The other day I was in the car with my daughter & “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” shuffled on the Christmas playlist.
“…you better watch out, you better not cry…”
“…he sees you when your sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good…”
I begin thinking about how my husband and I had discussed not “doing Santa” this year.
“Zelda you know Santa’s not real right?” I blurted out.
“He’s not”? She said in wonder.
“Nope. He’s just a good storybook character. Just like the Grinch”. I told her wondering if I had just opened a can of worms without properly preparing.
“Okay.” She said unphased.
As we continued our drive home, I explained to her what her dad & I had agreed upon when it came to why we don’t celebrate Santa like they do in the movies.
So, here’s why Santa doesn’t bring gifts down our chimney:
- Our family values: Like many families we spend this holiday season focusing on family, the spirit of giving, practicing gratitude, & celebrating the birth of Jesus. Pretending a magical man named Santa knows all about our child & her behavior made us feel like we were lying to her. We decided we shouldn’t encourage Santa while also teaching her about Christ.
- The naughty & nice list: It does seem like the “be nice or Santa won’t bring you gifts” phenomenon is wearing off- and for good reason. No matter how our babies, toddlers, or kids behave throughout the year- we still get them presents at Christmas right? Not to mention, we don’t want our kids thinking they receive gifts based on their behavior. Sure, our daughter occasionally earns prizes for completing a task or accomplishing a goal- and you could argue those are behavioral based. However, gifts are not earned. Gifts are given out of love & generosity. We give gifts to our kids because we love them so much not because they earned them.
- Santa doesn’t have a budget, but parents do: You may or may not remember a time when you were a kid and Santa brought you the latest & greatest toy that was probably close to $100+ and then your friend at school only got new clothes? Or maybe you didn’t get the latest tech gifts but all your friends did? So does that mean Santa loves me less or that I wasn’t good enough? That was a question that once floated in my head as a kid & a friend of mine shared the same sentiment when she was younger too.
The real Santa would get all kids every toy they wanted & not leave any kids out- but the reality is parents are “Santa”. And while some parents have large or small budgets- some have $0 to spend for Christmas. So “Santa” can’t always get the kid(s) the new $1k iPhone, $150 lego set, $100 bike, & $115 American Girl Doll. The point being- we want our kids to know that first: not every child is fortunate enough to receive Christmas gifts. No matter what gifts she receives from us or other family members, she is blessed to receive them all. Moreover, one day we will teach her that every parent decides what to get their kid(s) for Christmas and that’s okay! Santa is not giving more or less presents for children based on love (or lack thereof), or behavior.
- Santa isn’t getting all the credit for Dad’s hard work: As a wife & SAHM of 2- I refuse to let my husband’s hard work be given to a man who doesn’t exist. If you are a parent who works more during the holiday season to pay for the holiday season- you may understand where I’m coming from. Recently, our daughter asked me why Daddy “goes to work all the time”. Unfortunately, having a police officer dad that works 60+ hours a week, it’s a question she has wondered more than once. I explain to her that Daddy works really hard not only to keep our city safe, but to also make sure we have a warm house to live in, fresh food to eat, & (during Christmas I added) gifts to open at Christmas time. My husband works so hard for our family. It’s very important to me that Zelda understands that she receive gifts because her mommy & daddy loves her so much & Daddy is happy & willing to work more hours because of it.
So, in our household you may find us watching movies about Santa, singing the Christmas carols, & maybe even see some Santa Clause decorations. But for us he’s just a character in a story. Mom & Dad bring the gifts.