Unpopular opinion: I don’t really like Santa.
Well, at least not the celebration of Santa during December. I told my Mom that we wouldn’t be “doing Santa” this year. Much like everything, I am leading my kids and home back to more simple ways. Minimizing things and space, both in time and the physical.
Keep in mind my kids are now six, seven and 11. The oldest is the only one that is still hardcore pumped for Santa to come to town. The six-year-old just wants a fuzzy blanket because hers got slime over it and the middle child told the entire first grade that “Santa is Mommy and Daddy” last year before I could ask her to not ruin the magic for other kids!
Here’s what I had churning through my mind in November: Santa comes to bring toys to each house. His image is everywhere, literally, this season. There’s so much emphasis on getting gifts and questions like “Have you made your Christmas list this year?” are heard everywhere. But where’s the Santa that began this whole shindig? What about the kids that get Yeezy tennis shoes for Christmas while the others get Dollar Tree Army men? Does it make them feel less than to get less when it’s all their parents had to give? Am I setting my kids up to be entitled, manipulative little humans that will someday turn against me?! Kidding on that last one, I hope!
There are several viewpoints floating around about flooding those in need this holiday season, but leaving them in the dark the rest of the year. The Santa that began the giving was St. Nicholas. To the best of my second grade memory, Mrs. Emmett told us about the real man who began the legend of Santa Claus: Kris Kringle. A monk named St. Nicholas gave away his entire wealth to travel and give to the poor and those in need. This man was truly a Saint! Now that’s a Santa I want my kids to look up to!
It wasn’t until the 18th century that the legend of Santa Claus came to America on woodchips distributed with his image. The 19th century saw a Santa Claus that brought gifts to kids. Soon, Santa would be in stores, ready to hear all kids’ wishes. Somewhere, we got away from the St. Nicholas and his selfless serving ways. I most recently read a story about him saving three sisters from a life of prostitution and slavery by offering a dowry to marry them!
What if the Guess Tribe traded our Christmas wants for Christmas giving? What if we decreased the image of Santa Claus, broke up with him, called it a good magical time for toddlers, and moved on? After having a conversation with the kids about this they had a couple of questions:
“Will we still get the same amount of toys?”
“Will you still stuff stockings full of candy?”
“Can I still ask someone for a soft blanket?”
Children, so innocent! So full of learning and observing the world around them.
I took what didn’t sit well in my spirit to figure out how December could be the end to a year that didn’t leave us feeling empty. As Believers, our family celebrates Jesus’ birth this time of year. It’s still a big party! Taking the focus off of self just a little and getting back to the traits we carry as humans to love one another, it just feels right to say “adios!” to Santa Claus.
To my firstborn buddy, I’m not sorry for setting up the Santa Cam to capture your favorite character coming down the chimney. The first time you came out of your room and followed snow footprints to a stack of toys, was an image that’s always running through my mind — so much joy in being able to give when I didn’t have much. I’m so glad you experienced Santa and know you will grow to be generous man just like St. Nicholas! But I do promise that this year you will have an album of all good Santa Claus memories!
As always, you do you, Momma! Get that Elf to scare your kids into potty training. Have Santa on hold when kids are acting up and you need to call in help. Praise the Lord louder this December. Lead a humble mission to collect needs for a family with hospital bills. Whatever this season is for you, let it be a celebration! I think we can all agree that we can celebrate life, freedom, love, and giving. But truly, take a step back like I did and take inventory of what truly matters.