Friday, December 17, 2010

A Christmas Balance

I have read several different blogs where the parents are not teaching their kids about Santa Claus. I admit they all have valid reasons, but honestly I just dont get how it is harmful. Until I read blogs I never even knew that people didn't think teaching their kids about Santa was a good idea.

I grew up believing in Santa. I was not traumatized at all when I learned that he isn't real. I didn't feel like my parents had lied to me or deceived me in any way. I was actually pretty irritated with my brother because he was younger than me and had decided that Santa wasn't real. As the older sister I had no choice but to agree with him or look like a baby in his eyes (which honestly was VERY important at the time!). But I was upset because I wanted to still believe, not because I felt like I had been lied too.

I do admit to not growing up in the most religious household. My parents are not atheisist, my mom was raised Catholic (although my dad is more agnostic), but they did not honestly focus on Jesus' birth as the reason for the holiday. I *knew* the reason, that much was taught to me. And I knew Christmas was about giving and doing kind things for others, not simply about the list I could write to Santa. But we didn't attend church or set up a nativity in our house (although the nativity came when I was older). I went to CCD and learned about the season, but it wasn't until I taught first grade at a Catholic school that I really taught myself the real meaning of the season and thought about it and concentrated on it. So I am trying to do better with my kids. I am NOT saying my parents did a bad job, not at all! But I want my kids to have religion talked about at home as well as at CCD (and this year at school for Madeline).

I guess my point is that I believe you can honestly have a happy balance of the Christ in Christmas and the Santa in Christmas. I don't think it is an either/or decision. I don't think that my kids will grow up with less respect and knowledge for the season because I allowed (okay, honestly I encourage) their belief in Santa. It is magical and I don't want to take that away from my kids. I do not fear that they will be traumatized when they are older. My only fear is that when they get older Madeline will not allow Ben to believe when she learns the truth. I am hopeful we can teach her to allow him the same magic that she had.

But I am also trying very hard to teach them about the real meaning of the season. And that is one reason we do daily advent activities. We don't read from the bible each day, but many of our activities are about giving to others (making cookies to share with others, making ornaments as gifts, making bird feeders to put outside, donating toys for kids who do not have as much as we do, putting money into the Salvation Army bucket outside the store) and learning about the reason for the season (reading the nativity story, going to A Night in Bethlemham at our parish, attending church as a family, going to Madeline's scholl Christmas show- an actual Christmas show as she is in a Catholic school for this year at least).

There is the chance that I am wrong. I get that. But in everything I do with my kids, although I try my hardest, there is the chance that I will be wrong. That is part of being a parent. But after reading what others have to say (and it is interesting and made me think hard about the choices Jon and I make) I can honestly say I think I can allow my kids to have Santa in their lives and still teach them the real meaning of the season.

What do you think?

1 comment:

SuperMom Blues said...

I actually wrote about this myself yesterday!! I love that my kids believe in Santa. I also love to tell them the real story of Saint Nicholas. I'm not Catholic, but I love his story.

I also think that Santa teaches our kids about the good in Christmas. As long as we're not buying into the media frenzy and all that, there is not only no harm in it, there's a lot of GOOD in it!

Great post!