I have a confession.
I need to clear the air. I have been living in secret for too long. I need people close to me to know so they can understand. I am tired of mentioning it to others and getting a mix of shock and horror. My husband and I have been discussing this since way before our daughter was born. It has honestly brought more anxiety into my life than it should have. I mean, really, when it boils down to life’s true problems, this one really is silly. But anyway, here is goes:
Santa will not be coming to our house.
Wait! Before you start calling me a Scrooge, hear me out.
We will be celebrating Christmas. We will have a Christmas tree and decorations. We will sing Christmas carols and bake Christmas cookies and cook a Christmas feast. We will read books about Christmas, even books about Santa. We may even visit “Santa” at those cheesy mall setups. Presents will appear under the tree Christmas morning and my children will still enjoy the excitement of it all. Sounds like a pretty typical American Christmas, right?
The main difference in our house will be those presents under the tree won’t be labeled “From Santa.” They most likely won’t have a “from” at all. If my daughter and future children want to pretend the presents are from Santa, be my guest. If they want to bake cookies and leave them out for Santa and pretend he is coming, great. If they want to pretend Santa is flying all around the world and visiting every single child on Earth, have fun. Notice the key word: pretend. Santa is not real nor will we tell our children he is. Instead, Santa will be in the same category as My Little Pony, Harry Potter, super heroes, and the monster under their bed. Instead of me going into detail, how I feel is beautifully explained by Tracy Cassels (including major counter arguments you may be feeling) here. If you would like to know more about our choice on a deeper level, it is explained nicely by David Kyle Johnson here and here.
In my honest opinion, I think Santa has way too much power over the Christmas season. I want to use the holidays to focus on bigger things. Like peace on earth. Like community. Like family. Like giving back. Like helping the less fortunate. I want our family to focus more on helping others like donating food, clothes, toys, money and volunteering our time. I want our family to focus less on materialism and gifts and what THEY want for Christmas. I mean really, isn’t that what this season is truly all about?
What does this mean to you, friends and family? Not much. Please still feel free to celebrate Christmas with us. Gifts (within moderation), food, desserts, decorations, will all still be the same. Feel free to pretend play with my children about Santa. Pretend he can fit through the chimney. Pretend his reindeer can fly. Pretend anything you want with them. Use your combined imaginations and run wild with stories and adventures of Santa and his elves and his reindeer. The list of “please do not dos” is much shorter. First, please don’t fight us on this. Nathan and I have had serious discussions on this and this is how we want to raise our children. Second, please don’t push Santa on our children. Like I said, pretend play is fine, but we will not be using phrases or scare tactics like, “You have to be good or Santa will leave coal in your stocking!” This also includes whatever gifts you give them, please label them from you or don’t label them at all. Also, please give minimally. Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, laughing, making memories, telling stories. It isn’t about the crap you give them. Or better yet, the crap some fat old guy gives them.
Now after reading what I have to say, if you still want to call me a Scrooge, I can live with that. Really, we are all just doing what we feel is best for our family. If you want to do Santa and the whole shebang. Great! If you have your own winter traditions and holidays that have absolutely nothing to do with Santa. Wonderful! No one is doing it right. No one is doing it wrong. As long as we love our children, want what is best for them, and raise them to be decent human beings, that is all that matters.