I remember watching Santa Claus movies as a young girl and wanting so badly for the the story to be true. I had a vivid imagiantion as a child and I would re-create in my mind the beloved story of Santa in the North pole with his elves and reindeer in amazing detail. All this went on in my mind eventhough I knew the character of Santa was all fantasy and not a wee bit real. That's right, my parents always told me the truth about Santa. They didn't say he was evil, they didn't say it was wrong, they simply told me the truth. Santa is a made-up character.
Naturally, when I had my first child we decided Santa would not be part of our story. Little did I know that this was a modern parenting No-No.
I Don't Like to Lie to My Child
No matter how you put it, telling your child that a fictional character is real and intentionally presenting the narrative of Santa as truth, is deceitful. I want my child to take my word seriously and be confident in that what I'm telling him is true. If he grows up one day to realize I've been telling him fantastical stories and presenting them as truth, why shouldn't he also doubt other stories he grew up hearing from me like the bible?
My Imagination was not Hampered
Ask anyone who knew me as a child and they'll attest to this. I was convinced I could fly with an umbrella like Mary Poppins! I re-enacted all my favorite Disney movies at home. I even brushed my hair with a fork for pete's sake! If my imaginative self survived without Santa, so will my child's. Maybe he'll even put his imagination to good use rather than have it spent one more fictitious character.
Santa is All About the Goods
Last year I posted about our minimalist Christmas. I won't call myself a minimalist, but when it comes to Christmas there is one thing I would love to minimize. Consumerism. This is what Santa represents to me and one of the biggest reasons why I am not a fan. Do I dislike presents? Not really. I love seeing my child's face light up when he is anticipating a present. However, I've also seen the negative effects presents can have on my child at Christmas time. His innocent anticipation and excitement can quickly turn to greed, competition, overstimulation and ungratefulness. While children in first world countries are complaining that Santa missed an item on their list or didn't get the right thing-a-ma-jig, children in third world countries would be grateful for shelter or parents to spend the holidays with. Something about that just doesn't sit right with me.
A friend shared a holiday tradition she began with her kids. Instead of receiving gifts, they look through a charity catalog like this one and chose a gift to give. What a beautiful idea and I hope to do that with my child this holiday season. What other ways can we give during the holidays?
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash