Want to know a secret? I’ve been told I had horrible parents growing up….that they robbed me of one of the most fundamental joys in the Christmas holiday.
That’s right…I never believed in Santa. I mean, can you imagine the gaul?
It wasn’t that my parents didn’t mention Santa in all his gloriousness. And I certainly loved to hear the tales of Rudolph guiding the hefty gentleman through the night on Christmas Eve as he delivered gifts to children around the world…
But I just always knew mom and dad bought the gifts. I grew up in a very small house…so there weren’t any “hiding places” for gifts so to speak.
So we knew exactly where NOT to look, lest we ruin any Christmas surprises.
And honestly, I don’t ever remember even telling other children that Santa wasn’t real. I’m not sure if this was because I didn’t want to ruin it for them or if it was because I thought if they were dumb enough to be duped by this whole Santa thing, they wouldn’t listen to me anyway.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT FINDING THE JOY IN CHRISTMAS.
Now, fast forward 25+ years…I become a mom myself and my husband (who DEFINITELY believed in Santa) and I have a “come to Jesus” meeting where we hash out all the pros and cons of telling our girls that Santa is real.
In the end, we agree to disagree…
BUT for the girls, we will tell them Santa is real. Marriage is all about compromise.
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But then something revealed itself that I don’t think either my husband or I had prepared for…
How do you DECIDE which gift or gifts are from Santa?
Sure, the X-Box, the iPad, the suped up motorized scooter…the big stuff… These are the things we may think about Santa bringing, right? Because he’s magic and he can make anything…money is not an issue.
Except…this IS our money. These ARE our gifts. Our kids may believe in Santa but we know who shells out the dough at the store to buy these magical gifts.
So let me tell you WHY my husband and I have our one rule for Santa’s gift that we BOTH agree on:
Santa’s gift is ALWAYS modest & NEVER their biggest gift.
Why? Well, the reason is two-fold.
1. So your kids believe in Santa? Lots of kids believe in Santa right? Poor kids, rich kids, kids in foster homes, kids without a home. Your child’s classmates, your child’s friends. LOTS of kids. Now, do you think all these childrens’ parents have the same financial means? No…no they don’t.
So if Santa brings my girls an X-Box, an American Girl doll and all the trimmings or a $350 John Deere Gator and their friend’s parents can only afford, say, a special box of Batman Legos...how do you explain that?
How do you explain Santa’s favoritism?
I mean, we tell them Santa is good and visits all children. So why would he spend so little on your child but so much on mine?
You see the inherent problem right? So my husband and I decided that if we allow Santa’s gift to be one of modest means, it at least increases the chances that other kids will see their gifts as equitable. Life isn’t fair but we learn that soon enough. I see no reason to make children learn that lesson any sooner.
2. The value of a dollar is a lesson our children are never too young to learn. If I HAD believed in Santa and Santa could bring EVEN those gifts I was told were too expensive for our family’s means, then I would have just learned to ask for EVERYTHING at Christmas.
Nothing would have been off limits. Money would have had no meaning.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SHOWING YOUR KIDS LOVE WITHOUT MONEY? READ MORE HERE.
But this isn’t true. This isn’t real life…That wouldn’t have been representative of the other 364 days of the year.
And teaching my children that money is important, that we can’t be frivolous and that some things ARE off limits is a lesson I want them to learn. One that I feel certain even Santa would want them to learn.
So as you prepare for this magical season of gift-giving and celebrating Jesus’ birth, maybe you too would like to think about what gifts Santa will be bringing your little ones.
Because, as I look back on my childhood, the magic of Christmas was always there – even without believing in Santa. The magic of Christmas as a child is in the decorations, the tree, the music, the making cookies, the time with family, the days off school, the gingerbread houses, the hot cocoa by the fire.
Sure, the gifts are in there…but they aren’t the ONLY thing. We can make sure the gifts don’t take center stage and that Santa’s magic lay not in the gift itself but in the joy he brings to ALL children. Because one day, our children won’t believe in Santa…will the magic of Christmas still remain?
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Heather aka HoJo says
This is great food for thought! My husband and I both grew up with santa, so I guess I’m just assuming we are good with what he brings. Although this year I have to admit that he spent just $18 – and part of that was on socks. HA! Thank you for your thoughts. I’ll be talking to hubby more tonight. 🙂
Heather the great thing about kids is that they so quickly adapt to whatever new plan we throw at them! Socks seem great from santa!!
Shell Louise says
We were brought up to believe in Santa, but we were told that our parents bought the gifts and Santa just delivered them! (we never questioned why mum would go shopping for the gifts then send them to Santa, only for Santa to bring them back again on Christmas eve!). Santa always left us a chocolate Santa in our stocking and that was the only gift from him 🙂
I love that idea! It really keeps the magic away from the presents themselves!
Karen Patten says
sheesh!!!! whenever I read your posts – I want to bonk myself on the head because I didn’t think of it that way… thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! they always make so much sense. my partner’s family was poor and she grew up never believing in Santa for just this reason – Santa didn’t always come to her house. we are definitely changing the way this works in our house! THANK YOU!!!!!
You always make me smile!