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Monday, December 19, 2005

Kids are inundated with marketing and advertising. And pushing Santa onto kids really just reinforces a gimme-gimme lifestyle. Because really, Santa equals commercialism. Tell the old guy in the red suit what you want and you'll get it, as long as you've been good and nice. That is most definitely not the spirit of the holidays. In our family, Christmas is about being thankful that we have each other and that we are together.

And so how did the spirit love and family and thankfulness get all mixed up with the spirit of spending? Or the spirit of getting? Or become the story of a man who travels the world in one night on a sleigh? Sure it's fun to pretend, but why is it wrong for kids to know that their parents give them presents? It feels good to give and that's why we do it. That seems like a fabulous lesson to teach kids.

We don't ignore Santa because there are many wonderful, entertaining stories, like The Polar Express. And, there's a great lesson to be learned from the Grinch: "It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!...Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more."

Permalink | Happy Holidays | Comments (5)


I agree with you both, I'm not into the idea of Santa who brings gobs and gobs of toys. I much prefer to foster a Christmas that has do do with enjoying family and sharing that love. We plan to keep the gifts to a minimum, and I'm not sure if Santa bring gifts at all. Maybe Santa will be the one responsible for bringing the spirit of Christmas...Amelia is 22 months, so this is still in development. Already people have been asking her if she's excited about Santa, so I can see that it may be hard to explain.

Posted by: Carabeth | Dec 19, 2005 7:00:28 PM

Carabeth is right. People are going to push Santa on you either way. I didn't even think that my neighbor would have a conversation with my 3-year-old about Santa. It's just what it is.

So, even though I would like to eradicate the commercialism that is Santa from our house, instead I have to mold it.

Santa brings one toy to my daughter. And it isn't even something all that fun.

We did bring her to sit on his lap because she really wanted to know what all the fuss in the mall was about. That, and we didn't have to wait in any lines. He asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She said, "A Christmas Tree."

Posted by: Hillary | Dec 20, 2005 1:02:26 PM

Hillary -- Love that answer! That is the perfect gift. I'm sure Mall Santa was caught off guard.

Posted by: Mother in Chief | Dec 20, 2005 8:34:17 PM

when my children were younger, i really struggled with the santa issue. i have a strange background in that i've gone from a fundamentalist christian to an atheist/agnostic. so over the years, the reason for my christmas struggles have changed.

what i've done is thus: santa brings one gift. it is a gift that really could have been made in a workshop. it is not a gift that santa bought in Toys R Us. Last year, my 6 year old (at the time) wanted a "fairy box" - we found these birch-bark boxes, made from real birch bark and crafted into box shape, and those were her Santa gift. my older daughter was 8, and was really struggling with whether or not santa was real. she got a set of reindeer antlers. as "proof."

we also do home made gifts. this year, the girls wanted boxes to store their journals in, and i bought some very plain ones, and decoupaged a collage of very personal to them things on them. my husband made my younger daughter a bookshelf covered with tiger print fabric (her favorite animal) -- which is similar to the giraffe-shaped shelf he made my older daughter 2 years ago. he also made a fabric covered bulletin board in my oldest daughter's favorite colors for her.

the kids are 7 and 9, and while their friends are saying they want laptops and cell phones and iPods, they want art paper and boxes to keep their journals in. so somehow, this has worked.

Posted by: suzanne | Dec 21, 2005 9:30:59 AM

We teach that Mommy and Daddy give gifts, not Santa. (As it is our kids get to open gifts at 4 places; grandparents, aunts/uncles.) You can't get away from Santa, not when you have kids in public schools; (or any where in public really...) unless you live under a rock, and homeschool. I don't think it's my place to ruin it for other people's children, but we just don't go there in our house. For religious and social/commercial reasons. We give to others, and we teach about the spirit of giving, and why we give to others, as a symbol of the gifts Jesus received. We read a book called "Mommy, Was Santa born on Christmas too." I have to read an edited version, the book goes WAY far into the history of the story of Santa, but my oldest is starting to get it.

Posted by: Amanda | Dec 21, 2005 4:38:15 PM

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