Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why We Don't Do Santa (Throwback Thursday)

Throwback Thursday is when we revisit a post or topic from the past from either my previous blogs or social media posts that are relevant at the current moment.  Today we're tackling Christmas.

We pretty much make Christmas a BIG deal around here, and I married into a family that makes it even bigger of a deal. Seriously, these people are Christmas crazy. But once Jake and I had our first baby, we started to really decide on what our Christmas traditions would be, and we haven't exactly just stuck to the norm.

Photo credit.
The biggest difference in our Christmas = No Santa. *GASP!*

Yep, that's right. We avoid Santa entirely. Sure, our kids recognize who Santa is because he is everywhere around the holidays, but we've never mentioned him as being a jolly, magical, fat man who delivers presents to them on Christmas Eve while they sleep. Jake and I both grew up watching for Santa, but something just didn't feel right to either of us about the whole deal, especially about outright lying to our children. We decided that once one of the kids asked about Santa, we planned on telling them the real story of who St. Nicholas was and the reasons people still do Santa today, and that has worked well and was a perfectly satisfactory response for our eldest, who is currently 6 years old. The younger two children haven't cared to ask yet.

We had three main reasons for not doing Santa:
#1. We wanted the main focus of Christmas to be CHRIST! I know that even in Christian homes, sometimes the real meaning of Christmas can get lost in all the hustle and bustle that comes along with the season. We all can get wrapped up in the decorations and meals and gifts but forget to take the time to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. A few things we do include going to church Christmas Eve, baking a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake (instead of cookies for Santa like most families), and we read about the birth of Jesus from the Bible (instead of reading Twas the Night Before Christmas like most families).

#2. Again, we felt convicted about outright lying to our kids. It just didn't make any sense to us that we would teach our kids to tell the truth and then turn around and lie to them about something so silly. I mean, I take the 9th Commandment at face value, and I'm pretty sure this is included whether its "all for fun" or not, but that's just me. Also, just because we don't do Santa doesn't mean they don't get gifts. We just don't lie about who they came from. Which leads me to our third reason.

#3. We don't want to give Santa credit for the presents that Mom and Dad worked hard to provide for them. Ok, that might sound a bit selfish, but some real thought went into this. The way that we look at it, Christmas gifts are a great way to start to teach our children the value of the dollar. First of all, I let the kids make a Christmas list but I asked them to pick out the two things they wanted the most. I told them that we would try our best to get them what they wanted, but it can cost a lot of money and I didn't know if we could afford it all. Surprisingly, even my youngest at only 2 (almost 3) handles it very well like he understands. I know no matter what they get, they're going to be thrilled and there is just as much surprise since they don't know if they're going to get what they asked for or not. Actually, I think there is less disappointment and confusion this way because if they don't get what they wanted, they know it was because it was too expensive instead of thinking Santa didn't get their wish list or that they had been put on the naughty list.

There are many more reasons that we feel like Santa just isn't for us, but these are the main three. I know Santa is hard to avoid, and it may require more effort to be honest with our kids instead of just joining in with the vast majority of the world and jumping on the Santa bandwagon, but I think putting our faith and moral standards about the worldly traditions we're surrounded by is important and hopefully will stand out to our kids as a lesson in honesty and integrity. I don't look down on any family that does do Santa, though, (and I make sure that our kids don't spoil the fun for the kids who do believe in Santa). Both Jake and I grew up with Santa and we both enjoyed it! I just felt that if we were feeling convicted over it, we shouldn't do it. Obedience is more important than doing it anyways and feeling iffy or even guilty for carrying on a tradition that just doesn't matter in the long run.

Whether your Christmas involves old St. Nick or not, I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas, and remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

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