Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our newest debate.

Spoiler alert...if you are a small child or have the mindset of one stop reading now...

Ok I have the disclosure I need to tear into this new subject.

I don't want to have Austin believe in it stands in our house Joe has officially labeled me the anti-Christ of Children's fun and told me if I won't change my mind that he is taking away my tree. :-( So in a true stubborn fashion I told him that if he won't change his mind I won't discuss it with our children and tell them to ask their Dad whenever they have questions about it.

Here we sit in a standoff of unacceptable options, because let's just face it I may not even take down my tree much less get rid of it totally and I'm around Austin all day so I won't be able to avoid the questions that ensue around Santa.

Obviously I did not believe in Santa growing up as a Jehovah's Witness and while I would never wish that library hell on another child I don't see the point in me learning all the lies just to tell them to Austin...yeppers, mark me down as the original party Popper because I don't want Santa, the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy or anything else.

But it goes so much deeper for me than just the lies that come from these fairy tails, I don't like the magic behind them teaching children that items just appear when asked for. What about the hard work, I don't believe in luck or fate in my life, everything I have has been the consequence of a choice that I have made. I did not fall into this life by accident. It pains me to teach someone else that hard work is not the single most important part of the equation to success. What about when times are tough and you don't have money to buy the nice you explain that Santa hit a rough spell and can't "build" you a X-Box? That's number 900 on my list of reasons why I don't appreciate the idea of Santa, I have the opportunity all year of working hard so Austin can get everything her little heart desires but my name goes on the underwear and other sucker-rific gifts while "Santa" gets the Thank you note from her. Nope just can't swallow that one. And while I am being a complete downer I don't believe in letters to Santa or anything along that lines, gifts are chances for someone in your life to get you something that you ***Really*** want, as parents it is our job to listen to our children well enough to know what that is without a "list" and better yet be able to make educated decisions as to what they need and what is appropriate for our kids, not just what they want.

A friend recently stated how sad she was that her year old daughter would not sit on Santa's lap. This is a completely natural reaction and one quite frankly because I see the worst of the worst in this world, one that we should not take lightly or attempt to change in children. That fight or flight option will keep them out of harms way, so why when they are scared do we force them to do something for the sake of a picture? ***Sigh*** There will not be a picture of Austin on Santa's lap, that I can promise.


Anne said...

Ah yes the santa debate! Well, without ever really discussing it, we don't do Santa in the traditional sense either. I don't tell them that's where their presents are from. We do read the santa books, so they know about him but don't believe in him as others do. I've never gotten a picture of my kids in Santa's lap either!!! And I don't have any plans to.

LauraSuz said...

I think a lot of people do Santa in the sense that Anne described, more of a fictional character than someone real. In fact I don't ever remember truly believing in Santa, maybe because I'm the youngest.

We've talked about this topic but since we still have another year I'm not sure what we'll do. Probably fall someplace in the middle. We did talk about going to see Santa and agreed it isn't something we want to do.

Lady Caitie in the Pretty City said...

Aw! I totally see your point but I can't help it -- I am soooo pro-Santa! LOL! I'm probably more into it than some KIDS are! LOL

Course, I don't have kids of my own (that I know of), but as a 26 year old with three siblings who still believe, there is something so special to me about the magic in the house on Christmas! It's like palpable joy and I think kids are bogged down with so much yuck in this world, it's nice to just have a time of year that seems unbelievable! :)

Plus, I think Santa is a great way for kids to learn to believe in something they can't see (which I think helps them believe in goals, God later) and it's a great way to cultivate their imagination! How many times in their lives, especially nowadays, are kids able to **MARVEL** and be in **WONDER** and experience the unconditional **JOY** of Christmas?

I'm TOTALLY with you on the extreme side of things tho.. Lists of presents (I am not joking here -- I babysit for a little girl who handed over a double sided christmas list with over 100 items this year), forcing kids on Santa's lap, etc.

Barb said...

George had a brilliant idea the other day when we were discussing this. Yes... I am the wicked woman who didn't encourage the Santa idea in my children's heads. The whole 'Santa' thing is a very old tradition and quite philanthropic, but has gotten completely twisted over the years. We discussed the idea that it will be impossible, or at least nearly impossible, the tell Austin and her sibling(s) that Santa doesn't exist because she can clearly see him with her own eyes. He is in the mall, and in front of stores, and at events. George's thinking was that the 'idea' of Santa now is more of the helping person who does nice things for people who can't do them for themselves. I agree with the kids knowing that the parents are the ones that ponied up the bucks for the presents, and they are the ones that should be thanked, but for the kids who will have nothing (because their parents can't buy gifts), ta da!...enter 'Santa'. Perhaps Austin can get used to telling those Santas 'thank you' for helping less than fortunate kids... I do. With regard to the fantasy world stuff.... easter bunny, tooth fairy, etc. When small children have a vivid imagination, they make mud pies and eat them,...they have imaginary friends.... they tell stories that are completely out of this world. When grown-ups do it, its called lying. Kids count on you to give them the straight scoop. I caught a ton of grief for not telling the fairy tale stories, but I stand by my decision and I am exceedingly proud of the way you and your brother grew up, and your grip on reality... Your imagination was as vivid as the next kids was...all with no Santa or egg-laying rabbits. Go figure.

jlynn said...

I think you know where I fall on the great Santa debate. I'm all for the jolly old bastard.

I think there is plenty of time in adulthood for reality checks. I see kids walking through shopping centers with their parents at Christmas and their little faces light up at window displays and Santa's village. It make you forget about all the bad stuff that goes on the the world even if it's just for a few minutes.

Childhood is a time for magic. Hell, I'm an adult and I'm not 100% sure there isn't magic out in the world. Everyone has different words for it, miracles, magic, manna but most world cultures and religions have words that represent something that shouldn't have been possible but somehow is.

You could always just tell Austin about the origins of the Santa story. That way you're not lying to her about some weird-o breaking into your house Christmas eve to eat your cookies and drink your milk while leaving trinkets in their place. You're telling her about a figure who went out in the world to do good and help those that needed it, but he is no longer alive so it is up to us to keep his spirit alive by going out and doing good. Explain that all the "Santas" you see in the mall, and in the movies and on the TV shows are there to remind you of the guy that went out to spread goodwill and cheer and to remind us to do the same.

What do I know though, I don't have kids... I think I'll be perfectly content with lying to my kids.

My kid, "Mom, have you ever done drugs?"

Me, "No."

My kid, "Mom did you drink in high school?"

Me, "No."

My kid, "Mom did you have sex before you met dad?"

Me, "No."

My kid, "Mom am I ever going to need Algebra in the real world?"

Me, "Yes."

See it's easy.