“So are you guys all ready for Santa?” the well meaning Target clerk stoops down to ask my children. My son replies plainly, “Santa isn’t for real.” The woman’s eyes turn to saucers and I have to explain, once again, that we don’t do Santa. For us, it’s just a Jesus thing. The woman looks over each of my little ones sadly and then returns her disapproving eyes to me as if she’s just caught me beating my children.
So, here it is: we don’t do Santa…or the Easter Bunny…or Halloween…heck, we don’t even do the tooth fairy. Wait! Put down the phone. Before you report us, let me explain our reasoning. Good. Now slowly step away from the phone, nice and easy. Here is why:
Jesus was born at the North Pole in a stable because there was no room for him in Santa’s toy shop. Yeah, not really. But the duality of Christmas can get confusing, especially for the little ones. I mean, my kids have always been taught there is no Santa, but my daughter, who is four, is still not sure because she overhears other children talking. The influence of peers is evident already. And let’s be honest. Which is more appealing? An imaginary guy who brings you lots of toys or the birthday of some guy you’ve never met.
Okay, hear me all the way out for this next part. I try very hard to always tell my children the truth. Yeah, I admit I’ve been known to say, “Yes, I ate my peas in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner. Now eat yours.” But I try very hard to keep my fibs to vegetables. As a Christian, I’ve been handed the mammoth task of leading my kids into a relationship with the God of the whole universe. A God they can’t see or touch. And I have this reoccurring nightmare of a teenaged version of one of my kids, screaming in my face because he or she doesn’t want to go to church—accusing me of lying to them about Santa and the tooth fairy and how dare I expect him/her to believe in an imaginary God. When I tell my kids about God, I don’t ever want to give them reason to doubt me.
For the record, I am not a Santa hater. I don’t turn off Santa Christmas music if it comes on and I don’t turn off Dora or Olivia at the mere mention of the fat guy. We have a tree and we have presents. What’s a birthday party without presents? It’s just my kids know exactly who the presents come from.
And so, nice Target check out lady, may we please reach an agreement? I will do my best to teach my children not to spoil the secret for yours. I will not look down on you or judge you because you chose to include Santa in your Christmas. I acknowledge that your comment to my children was meant as a friendly gesture and I am not offended by it in the least. In exchange, please don’t look down on me for following my own, personal convictions. Let’s respect each other. And for the love of God, please put the slip of paper with the DYFS hotline number back in your drawer. J
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Hanukkah/Shalom/Peace on Earth/Happy Birthday, Jesus-Suzi Ryan