An Issue with Santa

I grew up believing in the magic of Santa Clause. Seeing the empty plate of cookies on Christmas morning sent my mind spinning.  Finding gifts wrapped and tagged with ‘from Santa’ was like a treasure hunt.  But then I got older and found my parents finishing up Santa’s “magic” one Christmas morning.  For years after that I continued to receive gifts from ‘Santa.’  I thought it was silly. It wasn’t fun anymore, either.

I grew up hearing all about the “true meaning of Christmas.” Church always talked about it and then my mom liked to read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve – right before setting out a plate of cookies for, um, a figment of our imaginations (who was entirely to real for my younger brothers).

The message is confusing.

Let’s write letters to Santa Clause and ask him to bring you everything you want!  But remember, Jesus is why we celebrate!

Oh wow!  Look at all the gifts Santa brought you!  But remember, it’s about Baby Jesus. 

As a kid what were you more concerned with?  Santa or Jesus? I can tell you I was always more concerned with getting the goods from Santa.  Or from my parents.  Or from whoever else would buy me something.  Anything.  Me-me-me. Want-want-want. I-I-I. Jesus was secondary. A cute little baby in the pretty manger scene set we put up every year.

This mentality continues to be a struggle for me. I find myself getting excited about how many presents will appear under the tree for the kids.  (And this year we do have some big ones.) And, true to form, I’m slightly concerned about which gifts will have my name on them.  It seems to be trending to “buy less” for Christmas. I don’t like trends all that much. Especially when I have followed this particular trend for the past 6 years because I simply couldn’t afford otherwise. But it’s not a bad trend to have going around.  Perhaps we will join in next year.

Michael still plays with this!

Michael still plays with this!

Through teaching my kids I am learning that we give gifts to each other because we love each other.  A gift out of obligation or anything other than love shouldn’t be given.  That’s not the point. The point is that God gave me a gift. He wasn’t obligated.  I haven’t done anything to earn it, either.  He gave it to me anyways.  Because he loves me.  

God should be the hero for this holiday instead of something someone made up somewhere. Wouldn’t the injustice just piss you off if you were God? He gives us the greatest gift we could ever receive and in turn we worship a story book character.  Yes, worship. When our kids sit on Santa’s lap to ask for their presents, we are putting Santa above God. When we help our kids write letters to Santa, we are putting Santa above God. When we are laying out cookies on Christmas Eve, well…

We can’t have two gods. We can’t celebrate one story without taking away from the other. Setting out Santa cookies then reading the Christmas story is a confusing message for our kids.

Last night Mr. Sexy and Michael had a talk about Santa. Apparently the Others use Santa (and their religion but thats not for today) as a scary, manipulative tool. They threaten Michael: “If you don’t behave, we will write Santa a letter telling him not to bring you any presents.”  (Disclaimer: We haven’t entertained the idea of Santa being real at our house for the past three years so this conversation isn’t abnormal.) Michael was upset about being lied to about the whole thing.  Whatever.  He’ll get over it.

But then a half hour went by and Michael blurted out, “Jesus is NOT a lie!” It was as if he had to make sure that yet another truth wasn’t being broken. He was reassured, of course, that Jesus is definitely real.

Can you see where I’m coming from? I’ve just got an issue with Santa and the pedestal society puts him on. Christmas isn’t about him.  It’s about God and His free gift to us. We can be naughty and He will still give us salvation! Isn’t that just amazing? Why do we have the need to take away from that and focus on the imaginary?

IMG_0097Now, if you are someone who does all the Santa stuff I am not meaning any offense.  Santa is very fun and I get that. All my kids have sat on his lap and cried the whole time too! For many, Santa is part of tradition.  I get that too. I have a santa wall decoration hanging in our living room.  Santa does have benefits.  And for those who don’t know Jesus, Santa might be a good place to turn to. All this to say, my convictions don’t have to belong to anybody else.  I’m not the first person to have these ideas.  It’s just the first time for me, that’s all.

This year we are not visiting Santa.  Santa won’t be visiting us.  We get to eat ALL our Christmas cookies! We will continue with our traditions of stocking stuffers and the tree – even though I don’t know exactly why those traditions exist. We are also going to try mixing in some new ways with the old ways.  For instance, after we read the Christmas story, we will act it out.  We have also started this new thing where the kids buy each other gifts AND buy Mr. Sexy and I gifts. Simply because they love us.  Like Jesus loves them.

 

Isn’t the point of Christmas to love each other like God loves us?

 

 

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

 

 

 
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20 thoughts on “An Issue with Santa

    • It’s definitely not a black and white issue. It seems the older I get the more I realize that MY way doesn’t have to be THEIR way too. But I’m happy with how we decided to do Christmas. I hope to continue and not get lazy in my beliefs. 🙂

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  1. There was never a gift under our tree from Santa. Every gift was from Mama and Daddy. We didn’t “believe” in Santa, but we loved and believed in Jesus. I struggle with some of your same thoughts about Santa.

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    • It’s not an eternal issue. I used to attend a church who as a congregation wouldn’t preach on issues that were non-eternal. I actually struggle with that mentality when it’s coming from a pastor but friend to friend, I think it has some merit. So celebrate santa or not. As long as our heart belongs to Jesus right?

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  2. I think my parents and grandparents did a good job of combining the two. I always thought that Santa’s belief in the Christ child was the motivation behind his leaving gifts for others. I instilled that same though process in my girls and they still believe that the magic and giving of Santa is related to his belief in Jesus. 🙂 Love this post!

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  3. We don’t do Santa either. My parents didn’t and I didn’t feel like I missed anything at all. We do tell our kids that it’s a game other families play, and it would be mean to spoil it for them. Other than that, we rarely talk about Santa at all. There is plenty of magic in Christmas as it is!

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    • I really like how you tell your kids how to not spoil the fun for others. Michael told me he has tell his little sister at his other house about Santa and I didn’t know what to tell him. lol But now I have an idea. Thanks!

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  4. I so totally get where you are coming from. When my boys were growing up they knew the reason for Christmas was the birth of Christ. We read the story, went to church, celebrated it as Jesus birthday. BUT Santa also was part of our festivities. Just because it was fun. And they knew who the REAL Santa was. Same with my grandchildren, although we are now more involved in the church then back then. I say it is okay to have a balance of both.

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  5. I can completely understand the confusion around Christmas and Santa Claus. I too sometimes feel we get to wrapped up in the myth side and forget that Jesus is the reason for the season.

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  6. We’ve never done Santa giving presents with our small people, precisely for the reason of not wanting them to be confused about the reason for Christmas. I have taught them about who St. Nicholas really was and how that relates to Christmas.

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  7. We always did ‘Santa’ when our children were growing up. I still love the whole ‘Santa’ thing, but I do understand your point. Our oldest son and his wife have chosen not to do the ‘Santa’ thing with their children. It makes for some awkward situations within the family since our other two children do the ‘Santa’ thing with their children.

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  8. I think you raise a very good point. It can be confusing for kids. My kids will donate to charity this year, they will perform their Sunday School pageant that proclaims Jesus is the Reason for the Season, they aren’t doing Santa lists this year because they got too greedy, but there will be a plate of cookie put out and reindeer food sprinkled on the lawn. Christmas morning the Bible Story of Jesus birth will be read Before Anything Else and daddy will lead us in prayer.

    Because I think you can combine the two — if you do it, and explain it right. Because “Santa” actually WAS a real person. A person of big love and generous heart who gave unto others. Who protected children. There really was a person who gave unselfishly to those who had little, or nothing. Just as God commanded us to do “the least” for one another. And that is what we promote in our house. Jesus taught us first, and this “Santa” person (my kids know that our version of Santa is based upon the real person St. Nicholas of Myra) puts those teachings into action. Now my kids are still “Believers” at this point – although I suspect my 10 year old is just pretending so that he will still get a gift. But my husband and I have a plan that when the question is raised “is Santa real”, and/or “why did you lie” – our answer will be: to teach you to give out of love. From your heart. to be generous of your time for others. And yes, your money. All the things that Jesus commanded us to do. He’s STILL the reason. He is STILL the example. And now that you know, it’s your job to do be a Jesus Helper, just like Santa was. See St Nicholas lived his whole life as an example of how to love God and how to take care of one another. And that’s why we don’t mind adding him into our holiday.

    but the crass commercialism that surrounds him? that we stay away from as much as possible. which is why we did abandon the Santa Gimme Gimme List tradition, and the visit to his lap. My kids have to donate to a charity instead.

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