By: Revanche

Christmas 2017 and the question of Santa

November 8, 2017

Christmas 2017: Did you believe in Santa? We walked past some two foot tall Santas at Michael’s the other heat, loaded down with our fifty cent Halloween sticker packs, and JuggerBaby pointed at them. “Is short, mama!”

That got me thinking.

Did you believe in Santa?

Our parents, as relatively recent immigrants, celebrated Christmas when we were young, complete with the gifts from a “Santa”. It’s not clear why, maybe it was fun enough to do at the time because kids are cute when they’re little. It’d track with Christmas not being celebrated anymore after I was about 9 or 10 – we were a whole lot less cute once we hit the double digits. Or it could be because that’s when my parents launched their small business and were so wiped out that we stopped spending time together as a family.

Now, I don’t recall if I ever believed or if my brother helpfully disabused me of the notion so early I never believed in it. All I remember is that I’d get up on Christmas morning to the sounds of my cousins arriving on our apartment doorstep and leaping out of bed to peek under the tree, snickering at the box with my name on it labeled “from Santa”.  Santa, hah! That was clearly Mom’s handwriting! Obviously I don’t associate any magic with the idea of Santa.

JB will be close enough to 3 years old come Christmas that ze could probably understand the concept of Santa. But do I want to introduce the Big Lie? Definitely not for the sake of Santa pictures, JB would never stand for getting pictures taken on some stranger’s lap and I personally find the whole thing  a little creepy. Just for me, you understand. If asked to sit on some strange dude’s lap as a kid, I would have kicked everyone in the shins and run away. JB is very much my child on this point.

We’re not religious so there’s not that particular need to celebrate, we just enjoy the season and I always did even without believing in Jolly Old Saint Nick.

Did you have good memories of Christmas? How did your family celebrate?

Then there are the presents

PiC and I stopped exchanging Christmas gifts a few years into our relationship. Partly out of a need to be extremely frugal on my part, and partly because we didn’t feel the need to express our love through gifts. We show it in taking care of one another, supporting each other, the service type things. And hugs, lots of hugs.

With JuggerBaby, I find myself torn. We enjoy Christmas but for most people here, that means gifts. Small gifts are fine but I don’t want zir to get into an “expects gift” mentality like our American Christmases tend to do. (I say American because I haven’t witnessed the extreme levels of consumerism around Christmas anywhere else outside of this country.)

I like that ze isn’t obsessed with getting things. I like that ze can vault to Level 10 happy with the simple discovery that I picked up five lbs of “yittle oranges”. I like that we can explain, at the store, that ze has zir own tiny budget of $2 and ze takes the $2 gift with as much excitement and pleasure as other kids do their game systems. (It’s been a week, and ze is still happily clutching the $1 bucket and $1 pack of stickers ze isn’t allowed to open until Crafts Playdate.)

I don’t begrudge other kids $$$ gifts, that’s just not going to be the norm for JB and I want zir to be able to be just as happy with what we give or provide as part of our normal lives. Lifestyle deflation, y’all!

PLUS I don’t want to add to the clutter that thrives like an host of parasites feeding off a bloated host. Ok that was gross, but you know what I mean. Clutter accretes to us naturally as it is, I don’t need another occasion around which “getting more stuff” is centered. Give me a good food, and leftovers, holiday any day! Thanksgiving is problematic but I embrace the food that revolves around it. Easter is full of delectable goodies, too.

:: Religion and tradition aside, is there any good argument to be made for or against Santa? Do you feel strongly about it one way or the other?

14 Responses to “Christmas 2017 and the question of Santa”

  1. Dar says:

    We celebrate Christmas but try to keep it simple at home. We decided not to use the idea of Santa. I would never have believed how controversial this was. My kid was the only one in their daycare centre or school class who didn’t believe in Santa. The teachers and staff were worried that Link would tell the other kids there was no Santa, so I basically had to tell Link to not discuss it. Some daycare staff were so upset about a child not believing in Santa that they were in tears. They truly thought my child could not experience the joy of the season or the value of giving without Santa. To make sense of it all, we told Link that Santa was a historical figure and a myth, that he represented the spirit of giving, and that it was traditional to tell stories about Santa. So it was fine to tell stories and sing songs about Santa but he wasn’t real. I think some Christian families have a problem with this approach because they are afraid their kids will conclude Jesus isn’t real, either. Link did have some confusion about why other kids believed so strongly in Santa (and the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy) so we had evolving conversations over several years. At that time, we lived in an area where there were a few Jewish families but no other religious or cultural affiliations. I’m sure it would be different in a more diverse area. I suppose your choices will be put down to cultural or religious differences rather than choices.

    I have never regretted my choice and it is completely irrelevant to Link as an adult. I was inspired by a Jewish neighbour who once said to me, “I don’t agree with parents who deny their kids what they want and need all year, scrimp and save, and then have a big blow-out at Christmas, and give Santa the credit. What is wrong with buying your kids what they need when they need it throughout the year?”

    Good luck!
    Dar recently posted…Accounting for: OctoberMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Wow, that seems awfully dramatic! Widespread though it is, not all cultures have a tradition of Santa … it’s not that terrible.

      I also don’t agree with the idea of a blowout Christmas. If anything, this needs to be (for us) a time of celebrating what we value and that’s not STUFF.

  2. I believed in Santa until one of my classmates disabused me of the notion; I think I was eight. I remember going home and sobbing/yelling at my parent. It seems silly now, but at the time I felt like they had betrayed my trust.

    Neither my fiance nor I are big fans of Christmas, so I don’t think we’ll do Santa or presents. When we have kids, I’d like us to celebrate by choosing a charity to give to together and having a nice dinner with extended family, but that’s about it.
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    • Revanche says:

      That’s exactly the sort of thing I’d like to avoid – I don’t like the idea of directly lying to JB. But ze already understands “playing pretend” so we might borrow a page from blogging friend’s book and say that lots of people in the world play together at Christmastime to make fun for kids and it’s ok to believe if you want and it’s ok not to if you want to be in on the adult secret.

  3. I don’t remember ever believing in Santa, probably because I read a lot from a really young age and was raised Catholic so I knew about St. Nicholas and Christmas traditions around the world. I always thought of Santa like when the Trolley on Mr. Rogers goes to the land of make-believe. I’m fairly sure that DC1 never believed in Santa either. DC2 has had definite years of belief (following earlier years of questioning). We never say that Santa exists and when cross-examined (by DC1) many years ago, I told him that we’re not allowed to tell children whether he exists or not.

    Oddly, Santa only fills stockings at our place which means DC2 must REALLY like candy for this to be important and Santa to be so beloved.

    Re: Dar’s comment above, last year I asked DC2 if she believed various figures were real or pretend. Santa and the Easter Bunny both got “real” but Jesus got “pretend”.
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    • Revanche says:

      The land of make believe! I like that idea and it works well with JB’s interests. Ze is 100% into the old school Mr. Rogers. In color though, not black and white.

      I’m tickled by DC2’s choice of priorities there.

  4. We’ve always done Santa (it’s happy memories for Jon and I, and we enjoy the whole gift-giving thing), but the big present has always come from Mom and Dad, not Santa. Little Bit is savvy enough to ask why Santas brings game systems to some kids, but she just gets games and Legos. And for the last year, she’s been asking “Is Santa real or just your Dad?”

    Ah, Little Bit…Santa is NOT your dad. You asked the wrong question. 🙂

    I’ve gone with “Santa is real, but he gets help from your parents,” trying to explain without too much detail that Santa is the spirit of giving and inspires the parents to give a little more. But I suspect the “magic” is gone.

    • Revanche says:

      I like how y’all do gifts! And that’s funny that she hasn’t figured out how to phrase the question to get the truth 🙂

      She’ll understand the metaphorical “realness” of Santa later, you think?

  5. My brother and I were raised with the Santa story, but I have no idea when I first started to realize that it was just a story. It was pretty early, though, because I was at most six.

    We never really figured out how to handle this with Baguette; we have stockings, but we’ve never said much one way or the other about Santa.

    Our bigger issue is with presents. I grew up with lavish, gift-filled Christmases unlike anyone else I knew in our community. That was amazing as a child, but is overwhelming now. My side of the family still does those, and that’s fine, but they all want to know what Baguette wants. And I don’t even know what Baguette wants. Not only that, but when we identify something that interests her, we get it then, because we want to encourage her to engage with it (this does not mean we buy her everything she sees, but we do buy her too many things). It’s really hard to predict what she’ll like in six weeks or two months.

    • Revanche says:

      Ooof yes, that’s something I would have adored as a kid but definitely would not enjoy as an adult. Not least because as a kid I’d only be on the receiving end and not the financial and logistical end.

      I wonder if there’s a better thing to encourage them to get her that’s safe. Is clothing not safe? Or … gosh, camp funding maybe? I know it SEEMS boring but if she’d enjoy going to some sort of summer camp could that be a present? I’m all about practical gifts, always.

  6. eemusings says:

    I don’t think we ever did Santa. Nor Tooth Fair, Easter Bunny etc. Lived in an Asian country with Muslim majority until I was 8, so that wasn’t unusual. I have no idea how we’d tackle it here with kids.
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  7. Kris says:

    I’m a big fan of Santa and a big Christmas lover. I just am. Other countries, however, don’t associate Santa with bringing obscene amounts of gifts like in the US. Santa fills the stockings only in many cases, and not to overflowing either. Just something simple (can even be edible), and you also don’t have to overly push that Santa might be a real person. I do think it’s a source of joy, magic, and fun – but Christmas is my favorite holiday in the world. 🙂

    • Revanche says:

      I don’t have anything against Santa and the idea, but I do have a big something against the idea of directly lying. I’ve gotten some great ideas on how to make it be a possibility for JB to enjoy at zir own pace and timing now, so that helps!

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