Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"We don't do Santa"

It was a small, crowded post office.  I had made it to the halfway point of the line, holding Robby as well as a bag containing all of the packages and cards I needed to mail.  Robby was being precious, smiling at everyone who would look his way.  Then the question came.  It's a question I've dreaded for, well, forever.  It was the Santa question.  To be specific, it was "Have you gotten his picture made with Santa yet?"

Let me make a side note here.  I have strong beliefs and views about things.  I don't stand on the mountain top, yelling them for all to hear.  If someone approaches me directly and asks my opinion or belief about something, I will share it with them.  But I don't like it when people are pushy with me and I never want to come across that way to other people.  I find that a lot of time when people express their beliefs, it comes across as very "holier than thou" and that is not how I desire to be.  I never want people to feel that I have judged them because they have decided to do something other than what I do.  I don't believe celebrating Santa means you have completely forgotten about the time to celebrate Christ's birth.  I just think it is important for us to be clear with our boys about what is the most important.  Tim and I discussed very early on in our relationship how our families celebrated certain holidays and how we wanted to celebrate them with our own family.  We grew up with very similar beliefs, so it was rather easy for us to decide that we will not "celebrate" halloween or Santa.  Since having Robby, we have talked of how we don't want to pretend that these things do not exist, but instead provide a complete explanation to our children as to the meaning behind everything.  I do want our boys to know who good ole St. Nick was and all the good he did, but we have chosen to focus on celebrating the birth of our Savior (and, yes, I know that Jesus wasn't born on December 25 and that it was originally a pagan holiday, but it is now the day set aside for us to celebrate).  Something that goes along with this is the materialism that goes along with Christmas nowadays.  We have decided that each of our boys will receive 3 presents each Christmas (if 3 presents were good enough for Jesus to celebrate His arrival on earth [again, I know they wise men were not there the night He was born], then 3 presents are good enough for our boys) and possibly one larger, shared present for them.  I don't want them to only care about what they will be getting and lose site of the true reason for Christmas.  

Back to the post office situation, before I could think through my response (I am a very "think through and rehearse all my words before they come out of my mouth" person, probably because I don't want to upset anyone or hurt their feelings or anything), I just said, "We don't do Santa".  A hush suddenly came over the entire post office and everyone just looked at me.  I realized how it sounded so I quickly added, "But we are so excited to celebrate his first Christmas this year!"  I felt so uncomfortable that I didn't elaborate on what we DO celebrate.  I know, I know.  A total missed opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas.  I'm kicking myself for not saying anything.  That's the point of this post.  

This situation has caused me to ponder a better way to respond to the Santa question.  It will be coming up again.  Many, many times again.  I want to have a perfect response that is quick, doesn't come across as condemning to the person who asked the question but also provides an explanation of what we DO celebrate and believe in instead.  One of the main reasons I want to have this perfect response prepared is so our boys will grow up hearing it and won't think twice about their response when people ask them.  I'm hoping I can address the next situation with more confidence.  


Kasie said...

Funny, this is EXACTLY how Adam and I have decided to celebrate Christmas with our children...even down to the three gifts! :) We'll walk this path together!

Amanda Adams said...

I'm so proud of you for doing this. I'm currently trying to convince Jody to do the same! You are a wonderful mother and I'm having so much fun following your story as a mommy!