Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Great Santa Debate

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In December 2009, I original posted about our family's choice to not instill a belief of Santa in our children in a post entitled "Oh, Santa."  Four years later, Addie cannot be swayed from the truth of the matter as is seen in today's post.

A few Sundays ago, as I was picking Addie up from Sunday school, I was informed that Addie and another child in the class had gotten into an argument.

Knowing my child and who the other child was, I gave the teacher a believing look which asked, "What was the argument about?"

"I asked the class what was the most important part of Christmas. {The other little girl} said Santa, and Addie told her that Santa wasn't real." She then gave me a look that said she was at a loss because Addie was right about Santa but should not have argued.

Both girls then walked out of the classroom together still saying, "Yes, he is!" and "No, he isn't!" Neither girl was going to give in to the other, yet one was right and one was wrong.

So how do we deal with the "Is Santa Claus real?" issue that almost certainly comes up each and every Christmas?

There are many parents, Christian and non, who want their children to experience the wonder of the season with every little aspect of it completely intact- including the belief that Santa is real and that there is a little elf who watches every little move they make during the month of December.

By that same token, there are parents, maybe not as many, who do not want to distract their children from the truth of the season- that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus..... and that God has given their Daddy and/or Mommy the ability to work to purchase the gifts they will open on Christmas morning.

As a mother, I want to teach my children How to Win Friends & Influence People, but not at the expense of sacrificing the truth for peace. I also do not want to tell her that she is right and her friend is right because that promotes a mindset of truth being relative and not absolute.

Instead, I took her back to something I had taught her the Christmas before she turned 3, and this was one of the moments when as a mother, I realized that there is a special satisfaction from having built a foundation with my child since the day she was born.

"Do you remember that we learned about St. Nicholas? (Side note: Veggie Tales has an awesome retelling of the story of St. Nicholas- ST. NICHOLAS: A STORY OF JOYFUL GIVING) Saint Nicholas was a real person who loved Jesus and chose to help those who were poor. Saint Nicholas is real. Santa is not. People took St. Nicholas and changed parts of his story around and turned him into Santa Claus. But Saint Nicholas was real. Santa is not."

I then went on to explain that we are never to bring up the subject/debate ourselves. If some else approaches us saying that Santa is real, only then is Addie to explain that Saint Nicholas was a real person, but Santa is not. If someone else's child is going to impose their Santa belief on Addie and one day Ian, then they have every right to speak up for themselves and the truth.

I understand and realize that this may disrupt some child's belief in Santa Claus, his 8 tiny flying reindeer, his toy factory with little elves happily slaving away making little wooden trains that children sadly no longer play with, but in a few years as these children grow up and learn that Santa is not real, and they will have one of two responses.

1) It will shake their faith as my friend Kristi posted in the comment section from the Oh, Santa post:

When John was about 8 years old he looked on the bottom of one of his toys and it said Made in Taiwan...and it clicked in his head "Santa isn't real...my parents lied to me...if Santa isn't real, then maybe God isn't real either!"

Or 2) It will not bother them in the least.

In fact, they may even think back to a time when their little 5 year old friend tried to tell them the truth. That Saint Nicholas is real. Santa is not.

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