Sunday, November 27, 2005

Yes, Ethan, there is a Santa Claus

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I've always struggled with the whole Santa Claus myth. Is there? Isn't there? How old should kids hang on to the belief? Is it unfair to take away the magic of Christmas by exposing Santa Claus?

When my oldest two children were old enough to understand that money had a value attached to it, I thought it was time to explain why on Christmas morning Santa failed to bring every single toy or item on their multi-paged lists on. It was easy enough. I told them that Santa made and delivered the gifts, but those gifts did not come without a price tag. I had to pay Santa for the gifts. I also explained that Santa had a lot of elves and reindeer to feed, and the North Pole was a huge responsiblity for Santa, and he needed our help. The money that I paid Santa helped to make sure that he could make his yearly trip around the world. This also helped to explain why some children in their classes got nothing for Christams. Nothing.

Many of my peers criticized my methods, and voiced their opinion, with quite a bit of enthusiasm, that I was killing the spirit of Christmas for my children. I didn't think so. In fact, I thought I was doing the exact opposite. Would Santa really be so cruel that he would fly right over the homes of the poor children? Is it possible that the children with the nicest homes, in the nicest neighborhoods, were the only "good" children. If not, then why were they the ones with the most presents under their trees. The entire only "good" children get presents from Santa is the biggest lie of all. Doesn't this teach our children that only those with money are good? What a shameful lesson!

As my children grew, I made certain that they understood the true spirit of Christmas was the act of giving, especially to your community. I am alrady teaching Ethan that Santa can't do all he does without our help. This year I plan to explain to him that sometimes Santa needs us to help deliver toys to the children who have no money for toys. Next weekend, we will pick a child's name from the Angel tree and then pick some gifts out for that child. It's not a huge gesture, but it will teach Ethan that even Santa Claus can't do it all, and that it takes the whole world to make Christmas special.

Yes, Ethan, there is a Santa. But like everyone else in the world, he also needs a little help from his friends.

dena at 6:51 PM



at 7:52 PM Blogger Sonia said...

Hello Dena!
I am here sent from Michelle, but I visited your blog some days ago! Great coincidence!
Love your blog!

at 7:59 PM Blogger YellowRose said...

I love doing The Angel Tree!! What a great way to share Christmas joy!!

Here via Michele's!

at 8:26 PM Blogger Sue Richards said...

Michelle did you know what.

Santa photo's are sooooo ho ho ho.

Calendar Girl

at 8:37 PM Blogger Carmen said...

Hi, Dena. Here via Michele tonight, but I usually stop by all on my own.

Good for you on teaching Ethan the right way.

at 11:30 PM Blogger kenju said...

I think it is a good idea to teach what you are teaching your boy. He will have less of a let down when he learns the truth.

Michele sent me.

at 11:34 PM Blogger Carmi said...

Santa's easy in our house: he doesn't exist. One of the few benefits of being a minority during the Christmas season.

at 11:35 PM Blogger Barbara said...

Hi Dena!
I think that is a beautiful way to explain Santa to your children. Santa should be about giving, not receiving and you are certainly teaching your kids that by explaining it the way you have.

at 6:37 AM Blogger The Mistress of the Dark said...

I think you have a wonderful way of teaching your kids about Santa. After all, it's not so much whether Santa exists...its that Santa is the spirit of Christmas.

at 8:32 AM Blogger sage said...

I think the Santa things is entirely out of control... You're right about it often teaching the wrong lessons. And I don't believe in lying to kids, so as soon as they asked, we had a long discussion about myths and the need to give as well as receive.

On the other hand, I think I'd enjoy playing Santa. The job might not pay much, but it would be fun and rewarding when you bring smiles to kids faces.

at 11:42 AM Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

Letting your kids believe in Santa Claus is, in my opinion, a terrible idea, because when my parents told me (at the age of 14) that there was no Santa Claus, I killed them and stuffed their bodies in a crawl space. I just couldn't forgive them for all the lies.

at 1:12 PM Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

we've never had that talk with our kids, even my oldest (she's 21) still says she believes, i guess to us, santa is a feeling. my kids only get one present santa, it's always been that way, they can ask santa for whatever and how many they want, but they understand santa is only bringing them one gift. we've always donated to our community at christmas as well, we've done stockings and hampers over the years, for the kids to understand that not everyone is as fortunate and some don't even get a candy cane, so if we can, we need to help out.

at 3:31 PM Blogger Aginoth said...

It appears I am going to be Santa at the school I am a governor of this did I get talked into that?

at 6:38 PM Anonymous Deana said...

I think you handle it perfectly. It's not fair to take away Santa Claus when there is so little magic left in the world...(I still believe in the spirit of Santa ). And I agree that you have to let children know you have to pay for what Santa brings to help him out. If not it makes kids who get more feel like they are "better children" than little children whose parents either can't or won't provide for them. I think kids start figuring out when they are old enough anyway....I know I sort of eased into reality when I noticed my grandmothers wrapping paper matched Santa's!

at 10:32 PM Blogger Jeff said...

Im not sure it was a good idea to say that you had to pay santa for the gifts. But it is true that money becomes the overwhelming influence on their christmas experience as they see it now. Money will be a major factor later in their lives and you can never over preach the value of a dollar. I do like the idea of helping santa deliver to all the other children with less. Its a few years down the road until I plan to have kids but your comments here make me realize all the difficult questions that arise and complexities of raising children with good values in this post modern- chaotic society.... maybe ill skip the kids ;)


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