I grew up with Santa. It was awesome. I would go to bed on Christams Eve after listening to my dad read "The Night Before Christmas" and setting out cookies and milk for santa and of course carrots for the reindeer. There were presents under the tree, but only a few. Then, I would wake up at the great hour of about 5am and burst out into our living room to see the most wonderous thing I could imagine. Presents, perfectly wrapped placed neatly under the tree. Often there was a "big ticket" toy assembled for me with a bow or ribbon on it. God bless my parents for those late night assemblies. Once it was a motorized Barbie Jeep, once it was a bike and once it was a baby doll crib. I would patiently stare at the presents until a semi-reasonable hour and then proceed to jump on my poor, sleeping and exhausted, parents and literally drag my older brothers out of their beds by their foot with the proclamation that "Santa came! Santa came!!" It was more magical than a unicorn jumping on a cloud of cotton candy pooping sprinkles and glitter. I have absolutely no idea how my parents pulled that level of amazing off each and every year but they always did. Kudos mom and dad.
It would seem natural with such fantastic memories of Christmas and good ol' St. Nick that I would be taking that wrapping paper baton from my parents and carrying on our traditions. Well, I am...but I'm not.
When I tell people we don't "do" Santa they gasp in horror as if I have just drop kicked a puppy right in front of them. "But your children will miss out on all of the magic of Christmas!" "Why would you ruin their childhoods?!" "How mean of you!" they cry.
I promise I am not ruining my children. When we first had children, and even before, the topic of mythical holiday creatures had come up. Kenny and I grew up very differently in respects to these creatures. I had the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus but he didn't. I was fine with not doing the Easter bunny, although I will miss not carrying on my parent's tradition of creating bunny tracks with baby powder. I was also all for nixing the tooth fairy. That one is just plain annoying. Trying to keep a stash of cash in the house at all times in case of a loose tooth just sounds like too much bother. Then came the subject of Santa. Santa was mine. I loved Santa. No way was I giving him up. Kenny felt rather differently. It had been a point of disagreement for years between us but it's never really been much of an issue because our kids are so little. I have given it much thought and I have agreed to let go of Santa, but not completely.
When I say we don't "do" Santa. What I mean is I will not be telling my children that Santa is watching them from the North Pole. He does not send little
I will tell them about the real reason we celebrate Christmas. It is because long ago a very special baby was born in a very un-spectacular way. Tucked away in a straw littered stable, under the watchful eye of farm animals and without fanfare baby Jesus was born. They will know this happy day for it's true meaning. They will know we are filled with joy not at the presents we received because we were "good" all year long and didn't touch the elf, but because we are overjoyed the Savior was born to save us.
When my kids eventually ask, "Is Santa real?" I will tell them the truth:
No, Santa the person is not real. The magic, and his spirit is though. There are real Santa's all over the Earth. Santa's who delight in giving, Santa's who help those in need, Santa's who spread love, peace and good cheer wherever they go. Santa's who make miracles happen. They just aren't always dressed in red with a belly like a big bowl of jelly. Sometimes they are your mom and dad, or a complete stranger.
Thankfully the kiddos are still so little they have absolutely no idea. We still have a few years and I know they won't be able to comprehend much of this for even longer. Still, even as an adult I know Santa isn't real, but that doesn't mean I don't believe. So when I say we don't do Santa, please don't look at me like I'm an axe murder. There will still be magic, there will still be joy, there will still be all of the amazing traditions. They will not be ruined, they will not miss out and they will not feel cheated. Conversely, I hope they will grow up to know the joy of giving, the value of love and the true meaning of Christmas.