Why We Don’t “Do” Santa

Dec 22nd

* Disclaimer: This is a hot-button topic in some circles.  I’m not casting any stones in this post, just giving the run-down on why we do what we do.

Other than pretending to believe in Santa for much longer than was socially acceptable because I knew I was my parents’ last shot at jolly elf high jinx, there was no part of the Santa thing that was especially traumatizing. Not the finding out or fretting about how the security of our house was apparently easily compromised.  None of that stuff.  Matthew on the other hand felt a little lied to.  Nothing major though, I don’t think.

We decided before we had kids that we wouldn’t do Santa. This can be kind of socially stigmatizing, I’ve found.  People either think we are religious nuts (maybe true?), or that we’re giant grinches (not at all true).  Now, we do celebrate St. Nicholas day. We learn about St. Nicholas, set out our shoes, and the like. The girls know that someone they love is placing treats in their shoes in the spirit and traditions of St. Nicholas.  They know that Santa is a character fictionalized from the real St. Nicholas.  They know that some children believe with all of their might that Santa is real, and we are the holder of a secret that could make them very sad and upset, and so we are to keep that for them.

The main reason we don’t “do” Santa in our house is because I think he is distracting to the real reason for Christmas.  I’ve been accused of stealing the magic from the girls’ holiday season by not participating in this custom.  But what, my friends, what is more magical than the Feast of the Nativity of Christ? What is more wondrous than God, come down from Heaven, born of a virgin, to save us all from certain death? What is more beautiful than the depth of that kind of love? They are not lacking any wonder in their lives. Their lives are wonder.

So, to my girls Santa is a fun tale.  Sometimes we see him out and about. I even have some vintage decorations that were my father’s that have Santa on them. The girls keep the secret, and we can have some fun with it, but I’m glad when someone asks them about Christmas, their first thought isn’t about Santa, but about the birth of Jesus.