Growing up, I never knew anyone who didn’t do Santa Claus. Yet, when I became a mom myself in 2008, and the Christmas season rolled around, I had a lot of people ask me if we were going to “do Santa” in our home. I began to put a lot of thought into the decision — actually, I analyzed it to death! It seemed perfectly logical that I should not “lie” to my child by making up stories about some big jolly man who sneaks into houses on Christmas Eve night and leaves gifts everywhere. I certainly was not going to be the mom who lied!
And then there was the issue of our faith. As Christians, it also made sense that we should teach our kids the “true meaning” of Christmas, and not about commercialized Santa. I took parenting very seriously back then; I literally played Mozart or Beethoven while my son had structured play time, with only wooden toys. I was that mom! So, I decorated our house in only snowflakes and nativity scenes, while letting all the grandparents know that there would be no “Ho Ho Ho” happening in our home. In my defense, our oldest child was a super inquisitive kid, a skeptic by nature, and I highly doubt he would have ever bought into the whole Santa thing anyway.
Then I blinked my eyes and we had three little ones running around. While still holding true to the “no Santa” philosophy, I had slowly started to integrate some ole Saint Nick into our holiday celebrations. We went to the mall and had our picture taken with ole Saint Nick, I had a few more decorations that featured Santa, and I also began tolerating the grandparents’ Santa talk more and more.
However, it wasn’t until my three year old came up to me and said, “Mommy, would you let us have Santa in our house one year? Please?” His sweet little face, looking up at me like I was the Grinch, just stopped me in my tracks. Now this is not at all to say that the above reasons for nixing Santa from our December routines were no longer valid. I still believe all of those things, especially about teaching our kids about their faith and what we celebrate the most at Christmas. I just realized exactly how little my kids were and how fleeting their childhood was. Santa was fun for them. They were just babies, and the jolly man brought them joy!!
So, Santa became a part of our Christmas, and I learned to not take life or parenting quite so seriously. We now laugh a lot more and dream a lot more during the holiday season. My little boys wear matching Christmas pajamas with Santa Claus plastered all over them. We blast “Jingle Bells” in our home and mail letters off to the North Pole. I still teach them about the birth of Jesus, and make sure they learn that giving is more important than getting. I still get asked if we “do Santa” and now I just respond with, “Kind of!” Santa Claus is fun and we enjoy having fun together, but I try to not make it bigger than just that. Maybe my boys will still turn out okay?! This year I will ask Santa for a glimpse into the future, and hope it shows them all on the nice list.
What about you? Which side of the Santa debate are you on?