Even though we try to do everything we can to point our children towards Christ, especially around this time of year, we observe the tradition of Santa Claus.
Yup. We tell our kids that on one magical night a man dressed in red with *gasp* flying reindeer brings them a present.
Of course, we have altered the myth a bit. For instance, Santa Claus does not know if you have been bad or good, nor does he see you when you are sleeping and awake. That smacks suspiciously of God and Santa Claus is NOT God. We also tell the boys that Santa only brings a gift for the stocking because it lightens his load.
It was so cute to watch my boys approach Santa at Disneyland this year. Nathaniel confidently told him his name, and his brother's name and then told Santa he wanted a rocket ship. Then Santa turned to Aaron and said, "And what would you like?" Aaron said, "Truck!" When Santa repeated it, a panicked look came into Aaron's eyes as he started frantically saying, "Choo choo!! Choo choo!!"
Almost as if his little brain was saying, "I didn't mean a truck! I take it back!" Very much like little Ralphie in a Christmas Story when he stops himself on the slide to tell Santa what he wants. At least Santa didn't tell my kid he'd shoot his eye out.
But, on the other hand, Nathaniel seems to be too focused on Santa and less focused on the other portions of Christmas.
I admit, we've dropped the ball this year and have been super busy and unfocused. I meant to do an Advent calendar, but never got around to getting one. And so on and so forth...
At one point, Nathaniel and I were talking about favorite Christmas carols and he said that Jingle Bells was his favorite (and why shouldn't it be? It's a great song!). I pointed out that it was more a winter song than just Christmas because it just talks about snow and sleigh rides. Nathaniel was convinced that Santa was mentioned in it, which made it a Christmas carol. I almost blurted out that Santa wasn't real.
I'm just so sick of the commercialism that surrounds Christmas. I love spending time with family, I love decorating and doing stuff and giving gifts to people, but when that's all people think about, I get discouraged. I don't want my children growing up feeling entitled to things. I don't want my kids to write wish lists that are miles long and then expect every thing on their wish list. I had a student ask me today what the boys were getting for Christmas and when I told them the one large gift we got for them (a playhouse for the yard) and then said, "And a few things for their stockings" she said, "But what else did you get them?" and couldn't believe it when I said, "Nothing, that is enough for them."
So, Sam and I do our part to combat commercialism surrounding Christmas. We're more careful about t.v. time and toy commercials. We talk about the birth of Jesus and all of the different aspects surrounding it. I even told Nathaniel today that if we couldn't have presents or cookies or lights or trees, that it would still be Christmas because Jesus was born and that is what we are celebrating. That we are so blessed and lucky to have all of those extra things. We also talk about the real St. Nick and what he did for people.
I think he's getting it.
At least, I hope so. And he still believes in Santa for at least another year.