WARNING: This post is not for diehard fans of the big guy in red.
I suppose the time comes in every modern American parent’s life when she or he must decide how far to take the whole Santa thing.
A lifelong realist, I don’t think I ever honestly believed that Santa was going to fly in on Christmas Eve and leave a present for me. For one thing, we didn’t have a chimney. And I’ve never been a big believer in magic. Seven-year-old Tami Jo was thinking, Flying deer? Around the world in one night? I just watched a calf die in the feedlot. Seems a little far out to me.
The other problem is that I am honest to a fault. If you ask me a question, I can’t tell you a fib. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. So, if my kids ask me if Santa is real, and they have, I can’t help but tell the truth.
Honestly, I just don’t have the energy for making Santa part of my Christmas agenda. I feel like life is short. I feel like the days are short. There are so many things I want to share with my kids, so many things to teach them about… and sometimes I’m not sure there’s going to be enough time to fit it all in. Sorry, Santa, but you just don’t make the priority list.
Sure, the kids know Santa is a thing. They see a lot of him on TV. As far as this house is concerned, he’s a story we like to tell at Christmastime.
So am I denying my kids some of the wonder of Christmas by refusing to make a big thing out of Santa? By never taking them to visit him? By refusing to pretend that cow tracks are reindeer tracks? By faithfully forgetting to have the kids put out milk and cookies and carrots on Christmas Eve?
I don’t think so, because I believe the alternative is quite lovely. I believe there’s plenty of wonder in the real story of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. Folks, unless you’re celebrating Winterholidayfestival and calling it that, you have to admit that Christ is in Christmas.
Here on Porcupine Creek we are teaching our kids that, as many traditions are, the Christmas tradition is deep-rooted in the history of man. Everything has an origin, and we want to encourage our children to think about why we do what we do.
Here’s what we’re learning: That Jesus Christ was the original gift — God’s gift to people like you and me. That the three Magi furthered the gift tradition by bringing presents to Jesus. That a real man named Saint Nicholas got our modern tradition of gift giving going, and from his origins the Santa Claus concept was born (via a slow political process — we’ll save that for high school).
That real people, who know us and care about us so much that they want to make our Christmas special, put those presents under our tree. That some folks don’t have family or friends to give them presents, and Santa doesn’t magically show up and save the day in those cases; it’s up to us to help those people.
That the whole point is the giving, not the getting.
So, Santa, the point is… we think you’re cute. But not the truth. And the truth is all I have time for.
© Tami Blake