Santa’s Not Coming to Town   9 comments

While out doing some Christmas shopping today, I ran into a co-worker of mine. We chatted for a bit, I introduced her to Millie and then she asked “Has Millie seen Santa yet?” Nope, not yet. I know we’re well into the Christmas season, but I just haven’t had a chance to stand in an absurdly long line so that I can give my 7 month old to a strange fat man all dressed in red for an overpriced picture. The truth is, I am not planning on taking Millie to see Santa because Nate and I are not going to do the whole Santa thing with Millie. I know. Gasp! Shock! Dismay! Please, before you call CPS (Child Protective Services), hear me out.

Nate and I do not think there is anything inherently evil about telling a child that there is a Santa. We both were raised to believe in Santa and it did absolutely no harm to us. However, there are a few reasons we are choosing NOT to promote a belief in Santa to Millie. Most importantly, we want Millie to know the reason for the season. I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe that thousands of years ago, in a town called Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to God’s son. I believe that Christmas is a wonderful time full of hope and love because of the hope and love that existed the very first Christmas. I want Millie to know that THIS is the reason we celebrate December 25th. Also, we want to carefully encourage Millie’s faith. Nate and I will be teaching Millie that God is real. We will tell her that God is watching her, that God wants her to be a good girl and listen to her parents, and that God is powerful. We will be asking her to believe in someone who she cannot see. This is similar to what some parents tell their children about Santa— they might say that Santa is watching them, that Santa wants them to be good and listen to their parents, and that Santa is magical. The difference? In the second circumstance, the parents are asking their child to have faith in something that they know is not true. I have committed to never asking Millie to believe in something if I don’t believe it in. I NEVER want Millie to think “Mom told me that Santa was real and he isn’t— maybe Jesus isn’t real either!” Faith can be a difficult thing. I don’t want to make it more difficult for my daughter by encouraging her faith in a myth.

That being said, Nate and I will explain who the Santa-character is to our daughter. We will explain that centuries ago a wonderful man known as Saint Nicholas secretly gave gifts to the people of his town. As word of his giving reached more and more people, they began to give gifts to others. We will tell Millie that it is in the tradition of St. Nicholas that some people “play” Santa and give gifts from Santa to their children on Christmas morning. We also want to teach Millie to be sensitive to the beliefs of others. We will carefully explain that there are some children who believe that Santa Claus is real and that it is important to respect that belief even when  we disagree.

In our home, we will still watch Christmas movies with Millie— movies like Elf, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and The Santa Clause— and I am confident that she will still be able to enjoy the fun of Santa without having a belief in Santa. We won’t leave cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve, but we will still make Christmas cookies. Millie won’t run to her stocking on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought, but I bet she will still run to her stocking.

Nate and I are not going to do the whole Santa thing with Millie. Instead we are going to focus on Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ. Still, maybe I should take Millie to get her picture taken with Santa just for fun. I would love one like this…

 

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Posted December 11, 2011 by Nate and Julie in Julie, Millie, Photography

9 responses to “Santa’s Not Coming to Town

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  1. I totally get where you guys are coming from, but Aunt Sister can’t wait for the day that Millie’s kindergarten teacher calls you to tell you that Millie crushed the Santa-dreams of all of her classmates by yelling “Santa’s a faker!” at the top of her lungs at recess some future December day.

  2. Well Millie will have good company because Gracie and John are going to be right there with her; of course because of who their father is they will be much more likely to explain to all the kids that Baby Jesus wasn’t even born in December.

  3. I also have a friend whose eight year old, that recently discovered the truth about Santa, asked her why she and daddy had lied to her all those years.

  4. Good for you! We raised our girls with the same philosophy. They always knew Santa was make believe. We had fun with it but they always knew that part of Christmas was a game and that Jesus is real. They didn’t ruin the lie for all their cousins or classmates. It was our secret, part of the game. We did the cookies but it was part of the game, too.

  5. You could just tell her that Uncle Bud is Santa. We have photographic proof that this is true. Just ask all of the dogs at Petsmart.

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