Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa Claus

Yesterday I was asked the story behind why we don't do Santa.  This is why.

I don't remember a time when I believed in Santa.  My brother assures me I did and when he told me the truth, I cried.  But I don't remember any of that. 

I do remember, however, laying awake in bed, listening intently for reindeer hooves on the roof, just like the little boy in Polar Express (one of my favorite childhood Christmas stories).  But I was always disappointed. Never did I hear the magical flying reindeer.

As I grew older it saddened me to see the complete and utter disregard for the true meaning of Christmas that people had.  I hated that Christmas decorations went up in stores in September.  I hated that Thanksgiving so often was overlooked. I hated that the commercial aspect of the holiday took over and the spiritual aspect was completely forgotten.

The best Christmas I have ever experienced was while I was a missionary for 
the LDS Church. 

I didn't receive many gifts. I think I got a pair of socks from my parents and a few things from my companions. Finding people to teach on Christmas Eve was rather difficult. Especially since we were teaching in Spanish, and the Latins seem to celebrate Christmas Eve almost more than Christmas. So we decided to do service that day. And that evening we went caroling. We delivered cookies to a few people, and drove around singing about the birth of our Savior. 

It was magical. More magical than the reindeer ever could have been. At that moment, I decided I never again wanted to negate the importance of Christmas. It is all about Christ, after all. Without Him, we wouldn't have a Christmas. He has given us far more than a fictional Santa ever could.
Before we married, Jeffrey and I talked about how we would do Christmas. We talked about celebrating January 6th, The Day of the Wise men. We would give gifts on that day, and have December 25th be more of a spiritual and sacred day. We figured that way we could hit all the after Christmas sales, and get everything on Clearance. But when it came down to it, we both really wanted our kids to be able to have Christmas morning. The tree, the stockings, everything that we had growing up with, which made the day special.
It took a bit of fine tuning, but we have finally figured out how we are going to do it.
We don't teach Santa Claus. Really, we don't need to. The world does such a good job of that.But we do talk about the Savior every day. Keith has never asked if Santa is real, but if he does, I will tell him the truth. We don't give gifts from Santa. All the gifts our kids get come from us. We thought about having Santa give the stockings, but have decided against it. Basically, we have the same celebrations with different explanations. And that is why and how we don't do Santa Claus at our house.
Call me a Scrooge if you must.


Susan Anderson said...

It sounds like you are making great memories for your children and focusing on Christ...Whatever that looks like for your family should be just fine!

I'm kind of a sucker for the Santa Claus thing, myself. But I also believe in giving the Savior far more than equal time. To tell the truth, my kids have always liked Christmas Eve better than Christmas morning, because that's when we do our program, circletime, etc. Such warm, cozy feelings are evoked by remembering Christ's birth.

I do agree that it's the story of the Savior and his birth that really bring the magic (and, of course, the meaning) to Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Hooray for different traditions, celebrations, and perspectives in life!! I know your kids will grow up feeling happy and loved. You are obviously parents who are wise, thoughtful and deliberate about your parenting. Great post.

Jenny said...

Amy. No name calling from me. I think you're wonderful.

Familia Morales said...

Definitely not a Scrooge! I love what you're doing.

Terra said...

A scrooge you are not. A dedicated mother trying to give and teach all that she can (with the assistance of a wonderful husband) that is what you are. Frankly the santa gig can be a pain in the rump...staying up late to get the gifts out, hoping no child wakes at that precise moment...really...OMG. I have one non-believer - she never really did and one on the year I am sure she will get a little nudging right on off that fence!

Sami said...

I think it's awesome to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas, more than the commercial aspect! We do Santa, but he does very little. One gift, and their stockings. I know that some people do it where Santa is the ONLY one who brings gifts.
We talk about the true meaning of Christmas every night also.
I had a friend who did it where "the Christ Child" came and filled their stockings. A few days before Christmas (maybe Christmas Eve morning) Santa left their kids one small gift.
I like it when people do their own thing! Good for you!

Francisca and Chris said...

We got Harmon a FP Little People Nativity Set at Target during Black Friday. We did an FHE with it and Harm got so excited, he now carries his nativity everywhere and tells people all around town all about it. The details are off: "Jesus manger int he North Pole and Joseph Smith his daddy" but the spirit of learning and wanting to lear in there :)

I think the secular has it's place as long as we keep the main reason for the season center-stage.

(I remember that Christmas. Maybe I should blog my experience...)

Natalia said...

I don't think you're a scrooge at all. I don't remember ever believing in Santa Claus yet I never felt left out of the Christams festivities. I highly doubt I'll do the Santa Claus thing with my future kids.

Trish said...

I think a lot of people out there are consciously changing the way they celebrate the holiday season. Nick and I never had a chat and decided exactly what Christmas would be like for our kids. I like how you guys are doing things. I think your kids will grow up with many happy memories indeed.

I'd like my children to learn about a lot of the different stories and cultural celebrations that happen around this time of year. I never knew what other religions or people did when I was growing up and I wished to understand it better and give them my love. I think that is something I'll definitely incorporate into how we do Christmas through the years.

Lourie said...

I will not call you scrooge...ever. You are teaching your children a beautiful lesson. I think it is awesome. And hey, they are happy well rounded people! You are doing great!

Emmy said...

Okay I have been a bad friend and not around lately. Wonderful post and so good for you for doing what you find best for your family. We do the Santa thing, mostly so I can have something else to bribe my kids to be good ;)