Thursday, November 15, 2012

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town... or Is He?

Sprout & Aiden meet Santa for the first time
The other day I bought Sprout a book that's basically the lyrics to "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town". I thought it would be a great way to get him excited about the holidays & teach him the words to the song, as he'll probably memorize a lot of it once we've read it a few times. This is the first year that we'll be able to talk about Christmas & he'll start to understand more about the holiday.

Then I realized that though Oli & I have talked about it a bit, we've never really decided what to do about the whole Santa Claus thing. Do we tell Sprout the big myth (sorry for the spoiler if you didn't already know he's not real) with the lightning-fast flying reindeer who get Santa to every house on Christmas eve, the obese man sliding down chimneys & the Big-Brother-like omniscience? (Wow, that makes it all sound kinda creepy, doesn't it?)

Or do we avoid the big lie & just tell him that it's a story, that Christmas is really just about family & love & all that jazz? We're not religious--I'm an atheist & Oliver is more culturally Lutheran than a believer--so the conflict between baby Jesus & the big fat man in the red suit isn't an issue for us. Christmas for me is a great excuse to spoil children a bit, sing songs we all know the words to, eat homemade baked goods, drink eggnog & mulled wine, decorate the house & most importantly, spend time with family.

Thing is, as much as I don't want to lie to my kid, I remember believing in Santa. Sneaking upstairs after bedtime (as the eldest of three, I always had the basement bedroom), waiting for Santa's arrival. I remember listening for harness bells or hooves on the roof before I fell asleep. I also remember telling my 5-years-younger sister that the Santas in the malls were actually elves who worked for the real Santa Claus.

The story of Santa Claus is magical & wrapped up with so many great memories for me. It's also a very easy tradition to uphold, reinforced by tons of Christmas songs, movies, cartoons, books & even that NASA Santa tracking website in our culture. Why not lead Sprout to believe in magic for a few years, at least?

Did you grow up with the Santa Claus tradition? Did you continue it with your kids? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. i wonder if kids can know what is real & still get caught in the fairy tale of it all?

  2. I am going with giving my son the magic of Santa. There is so much in the world for him to learn about that is going to be hard and challenging and scary. I want to give him a childhood that is fun and magical as much as I can. He already remembers leaving cookies and carrots out last year and is looking forward to that again this year...ho ho ho.

  3. We don't do Santa with our children, and we didn't while either of us were growing up either. I understand loving the whole magic of things, but Santa is a big deal. I'm telling my child a lie. I still see the magic in stories. I think part of the magic is imagining it's real.


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