under the tree. I don't think it mattered to my youngest son because I don't think he ever understood the concept of Santa Claus, or Christmas for that matter. My oldest son got it. I'm not saying it's going to be easy for him; deep down, I think he still wants to believe in Santa Claus. But...

If he had woken up on Christmas morning and saw fewer presents under the tree, he probably would have wondered what he had done wrong. I can relate to that. As a kid growing up poor, I remember many Christmases where there was maybe a book of LifeSavers under the tree. Why did Santa give toys and goodies to other kids but not to me? Disappointed doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. I am not against make-believe, but I wonder if the idea of Santa Claus creates unrealistic expectations for children, puts undue pressure on the parents, and distorts the meaning of Christmas. (Maybe, just a little.)

This year, the boys will have two or three nice presents under the tree, plus goodies in their stocking. This year I think we're starting a new tradition of less is more. I'm okay with that. After all, Santa Claus, the tree, and the presents are not what Christmas is all about. At least, they're not what Christmas is supposed to be about.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)


  1. We have also had the talk about fewer items this year. Julia asked me about an item she wanted and I said I wasn't sure because it was soooo expensive. She said that she would ask Santa because it would be free. It made me chuckle. Santa will come to visit us this year I think he will just bring a few less items. I have freinds who give their children 3 gifts representing the 3 gifts that the wisemen presented the baby Jesus. I like that, but I think I'll wait on that one until they are older.

  2. I've thought about the 3 gifts, too. That may be all they get this year. It depends on the sales. :-)



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