Wednesday, December 12, 2012

To Santa or not to Santa?

Hahaha! There was quite a discussion about real vs. fake trees on my facebook page. I knew that the thought of NOT getting a real tree would be a hard pill for some to swallow, including some members of my own family (who, oddly enough, didn't weigh in). That's ok, to each his own.

Since I have been discussing Christmas, I wanted to pose the question, to Santa or not to Santa? I realize that believers discussing the merits vs. the evils of Santa is a big, fat, Christian cliche, but when has that ever stopped me from voicing my opinion? Or being a cliche, for that matter?

Perhaps, not surprisingly (since we like to destroy the spirit of Christmas and all that) we lean more towards the camp of No Santa. We aren't IN that camp, mind you, just standing next to it. The jury is decidedly out on this one. Neither of us has strong memories associated with believing in Santa as kids (sorry to our parents, if they did something amazing and magical we can't remember!) so he just isn't a huge holiday figure for us.

However, I do find the legend of St. Nicholas, to be lovely and very much in keeping with the spirit of Christmas as we like to celebrate it. Nicholas was born in to a wealthy family in the 3rd century. Upon his parents death he devoted his life to Christ, sold all his belongings and served the poor and helpless, caring especially for children. In his life (and by some accounts, after) he was known to give gifts to or help those in need, sometimes anonymously (hence the sneaking aspect of Santa).

Nicholas did these things out of obedience to Christ to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor"(Matt 19:21) and quickly became known for his generous, kind heart. He was persecuted by the Romans for his efforts, exiled and imprisoned, but continued to serve those in need whenever and however he could, sometimes at great personal cost. When people tried to give him honor or credit for his actions, Nicholas would insist he was doing it out of love for others and service and obedience to Christ.

This is a Santa figure we can get behind.

Aaron and I don't dislike Santa in the context of St. Nicholas.  We actually don't even dislike Santa the myth, it's the "believe in Santa; behave boys and girls lest you don't get presents" narrative that we don't like. Of course, now we have two little girls who firmly believe in Santa, one of whom believes even after being told the truth a couple years in a row, including this year.

I guess, by default, that makes us part of the Santa camp, though neither Aaron or I really knows what that means. We aren't very good at the whole Santa thing. Obviously, seeing as I devoted a whole blog post to it.

We aren't very good at any of the mythical creatures. The Easter bunny was easy to avoid and the Tooth Fairy was a complete debacle after our two older kids lost, like, a billion teeth between them in a two week period and we kept forgetting to put money under their pillows. We had to come clean on that one and just open our wallets to soothe the pain.

I guess the bottom line is that, similar to the real vs. fake tree thing, we don't view Santa as a cornerstone to a good Christmas. Christmas can be and is just as amazing without Santa as it is with him.

Do you Santa? Why or why not? If you did do Santa, how did your kids take the news when the myth was "debunked"? As usual, I am over-thinking things, right? I do that, you know.

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