Saturday, December 23, 2006

“Santa endures…(but) lessens meaning of Christmas”

(Let me preface this by a similar disclaimer as Lisa used a few weeks ago…I’m simply thinking honestly aloud, following my heart and my spirit with reference to this topic. I in no way mean to offend or condemn. We have felt convicted in this area but in no means are we judging those that have chosen to do otherwise…)

this article interesting, thought provoking, and worrisome all at the same time! LOL I know this issue has already made the rounds of the blogs I frequent (particularly Everyday Mommy’s To Santa or Not to Santa) but I have been the single voice (as far as I know) on the MSN message board I frequent daily who has chosen to not introduce Santa in our home. So, I have been muddling over this even more.

As I wrote at MSN the other day…”OK, I guess I'll be the dissenting opinion. We don't "do" Santa, nor Halloween, nor Easter Bunny, nor Tooth Fairy. Our faith is the reason. I understand history of St. Nicholas but our denomination doesn't emphasize traditional saints. I understand that many of our Christmas traditions are rooted in pagan beliefs but we're now trying to focus on the coming of Jesus not the coming of Santa. And, since we're not allowed to talk religion, I'll drop it there before someone complains. Respectfully, there's plenty of "magic" for kids to discover without manufacturing more and lying to them.”

The other MSN moms (a mix of the spectrum of liberal to conservative, Christian to atheist) felt that Santa did not necessarily equate with commercialism nor take away from any religious significance of the holiday. The poll in this article seems to argue otherwise. According to this source, 47% of the respondents felt that the Santa Claus tradition detracts from the religious significance of the holiday.

Also, I found it interesting that “Santa is important to 60 percent of Catholics, 51 percent of those without a religious affiliation and 47 percent of Protestants, when households both with and without children are surveyed.” Wait! Santa is more important to non-religiously-affiliated folks than to Protestants!? LOL For some reason, I find that funny!

But, what ultimately concerned me were sentiments like…

Reaching deep into memory, Margaret Klumpp, 88, of Windsor, N.Y., recalled hiding her Santa doubts from her parents... Now she sees Santa through the eyes of five great-grandchildren, the oldest 6, and considers him a complement to the Christian celebration…"When you are a little child you go to Santa and after that you move over to Jesus," she said. "I think it kind of goes together."

You go to Santa and move over to Jesus?? Ouch! If a child is capable of understanding and grasping the intangible concept behind Santa – a loving and unseen benefactor - would it not be better time spent laying the foundation for a belief in Jesus in an age-appropriate way?

And, not to sound harsh, I guess in my heart of hearts I don’t feel like the “Santa magic” of being little is worth the moment when my little Vikings look at me devastated, realizing that adults (including their parents, pastors, grandparents, etc.) have been lying to them for years. Isn’t there enough “magic” in the world through the miracles, wonders, and creation of God to sustain that childhood state of grace enough to fight off the invasion of the world’s values for just as long?

While the decision has been made in the household, I’m still searching for peace and strength about it as it has been repeatedly challenged these last few weeks…


sara said...

My own feeling is that I can't justify lying to my kids. I think I'm just not going to make a big deal out of it until one of them asks and then I'll explain the historical person and leave it at that. I think there is enough of the miraculous in being a Christian that I don't feel the need to make stuff up.

What's been wonderful is that my unsaved husband and sister-in-law agree with me. My husband just doesn't feel that strongly about Santa and thinks it's kind of a silly tradition and so will go along with my wishes in this case. My SIL says that she would have a hard time lying about it if a child asked her. They both claim not to have any hard feelings toward their elders who lied (is that too harsh a word?) to them but simply wondered as children why all the fuss and deception.

I agree with you about not judging those believers who have decided otherwise - it's just not that big a deal to me.

Kari Murphy said...

It's been easier as my girls have been getting older. I have also noticed that everyone seems to be in their own little world this year, though. While my girls have been asked dozens of times in years past what Santa's going to bring them, or been reminded that "Santa's watching" (oh, my eldest hates that!)...I don't think anyone has said anything like that at all this year.

My parents are *over* trying to convince us we're going to ruin our girls' lives and my in-laws totally support our decision.

I'm going to click over and read that article!

Oh - and there's no bunny, tooth fairy, etc. around here either. We don't even read books with fairy godmothers, magic, etc. at this point.

Merry Christmas to you!

Unashamed said...

As a priest and bishop, Saint Nicholas (the historic St. Nicholas, that is) put Jesus Christ at the centre of his life and ministry. He had a particular concern for children and those in need, and I think he would be horrified that his namesake is being used to distract from Jesus, the source of true caring and compassion.

That being said, "Santa", (whom my children know and have always known is just mum and dad) puts a couple of treats in their stockings. It's not a deception, it's just a fun little tradition.

Blessed Christmas, Beth.

Beth said...

Anita - how do you get your little ones to differentiate between the "Santa culture" they see all around them this time of year and the virtues of St. Nick? Do you tell them that those little gifts honor the spirit and mission of the real man?

shortybear said...

Wishing your family a very blessed Christmas.

Lisa said...

I think that you are totally on the right track! We tried half-heartedly to do Santa when Wyatt was little, and he never got into it. Santa terrified him as a young child and we've always placed the emphasis on Christ's birth. I think that you and your hubby are doing a wonderful job raising those darling children that our Lord has entrusted to you. Keep up the good work!!

Merry Christmas!
Lisa :-)

Debbie said...

I wanted to comment on this when you first posted, but I haven't had time. We don't do Santa in my home either. We did until my husband and I became born again. At that time, my daughter was about 4. We immediately began to teach her about the birth of Jesus and no longer practiced Santa. She was fine, it was the adults that couldn't handle it! :(
We had the same problem with Halloween, Easter, tooth fairy, etc. But we held fast and she is had developed into a wonderful 20 year old who respects us as parent for our convictions and she hasn't suffered because of it. We never tried to force our convictions on anyone else, but you would think so by some of their actions. By the grace Of God, we continue to celebrate Christmas as a Christian Holiday and our boys are being trained this way as well.
I would like to add more, but I need to go to bed! :)

JD said...

I was a child who believed in Jesus and Santa, too. When I found out Santa wasn't real, I was confused for a while because I thought Santa was related to the celebration of Jesus' birth. We don't have children yet, but we think we'll do the same thing you do.