Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Me and Santa - It's Complicated

Alright, I promise this is a real blog post with no pictures of Lego or rants about George Lucas. 
I promise.

Remember back at Halloween when I wrote about how I had a complicated relationship with the holiday?
Yeah, it's kind of like that at Christmastime, only with Santa.

I kind of feel like Santa is that weird uncle I'm not sure how to act around. You know the one who wants to give you lingering hugs, drinks a bit too much and occasionally makes comments about how your legs "go all the way up". Let me tell you why.

My parents were anti-Santites. Not the crazy "adjust the letters in Santa and you get Satan" kind of anti-Santites, but still, I knew very early on that there was no Santa. I had a roommate in university that likened this kind of child rearing to abuse, but it really wasn't. Santa wasn't made out to be a bad guy or anything, we just didn't get presents from him, get our pictures done with him or write him letters. Other than being disciplined for telling other kids he was fake, he was basically just ignored at our house.

Who dat?

My parents had a couple of reasons for not incorporating Santa into our Christmas traditions. They felt that there was almost too much going on at Christmastime and that adding Santa to the mix would be too much. Christmas is my birthday, we do the presents and the tree and we were very heavily involved in what our church was doing during the Christmas season. All of that makes for a very busy time of year. Throw Jolly Ol' St. Nick into the mix and things get crazy. The main reason though was that they really wanted to raise my sisters and I in a home built on faith and Santa kind of makes that awkward. Think about it, Santa sees you all the time, knows if you're good or bad, gives you good gifts and can't be seen except sometimes. Santa's modus operandi really mirrors that of God. Right? God sees you all the time, knows everything about you,  including your sins, gives you good things and is most often not seen. Except, as you get older you find out Santa isn't real.  My parents just didn't want our faith to get muddled by the man in red. Makes sense to me.

Now I'm married though and trying to raise a family and my husband (who's family is huge into Santa) and I have agreed to incorporate the idea of Santa into our traditions. We get Jacob's picture taken with Santa, watch Santa movies, and up until last year Jacob got at least one gift from Santa. I was awkward about it first. I mean, I didn't know how to act or what I was supposed to do with this whole Santa thing. Was there letter writing protocol? How long is someone's list supposed to be and how old is too old to sit on Santa's knee?

I have know idea who these kids are, but that's pretty much how I felt.

Last year, Jacob figured out that Santa was a fake. Neither my parents or I had anything to do with his discovery, although my husband did cast some suspicion my way for a bit. Santa brought joy to Jacob and we didn't just want to give Kris Kringle the boot because Jacob knew that he wasn't real, so we decided to move away from Santa and towards St. Nicholas. We explained to Jacob who St. Nicholas was, that he was a real person who lived and died along time ago, we went over why people still thought about St. Nicholas and how Santa Claus was modeled from him. What we wanted to instill in Jacob was that St. Nicholas exhibited kindness, charity and generousity and how those are things we need to have in our hearts towards others all the time and particularly at Christmas. We thought it went pretty well until we got a note from Jacob's teacher letting us know that he was telling kids that Santa was dead. *facepalm*

Things are better this year. Jacob has a firmer understanding of St. Nicholas/Santa and I am slightly less awkward about Santa. I still don't know if I'd run over to give him a hug, but I'd at least nod and smile at him from across the room.

What up, Santa? How you doin'?


  1. You're never too old to sit on Santa's lap, assuming that Santa is actually David Gandy wearing a red suit and a fake belly and his ho ho ho isn't an order for personal enjoyment.

    In all seriousness, that's a very respectable take on a tradition that varies all over the world. Thanks for the laughs!

    1. Now I'm imagining David Gandy in a Santa suit. *drools*

      Thanks Candace.