Spoiler alert: You may not want to read this in front of your children.
I never believed in Santa Claus. Even as a young child, I was an old soul with an ability to reason beyond my age level and something about Santa Claus just didn’t make sense to me. I could not understand how one man could make it all over the world in one night delivering presents to all children. I was a child who had a map of the United States on the wall in her room as decor and whose dad had purchased a globe that sat on my dresser. So I had a sense early on that the world was just too big for this to be true. Additionally, my parents never fully taught us to “believe in” Santa. Now of course we knew about Santa and who he was. We loved Santa. He was a Christmas figure who we acknowledged as part of the traditions of Christmas. But we also knew he was not responsible for our joy on Christmas morning as we rushed around the Christmas tree. Now don’t get me wrong, my parents didn’t bash Santa. And yes we even took pictures with him a time or two. My mom was a Kindergarten teacher for most of her career as an educator so Santa was definitely prominent. Yet, I do not recall seeing a single gift labeled as being from Santa. Now of course there were big gifts like bicycles that were not wrapped or labeled at all. I guess these could be inferred as being from Santa if I chose to believe. My parents did not say one way or another. However, other gifts specifically said “love, Mom and Dad”.
On the other hand, my husband, Floyd grew up believing in Santa and all of his glory. From writing a list to leaving milk and cookies. He knew wholeheartedly that the “big” gifts like ping pong tables and bicycles came from Santa. They were not left unwrapped because they were too big, they were left unwrapped because Santa brought them. He recalls trying to “catch” Santa making his deliveries but says that he was told that he would get ashes if he did such a thing! He says that he was in the 4th grade when he learned that Santa was really his parents. Though he initially found it disappointing he was still thankful for the experience and counts it as a magical part of childhood.
It was not until after our son was born that we as parents had to have the conversation about what to do about Santa. I was content to raise our kids as my parents raised me. This meant allowing them to enjoy and experience Santa but not by wholly involving Santa as the one who delivered presents or to whom a list should be sent. This also meant active engagement in the fact that Jesus is the reason for the season. My husband, on the other hand, though completely on board with our Jesus-centric household was not on board with Santa being a sideshow. Santa was going to shine!
Our differing views meant that a compromise or a concession had to be made. Hearing his wonderful tales that included a vivid imagination, I decided to go along with him regarding Santa. I did not want to be a stooge or to be known as the Grinch who stole Christmas, lol.
So we are embracing Santa as my husband did and I am doing my best not to spoil it. Therefore, I direct all Santa questions to him, lol. Coming up with lies to answer the children's questions is stressful and I have never been good at lying, even for a good cause, lol. Not to mention that my oldest son who is in the 4th grade thinks more like me and has asked particularly insightful questions like “What does Santa do for homes that don’t have a chimney?” and “Does Santa really take time to eat cookies and drink milk at everyone’s house?” He has asked these kinds of questions for a few years now.
Using a team approach, Floyd and I work together to be sure the Christmas season is magical and joyful. It is so cute seeing my 2nd grader and my 4-year-old sing Santa’s praises and to see them so full of excitement. My 2nd grader’s letter to Santa was sure to say that he should be on the nice list because of how awesome he is. He also let Santa know that he was great too, lol! We know that one day the realization of Santa will pass away but the revelation of Jesus will always stay. We are still careful to be sure the message of Jesus is not lost during the season but like many homes on Christmas Eve, we’ll leave out the cookies and milk for Santa. You know what they say, “parenting teamwork, makes the dream work”. Ok, maybe I remixed it, but it’s true.
How have you and your spouse or partner had to work together or compromise regarding holiday traditions? What was Christmas like when you were going up? Do you incorporate Santa during Christmas? What are some of your favorite memories of Christmas?