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Friday, December 12, 2014

Пятница Ponderings: Do You Believe in Santa Claus?

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian
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A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently asking when she should tell her children that Santa isn't real. The comments to her post were interesting.  My response was pretty much that in our house, if you don't believe, you don't receive, even now that my boys are teenagers. My kids figured it out on their own that Santa wasn't real and when they did, we talked about how Santa represents all that is good and wonderful about giving to others. I never perpetuated the Easter Bunny, because it was so farfetched, but Santa? Absolutely.  I suggested that my friend let her children figure it out on their own.

My children know why we celebrate Christmas. Oh, they do get caught up in lists and wants like any kids, but they understand the reason for Christmas and that our focus is on the Savior. We read Christmas stories all month, including stories about Jesus' birth. We talk about Christmas and try to put the focus on what they are giving to each other, rather than what they are receiving. But then, Jesus Christ is also a part of our lives all year long, not just at Christmas and I think that is important. If your children have a belief of or faith in Jesus Christ, Santa Claus won't take anything away from that.

I did what I could to perpetuate the belief in Santa Claus when my kids were younger. I don't think that believing in Santa Claus takes away from celebrating Jesus' birth. The legend of Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nicholas, who was very generous and giving. Santa Claus is magical. When The Artist got to "meet" Santa when he was about 6 years old, he was so excited. It was truly a special moment and very magical for him. It took nothing away from Jesus Christ.

We have tried to teach our children the importance of giving and helping other people all year long. A couple of times, we have chosen a family to anonymously do the 12 Days of Christmas for and it's always fun to plan and pull off. I have cooked and served lunch at the Salvation Army and I each time I do, I take The Boy out of school so he can serve with me. It is at his request: he loves doing it. He is now a member of our Mayor's Teen Council and this year they are doing an adopt a family. It's so great to see these teens focused on helping others. Each year we go shopping and they choose something they can give to the Toys for Tots organization. They understand that while we don't have everything, we are very blessed and we have opportunities to help those who might be in need.

My boys are as excited about the gifts they are giving to each other this year as they are about the ones they will receive. The Artist is always the first to put his gifts under the tree and they are always, always, something he has created himself. They are given purely out of love. I think that as my boys came to realize that Santa isn't a real person, they came to understand that he represents all of us and the gifts we give and the good things we do for each other. That is what I had hoped they would learn.

Christmas is special: it's magical. It should be. And, for us, Santa Claus is part of the Christmas tradition. It's very easy for me to honestly tell my children that I believe in Santa Claus.

My opinion is that if you focus on Christ as the reason we celebrate Christmas, then belief in Santa doesn't take anything away from that, but instead brings that element of Christmas magic we all love. It's very easy for me to blend the sacred with the secular.

May your Christmas be magical, merry and sacred. Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

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4 comments:

  1. The Santa talk can be so difficult. I followed the same track as you. Santa is magical and makes for a better holiday. My daughter was adamant about believing all through high school. It was so nice. I miss that part of the holiday.

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    1. I told my 13 year old the other day that if he didn't believe in Santa Claus, he didn't get any presents. His reply, "I believe, Mom! I believe!"

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  2. This is such a great post. :)

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

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