Sometimes, something bugs me enough that I have to write. Y’all know I have been quiet this year due to all that has happened in my life this year. I want to share, but those close to me, which I would be writing about, just aren’t ready. I respect that. However, I have to write about Santa. Yep, Santa. I was told I am the most awful person and the meanest person. I was told I am ruining my daughter’s innocence. Over Santa. Yes, friends, you read that right. This was from someone who knows me well. This person knows my intentions for my child and how I would do anything for her and my desire is to give her nothing less than the world.
I think emotions become high and irrational when childhood memories are involved. I know this person did not truly mean these nasty things. The issue is that I have chosen to not tell Vivienne that Santa is real. That is it. She knows about Santa and gets just as many presents, but I have not and will not tell her he is real. I actually decided this before she was born, when my brother and his wife told me they were not “doing Santa.” At first, I thought, that is weird. Why not? They explained that the focus of Christmas is Jesus and that it was just unnecessary to tell the children he is real. I realized I felt the same way.
I have written about this previously, but now that I see how perfect Christmas is this way, I just wanted to confirm my feelings. It is right for my family. There is no magic lost, she is not missing out on anything. We read stories and watch movies with Santa. I am not boycotting the man in the big red coat. She saw him at her school. She sat in his chair at the mall….actually she was quite perturbed when “he was in her chair” after we got out of our movie. We pretend he is real and have fun with it, but she knows the real focus of Christmas is the “magic” of the birth of Jesus.
As a Christian, I always want the focus of these celebrations of Christ to be on Christ. Sure, I know they didn’t truly happen on these dates and some actually started as pagan holidays, but they are now times we chose to focus on specific important events from the Bible. So when I am told I am “taking the magic out of Christmas,” I just assume they don’t really know what Christmas is all about. While we are on the topic, the Easter bunny does not come to my house. She gets an Easter Basket, but it is not from a giant egg laying bunny. And do not even get me started on the tooth fairy. Really, y’all? Why would a fairy want to give money for teeth? That is just creepy.
This year, I got confirmation of my decision as I watched her excitement and joy over all the fun and exciting things we have done to celebrate the birth of Christ. We have decorated our home, created art, cut down our tree, decorated the tree (together), baked cookies, read books, sat on Santa’s lap, seen movies, went to a light show, went riding around to look at lights, listened to Christmas music, participated in the musical at church, dinner with family and friends, presents galore, special family dinners and so much more. We did all these things together as a family. She is excited to open presents at my house, my parent’s house with her cousins and then again with her other family. She is not hurting for presents. Shouldn’t we really be steering our children away from material obsessions? Sure, I want her to be excited about gifts, but I don’t want that to be her only source of joy.
I know that no present I could ever buy her would fulfill her the way the joy of Christ would. I know that nothing she wants will really ever be what gives her true love and happiness. I know that no matter how much I buy her, it will never be enough. As a 33 year old adult, I am still learning these things. I am daily working on finding peace and contentment inside myself, not with the things I have. How do we teach that from early on? How do I give her a head start on finding peace in Christ? I think a start is to focus on what can actually bring that peace, instead of what the world tells you. Christmas is a great place to demonstrate this. In fact, her birthday is at the beginning of December and I am trying to start a tradition of taking a trip together to celebrate her birthday, instead of showering her with more things. Yes, she gets presents, but I want to focus to be on time together exploring God’s world.
I am not a perfect Christian or mom. I try my best to give her what my parents gave me, truth in love. I love that Vivienne has a church home and a church family. I love all that she is learning in her Sunday school class. One Sunday this month, they dressed up as characters from the Christmas story. This past Sunday she got to participate in a birthday party for Jesus, balloons and all. She brought home an ornament she made that she filled with confetti and birthday candles. Every Sunday, I pick her up from her class and we go to the front of the church for a cookie and to see Oompa (my Dad). She stopped in front of the manger scene at the altar in the sanctuary. She pointed to everyone and told us who they were. My heart was so full.
As we drove around looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights (and let me tell you, if you want to smile, take a 4 year old to look at lights)she exclaimed, “Look Mom! Baby Jesus cross!” Tears. MY girl is getting it. She is happy and full of joy. I may be making so many mistakes. I may have screwed up most of my life, but I think I am doing something right with her.
I also think this is a huge lesson in not criticizing others for what they chose to do within their family. Is it hurting you? Am I hurting my child? No. I do not think anyone could argue that she is being deprived from anything. In fact, I think she has a childhood most would love to have. So this is one example of not putting something down just because you don’t quite understand it or it isn’t how you would do it. Celebrate how you see fit. Leave the judging behind. Love your family how you think is best. Don’t criticize someone else because they didn’t do it how you would. I just believe that Christmas is mostly about love and giving. Give love. Show love.