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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Santa? I Know Him!

Josh and I have decided from the beginning of our relationship that we were going to parent a little differently than most parents we know.

We decided that we're not going to have Santa at our house. Or the Elf on the Shelf.

We don't mean to imply that anyone to does have Santa is wrong, and we aren't judging at all.

I had an ethics class one time where the professor asked if telling children about Santa is a lie. Everyone in the class answered but the professor wouldn't give his opinion. He said the first day that he wouldn't give any of his own opinions until the last day of the class and then we could ask him whatever we wanted. I made sure I wrote reminders down to ask him what his opinion was on the last day, and I did.

He told me that it isn't a lie, it's a cultural tradition. Parents have told their children about Santa for hundreds of years.

Thomas Nast's Santa Claus

Studies have been done that prove that children are not harmed by being lied to by their parents for the sake of Christmas. (That link is to Wikipedia, but click on the sources links if you want more solid references.) Children understand that their parents didn't make up the lie, but that everyone goes along with it.

Historical side note: Thomas Nast is the creator of the Santa we know today. If you don't read anything else, read that. It is a post from 2008 that still kind of makes me laugh. I like history though, so you might not think it's so funny.

Being that Josh and I are both history nerds (I'm an official Historian. I get a lot of crap for that at home.) we plan to teach SuperBaby and future children of ours the history of Santa. Including the Spirit of Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and all the other traditions that go along with Christmas. Most importantly to us, the birth of Jesus.

We are also going to make sure our children know the importance of not ruining the season for other children. Just because we don't believe, doesn't mean that we should take that away from other families.  I'm not going to go screaming from rooftops or anything "Keep the Christ in Christmas" because it is up to each of us to do whatever we want for the Christmas season.

I still plan to enjoy Christmas movies (ummm helloooo Home Alone, Elf, and for some reason I feel like all the Harry Potter's are Christmas-like) and music and all of the other things we do to celebrate. We have a tree, and exchange gifts. We just won't have Santa coming down our non-existent chimney on Christmas Eve.

What is your opinion? Really. I'm asking for it.

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18 comments:

  1. I think each family has the option to do what they want. But I also think there should be some flexibility should you feel differently once the baby arrives. I think there are things that we swear we aren't going to do as parents but then when time comes, we end up doing.

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    1. I think everything we have planned includes the flexibility clause. I know life isn't going to stay the same and I will probably not feel the same. I also have no problem admitting it, so watch for a future post about how we're a Santa Family. :)

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    2. Things in swore I wouldn't do...let jack wear a peter pan collar. About to eat my words. Obviously very minor but you know lol

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    3. I swore I would never tuck my pants into my boots and now I'm begging for a pair of boots. It happens. :)

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    4. Jesus or Yaw was not born on christmas and they did not pronounce the J sound until later on, so christmas comes from a pagan holiday...but was adopted as the birth of Christ for Christian believers I think Jeremiah chapter 10 sums it all up. I grew up in a strict spiritual upbringing where saturdays was the sabbath day because ceasar changed the time and days..meaning the seventh day is actually saturday and the start of a new day was sunset so as you can see history has not always been accurate, but now that I'm a mom ... I do all the holidays for my kids for me I kinda wish they were celebrated on a day before or after the day of pagans worship but I agree that it is more so a custom and part of being american, for xample helps our economy. Just not so sure how our Father in heaven views them based on the Bible and what he says there about them... so its conflicting to say the least but I have been on board every year anyhow....great post!

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  2. I've given this a lot of thought so here is my take away from all of this. Bear with me. Granted this is just how we have chosen to celebrate and I think everyone has to do what they feel is right for their family.

    Our choice is to have Santa but not to let him be the focus of Christmas. We'll teach our child that St. Nicholas was a real person. He was kind, generous and he dedicated his life and fortune to serving those around him. Above all he was a follower of Christ and he spread the love of God to those around him. He is not someone to be worshiped but he is a great role model of what we should be doing as Christians. We might do the elf because he's silly and fun but I don't want the theme of him to be tattling on our bad deeds to Santa because Santa doesn't judge our behavior. Our actions are first and foremost to be pleasing to God.

    So we will have Santa because he represents a spirit and a lifestyle that I can get on board with. And we'll have an advent calendar and read a scripture a night to prepare our hearts. We'll pack boxes for Opperation Christmas Child and donate to Toys for Tots. We will do our best to keep a spirit of worship and giving during the season and not be swept up with consumerism. We won't go crazy buying presents. I've heard a lot of Chritian families do three gifts each to represent the ones brought by the three wise men and I like that idea.

    So we'll have all of the above but we'll try to keep our focus on the right things.

    Novel over. You get a cookie if you read all of that.

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    1. I love this comment. Thanks for putting so much thought into it.

      I have heard of the idea of three gifts. I think I saw one on pin that was four gifts: one thing they need, one thing they want, one thing that represents something, and one thing that represents something else. Obviously I didn't pin it and can't remember.

      Josh and I are on the same page with not bombarding our kids with gifts (because we don't want to, and also can't really afford to), but our parents are going to be the worst. Both of our moms are SUPER into Santa and gifts. Somehow, this wasn't passed on to us.

      What you wrote in the second paragraph is really what I was trying to say with this whole post. We're going to teach about the life of St. Nicholas and what he did.

      I should have had you write this post. I think you summed it all up better than I did.

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  3. My husband and I unfortunately disagree on the whole Santa thing. He wants to tell our children that Santa is real. I, on the other hand, do not want to lie to my children and would prefer to teach them about St. Nicholas. Lets face it, Santa isn't real. I want my children to know about the spirit of Christmas and giving. Its not all about receiving presents. In the end, we have an agreement....the MINUTE our child asks if Santa is real, we will tell them the truth. Until then, we will let them enjoy what they themselves believe.

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    1. That sounds like a good compromise! I hadn't thought about it before Josh mentioned it to me years ago, but once we talked and I thought about it, I agreed with him.

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  4. You are not alone. My good friend does not celebrate Santa with her kids. She told them who he is but that's about it. I'm also leaning towards the no Santa thing.

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  5. Jesus wasn't born on Dec. 25th.

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    1. Based on the evidence presented in scripture, it would most likely would have been sometime in September. December 25th was chosen by the Romans to coincide with the pagan festival of the winter solstice.

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  6. We actually have a tradition I grew up with celebrating St. Nicholas on Dec 6. Mostly because he was real and did a lot for the needy and children. We tell the kids that's where Santa originated from and they know his story. Since they are of an age of understanding now we tell him St. Nick's story and why presents come then. So while we do have "santa" come to the house, they know he was a man and it's his Spirit that is celebrated because he was a great Christian, and held the values that many Christians forget through out the year. That way Christmas they know that the birth of Christ is the most important and celebrating the generosity of others, as well as kindness and helping those in need. When it comes to gifts, the boys don't get too many. We do however have them go through all their toys and donate them to children who are less fortunate. That way they can contribute in a way St. Nicholas would have, and it's also a good Christian thing to do. If I weren't so close to my DD I would take them this year to a food bank or soup kitchen as well to help out.

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    1. I love everything about this. I hope that I can raise our family this exact same way.

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  7. I grew up not believing in Santa and I married a man who did. I would have to say that I can see a big difference in the way we celebrate Christmas between our families. His family is still all about the gifts. They over do it and I often feel like it's a competition to see who can spend the most. His mother still buys the children, myself included, gifts addressed from Santa. I am greatful that they want to give but, to be honest, it is very stressful trying to figure out what to do for each person. Not only that, but I always feel that they are disappointed by the small amount of money that we spent on them when they spent a lot on us. My family, on the other side, don't really do gifts and I am perfectly fine with that. We see it as a time to spend with family. We just go to be together and "Eat, drink, and be marry!" Isn't that how the saying goes? I'm just saying that I can't help but wonder if the way we were raised has brought us to where we are now in our families and celebrating Christmas and what value out of it: things or time with family.

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    1. Every time Josh and I discuss Santa I bring you up. You're the only person I've ever known who didn't have Santa, and I love you, so it can't be a bad thing. :) We definitely want to raise our children to value time with one another over things. Our moms are going to have a really hard time going with it, but we're going to make it work.

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