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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Claus and the Three Bears

I've been wanting to write a post about the 'Great Santa Debate', but seeing how some of the discussions in blog land have became downright dirty, I've avoided it. I do want to share, however, a story regarding my oldest son's perception of Santa Claus that I felt was worthy of telling.

First, let me share a little background on the matter of SC. I personally was never raised with the tradition of Santa Claus. I knew who he was. I knew who other people thought he was. I wasn't deprived of any gifts, holiday cheer, or childhood memories for the sake of not being a believer. He was just never 'celebrated' in our family as 'magical'. My husband and I have passed along the same concept to our children. We probably have stronger views on it for this reason, alongside of others.

The boys know who Santa is from simply taking a cart ride through the local grocery store. He is as 'real' to them as Bob the Builder or Dora the Explorer...a friendly character that is fun to see a show about or sing a song about, but nothing more. We haven't "evangelized" our children against Santa as some might put it, but rather decided not to teach that he is anything "more". We don't go out of our way to avoid the 9 foot inflatable Santa like the plague, but we also don't stand and stare.

The other night during our bedtime routine, my oldest son asked for a story. We've been going through different heroes of the Bible and stories of history. I decided that the story of St. Nicholas of Nicea (aka: Santa Claus) might be fun- tis the season, right? I went through my entire story and at the end I talked about 'his memory' still thought of today. (Since have dealt with the passing of a dear Grandpa already- my son is aware what the reference of a 'memory' means).

With the most shocked look on his face, he turned to me and exclaimed, "Santa Claus is dead?!?!" Ok, moms- how do you respond to that one even if you don't believe that Santa is real? It's like telling him that 'Blue had kicked the bucket'!

I pulled him into my arms with a smile and reminded him gently that the man who lived so long ago loved Jesus very much and is alive in Heaven with Him today just like Papa D. is. The idea that Santa and Papa are hanging out in Heaven was just about too much excitement for one evening. I'm just waiting now for him to announce to someone that Santa is dead. Oh, the joy of parenting!


Anonymous said...

I think you handled it the right way. He was, after all, a real person who died. We have a book about the real Nicholas that explains what he did and why he is now called St. Nick or Santa Claus. That seems to be my solution for everything--read a book about it. So, I've read that book to our kids over the years, so they have no question about whether he's real or not. They also understand that all of the presents come from Mommy and Daddy. I love getting those big thank yous on Christmas morning. Why let the dead guy get all the credit?

The main reason is that we've just never wanted to lie to our children. Not even in the name of fun.

Anonymous said...

Hey Angel,
Just wanted to share another "the 'real' santa's dead" story.
My dad's sister is a speech pathologist and she was explaining to some of the kids about St. Nicholas and how he lived and DIED.
One little boy said "nope, nope. that's not the way it happened. See, there were 3 santas. The 1st Santa was St. Nick, and he died. The 2nd Santa, well he died in the crash of '64. And the 3rd Santa is the one we have today."
My aunt asked, "what was the crash of '64?"
"Oh, you know in 1964 Santa crashed his sleigh."
:) His parents must have had fun explaining all that. ;)
I love you guys. -Meghan

Angelena said...

In all seriousness, I want to be honest with my children about everything- as Leslie put it "even in fun". I don't want there ever to be a time when they can look back and know that I wasn't truthful with them.

So, does this mean that we discuss, for instance, all issues that are way to deep and graphic with them at their young and tender age regarding the nature of this fallen world? No. But I would suggest that as parents it falls on us to teach our children the standard of truth and reality.

Blessings to all!


Jenn said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I like this post about SC. We are of the same mind as you guys - we want to be truthful with our children as well. Thanks for writing this.

Jenn said...

Oh yeah - that's awesome that you run. I had my fourth baby this year and need to get this extra weight off. I am starting to train for a 10-K at the beginning of April. It's a slow start and 6.2 miles seems like a marathon... but just one step at a time!

Tracy said...

Hey! Sorry I haven't been commenting for a while...I haven't been blog surfing because I have been working like crazy making my mom a quilt for Christmas and my in-laws a yearly scrapbook. DONE! Wooohooo! Today is our cookie making day.

Thanks for the comment on my post about rejoicing...I felt like it got overshadowed by the home study one. I should have waited to post that because the other is MORE important!

We are the same with Santa. It's kind of a non-issue with our boys. They have sat on his lap occasionally when little, but knew he was just for fun and like you said...kind of like Dora or Blue. He is something our world uses to celebrate.

My oldest had his Christmas concert at school Tuesday night and we were suprised that they did actual Christmas songs...all of them. Joy to the World, one about Glorious Baby....and also Grinch and St. Nick. Most public schools won't even do Christmas concerts...its WINTER concerts. Our Superintendent and Assistant Super are both professing believers so I am sure that helps (so are several of the board members).

Off the subject, sorry...anyway, I like the new pictures on your sidebar, so cute!

Merry Christmas!

The Nester said...

Growing up my parents always said that we didn't believe in Santa but we could pretend just like we pretend other things. I liked that.

Leah in Iowa said...

Great response, Angel! God gave you just the right words at the right time.

BTW, we're not Santa-believers here, either. =)

~ Leah