Lately, Mike and I have had a lot of conversations with other parents about our decision to let our kids believe in Santa. For some parents, the decision to allow their kids to believe is a no brainer. It’s tradition, it’s what they did as kids themselves, and it goes without saying that they will share the same experience with their own children. For others, however, it’s a complicated issue that requires serious thought and consideration, with parents landing on both sides of the debate.
I feel pretty strongly about this issue, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you today. Who knows, you might be considering this very same questions too!
Where We Ended Up
I won’t keep you in any suspense. We are totally, 100%, unequivocally, on board with allowing our kids to believe in Santa.
Where I Started
I grew up not allowed to believe in Santa. We didn’t decorate with Santa decor, we didn’t set out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, and we certainly didn’t schedule a visit with the local Santa. Our childhood was filled with fun Christmas activities, Santa just wasn’t one of them.
Eventually, my peers and I all ended up on the same page. At some point everyone stopped “believing,” so the fact that Santa wasn’t a part of my Christmas traditions really only affected me for a brief period of time.
What I was left with, though, was the knowledge that I was not allowed to participate in something that is purely imaginary and fun.
Eventually we all grow up and discover the harsh realities that chip away at our childlike sense of magic and wonder, that is true for all of us. The difference is, how magical was your childhood?
The time in life where we get to believe in the impossible, the improbably, or the downright silly is so brief. I’m amazed every day at Theo’s imagination. One day he is a puppy, another day he is a lion and another day, inexplicably, a skunk. He pretends to be a truck driver, a “working man,” a cook and a musician. When he is in the midst of imaginary play he gives it his all. He believes with all his heart in the people and worlds that only he can see. It’s magical. It’s awe-inspiring. And It’s not forever.
Where We Are Going
For many people who are against the whole concept of Santa, I respect that their decision came from a desire to do what is best for their children. I would never doubt or criticize those wonderful, parental instincts. Especially because I know many of these parents are concerned with preserving a Christ centered holiday.
My caution, however, is to not get so focused on enforcing the things that don’t matter, that your kids can’t focus on what really does.
My husband and I know the reason for the season, and we’ve carved out special time throughout this season to share those reasons with our boys. But in reality, that is a year-long, life-long conversation, isn’t it?
Santa, then, is simply another fun, family tradition like baking cookies, writing christmas cards, Advent calendars and nativity sets. What’s more, it allows my already creative and imaginative children to believe in a kind, generous figure who can teach them a lot of wonderful lessons about giving and fun.
What We Do
I’m new at the whole Santa game, so we are still figuring out how this works. Honestly though, Theo just brought up Santa one day. He brought him up as if he would naturally be a part of our upcoming holiday season. And so he is.
We took Theo to sit on Santa’s lap and, surprisingly, my normally shy toddler hopped right up and made his requests without any hesitation. We sing our Christmas songs like “Up On the Housetop” and then move seamlessly into our Advent reading for the day, and then go work on our Christmas craft or treat. It all works together as part of this wonderful, magical time of year.
I’d say more, but I’ll leave it for now. I asked Santa over for a cup of coffee tonight to talk about my wish list for this year and I think I hear him now. Up on the rooftop and what not.