Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bah Humbug Santa

Okay, so I was tentative to write a post about my feelings about Santa... because quite frankly they aren't always happy feelings (but then I read this post & realized I am not alone)

I know, I know... I'm sure I'm in the minority of parents but I've got a couple issues with the jolly old man:

1. He gets all the credit for my hard work
2. Having to eventually explain about Santa
3. The whole "be good" or you don't get presents
4. The OBSESSION with Santa (especially since, for us, Christmas is a religious holiday)

But you know, I don't judge any other parents feelings about Santa. I get that Santa is part of what makes Christmas magical. I don't want to ruin that for my kiddos & I don't want them ruining it for others. So, we still do the Santa thing.

I'm just wondering, am I alone?
Any other parents out there not the biggest Santa fans?

What traditions do you guys do when it comes to Santa?


Jessica said...

Disclaimer- I'm not a parent.

Here's the thing- I love Santa. In my house we got gifts from my mom and grandmother, then one gift and our stockings from Santa. So, he didn't get full credit. And to be honest, I still believe in Santa. I say that despite the fact that I'm the one that fills the stockings nowadays. I don't remember when I found out that Santa isn't "real", but now I always think of him as more a representative of the spirit of Christmas, and in that way he's very real to me.

Yeah, I'm a goofball.

lindsey said...

I feel the same way sometimes. I try to teach the importance of Christ in Christmas. At this point Lily doesn't really understand what Christ did for us, just that he loves us and because of him we get to live with our Heavenly Father again. So I try to teach the spirit of giving, how Santa is so nice to give us presents and so are family members and we need to be happy and show that we love eachother. (still a hard concept, but much easier than the atonement for a 3 year old.) I also don't like lying to Lily so if she ever asks me if Santa is real I will probably tell her he is not.

PeaceLoveApplesauce said...

We do the Santa thing. But my kiddos aren't obsessed, so to say.. We see him in the mall and leave cookies out for him. My children know they are each allowed to ask Santa for one special gift. The rest comes from Mommy and Daddy! :)

Kristie said...

My kids are not obsessed. They don't really get Santa, cause we don't usually see him. I don't care if we do or don't see him.
I want to do more to remember the true meaning of the season, but it is hard when the kids are young. My parents even after we "knew" about Santa always included us in the planning. Sure we might have known what we were getting, but it was really fun to help my mom and figure out what my siblings might like.

Anonymous said...

Not big on santa either, mostly for the greedy greedy gimmies he seems to illicit from the kids. I'm working on a new tradition in my little family, the great snowman. Not sure how he will relate to santa, but there's little chance of kids saying the great snowman brings them presents. I blame it on my crazy love for snowmen that my son seems to have inherited as well.
merry christmas!!

Mike Kessler said...

I know I don't really count, but still: I remember when I was little and, at Christmas time, people were nice to each other and smiled a lot. Now they crowd into shopping malls and trample one another. I liked it better when people thought of Jesus when Christmas came, not so much Santa.

Anonymous said...

We definitely do the Santa thing. I don't know how we could do it without our own kids feeling left out and/or spoiling it for someone else. I don't put a lot of emphasis on it. Santa gets a few things that my son specifically asks for. The rest comes from us. My son already understands that Santa has helpers that include Mommy and Daddy. I don't try to steer him too far.

Jennie said...

Ok, I'm into mucho magic with my girls....Christmas should be super fun. I like sparkle and twinkle and sugar and all that jazz. I think any little thing that makes you feel warm and happy points you towards Christ. However, I seriously want to have a tight handle on the Santa thing because of the distraction it is from the true purpose of the holiday. We do Santa. And it's fun. But we decided right off the bat that there are rules governing the Jolly old soul's role in our Christmas. The biggest one is that he may not take over. We don't talk about him everyday. We don't really do the "be good 'cause Santa's watching" thing. Santa brings one surprise, stockings and sometimes his elves can squeeze in a "fix it ticket item" (a reused/refashioned item like the strollers I rescued from the dumpster in their presence last year)

The Zaugg Family said...

In our family we do things the European way and celebrate on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas morning we have a stocking with random things from Santa like socks, crayons, magazines, an orange, candy, etc. Santa would occasionally (by occasionally I mean once or twice) bring us things that were difficult to wrap like bikes and he would bring us our favorite cereal. So for us it was just something fun, but it didn't take over.

Emma said...

I am by no means religious but when I was little Christmas was always a time for family and being grateful of the lovely gifts we got. We did believe in Santa but none of our presents came from Santa (except the stocking which my Mum used to keep us in bed longer which really meant my bro and sis would come wake me up first and sit opening the little gifts in my bed til half 6 / 7am. Think my Mum was smarter than she made out!)
But I think Christmas is made into too big a retail thing now. Like I said I am not religious but I think the real meaning of christmas is being lost.
That and the fact yo can't see Santa's face. That freaks me out hehe. :)

Katie said...

I wanna see my sister Ashley chime in here - they don't do Santa with their kids.

I love many things about Santa. Like you said, he made Christmas magical for me, and I think I found out that he wasn't real young enough that I didn't feel cheated or embarrassed when I did find out.

Audra feels the same you do about Santa getting all the credit. But I think that when kids do realize that he isn't real and that you did all that stuff for them just so they can have a good experience, they think you are pretty cool too.

As for the lying....I am surprised how much it bugs me. I tell them about Santa and ask them what they want him to bring, but when they ask questions back, I really feel weird lying, and I try not to. Colin is definitely getting to the age where he won't believing much longer, and when he asks me questions I say, "What do YOU think?" He always offers his own magical explanation very quickly, so I kinda know he still WANTS to believe. However, I have been purposely a little more transparent with him so that he can easily "find out" when he is ready. Gabe already asks way more probing questions than Colin, so I am sure he will figure it out at a younger age.

I do try to balance the Santa obsession out. We make sure we act out the nativity every year, and we have FHE's where we talk about Christ and what we can do for others. It has been nice being in the primary presidency this year and seeing how every sharing time/singing time of month (and really of the year) has focused on Christ. Kids are definitely getting that important emphasis somewhere, even if they are bombarded with Santa other places.

When I looked at #3, I realized that I used to ALWAYS say that to Colin when he was little (grasping at straws), but I don't think I have said it once in the last couple of years. Yeah, that is definitely thing to dislike about Santa. What are you teaching kids with that threat?

Anyway, like I said, I want to see Ashley chime in - she has taught her kids not to ruin it for other kids, and from what I have seen, I think that her kids still think Christmas-time is pretty sweet. They even like Santa knowing that it is all fake. If you don't want to do Santa, I totally don't think you need to!

Ashley said...

Ahhhhhhhhh! I just wrote this really long comment and then it lost it!! I'll come back later and do it again :(

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

Love those cute pictures! My mom does one every year and makes us ornaments.

We've already talked about that my family does Santa. And I write this to explain why, not to try to change your views, because I totally believe we all do our own thing and that makes the world go round right? :)

Going along with your points:
-He doesnt get credit for my hard work since the gifts I make are from me and the one or two gifts from santa are store bought (no hard work, haha).
-I kinda relate it to Disneyland. Experiencing it as a kid was incredible and fun and now it's fun to relive the magic with my kids. Sure Disneyland is fun even if you know how the 'magic' works but it's WAY more fun (for me) to believe in it for a while.

-I'm not a fan of the "santa claus is watching be good' either but I do use it sometimes, cause I'm weak. Haha. But in that regard I randomly a version of this throughout the

-We try really hard to have several opportunities throughout the month to focus on the religious aspect as well (way more than anything santa we do). But I think it's also a safe way for schools to bring the topic of Christmas, a very religious holiday, into the classroom. While my daughter also talked about other religions holidays this month I can see it'd be easy for people to try to take Christmas out of schools.

Just out of curiosity is Easter a similar thing?

Good post Liv!! Such a good conversation topic.

Christie said...

I don't worry too much about it. I focus my efforts on making sure we do things focused on the real meaning of Christmas and let the Santa thing just kind of happen on its own. This is the first year my girls have sat on Santa's lap, actually, and that was just because we were there and it was their idea.
I loved the "magic" aspect of it and love to see them so excited now. They pick up ideas like setting out cookies from popular culture and we will be doing that this year because it's Elizabeth's idea. This morning she said "Santa's coming tomorrow!" and then asked "Is it real or pretend?" in a kinda concerned voice. I just said "What do you think?" and she said "REAL!" in a very happy voice. I think she was mostly concerned that she really is getting a bike after wanting one forever. As for "credit," um, I kinda think it's good for us not to get the credit.

Ashley said...

Before I begin, just know that I totally don't care if other families do Santa. Just like homeschooling, not doing Santa was Roy's idea and he eventually convinced me :)

We've always told our kids that Santa is a fun character (kinda like Mickey Mouse or Barney) but he is not a real person and does not bring presents to people. The past two years Rae has really wanted to believe Santa is real, but I know that she gets the logic and knows he can't really be real. Christmas is still really magical to them. They still go and sit on Santa's lap and are excited about his character. Also, I think they like knowing that mommy and daddy love them so much that they will bring presents to them. I definitely don't think they feel cheated in anyway because they didn't get to believe in Santa. Also, we've explained to them that other kids think he is a real person and how important it is to let them enjoy that and not ruin it for our friends and family.

When I was growing up we only got presents from Santa, not from my parents. I was kinda ticked some years when I thought it wasn't fair that kids that were kinda naughty got a lot better gifts than I did. And I was pretty ticked and embarrassed when I found out the truth about santa because I was pretty darn old and Aaron figured it out before me!

I really like being able to explain to my kids why they won't get a certain present they are asking for. This year Rae wanted a "Baby Alive" but I think it is a ridiculous toy and she already has a lot of dolls and it costs a lot for just one toy. So instead she is saving her money to buy it for herself and instead she is getting a much more practical item from us. (a scooter) Instead of telling our kids that they have to "be good" to get presents, it's nice to explain that they have to take good care of their toys and treat others with respect if they expect to get presents. I think that works with the Santa aspect too.

Oh, and one thing that I do feel strongly about is that parents shouldn't let their kids go too long with the whole believing in santa. If you are having to lie to them a whole lot to make them believe then it is time to give up the act :) But if they are making up explanations by themselves then I guess it is okay to let it go a bit longer, because they obviously still want to believe. Or maybe you can do what Rae is doing this year. She wants to know for sure if Santa is real, so she is asking HIM only for a Baby Alive. When she doesn't get it she'll know for sure.

My first comment was so much better. I feel like I've let something out, so maybe I'll come back later and add more.

Oh, and if this is something that really does bother you, not just something you've been thinking about lately - don't be afraid to just not do the whole santa thing. Christmas is still just as awesome and you won't be considered all that weird (unless you homeschool too - in that case you'll look loony) ;)

Holly said...

A bit late, but I couldn't not comment on such a hot topic, especially because I have some opinions of my own. I hate the fact that in order to do the Santa thing you have to lie to your children. I have always been the type of parent who does not lie to my kids. I have friends who tell their kids things like, "This restaurant doesn't serve dessert," and I think LAME! Just be honest! So the Santa thing bugs me about that. Also, the whole, "He knows if you are sleeping, he knows if you've been bad or good," etc., I hear that I think, that's not santa, that's GOD. And who is better to believe in? So as a parent, we don't talk much about Santa. We let the kids sit on his lap, if they want to, and we do stockings, but that's it as far as Santa goes. If one of my kids asked me if he was real, I think I'd say no. I just can't lie about it.