Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town?

I really didn't mean to go for over a week without posting.  I'll have perfectly written posts in my head, and then when I sit down at my computer, I swear they leak out my ear and all over my chair.  Maybe that isn't exactly what happens to them, but I can't get anything out on the screen.  Oh well.

So Santa Claus has never come to our house. Oh he visited me when I was a child and I am pretty sure he visited Keary when he was a child, but when Gwendolyn was born, I started thinking about Santa Claus.  I thought it odd to teach children to not talk to strangers, except for this one big guy in red who comes around once a year and just inherently know if you are naughty or nice and can see you all the time.  Hey, if you are good he will break into your house and leave you a gift.  I knew my children would have more than enough and receive even more without adding the man in red's gifts to the pile.  Keary and I decided we didn't want to have Santa come to our house, and instead we would teach our children about Saint Nicholas and how it is good to give back to your community, be thankful for what you have, and the spirit of giving and sharing that is associated with Christmas.  I figured teaching about Advent, the Nativity, and the birth of Jesus would be a better way to go than the Santa Claus route.  So that would be that.  We are the parents, we make these decisions. Right?

Oy.  I could not have known how wrong I was going to be.  Starting every November, everybody and their brother starts asking the girls "What's Santa Claus bringing you this year?", telling them "You better be good or Santa Claus won't bring you anything."  Keary and I grinned the first couple of seasons and reminded them repeatedly that Santa Claus does not visit our house.  You would have thought that we were depriving our children of food or clothes the way people reacted.  "What do you MEAN Santa Claus doesn't come to your house?!?"  Needless to say, most people had very strong and harsh reactions to something I never thought should have been any of their business. Lucky for everyone, I tend to be fairly confident in my decisions and tend to not need other people's approval.

Then last year, Gwendolyn's curiosity about Santa Claus grew.  She would stare him down at the mall and want to know why other kids were getting their picture made with him.  I told her it was for fun and he was just a man dressed up like the character we had read about and seen on TV.  He is kinda like Mickey Mouse, I told her.  Well, she continued to be curious so I let her talk to Santa and get her and Maggie's picture made when the library had their open house.  Everything was good after that.  She didn't ask any more questions or stare him down or really take notice at all.  We gave her the same amount of presents or pretend that Santa had left them.  Everybody was happy.

But this year, Gwendolyn got to hear about Santa from her friends at school and paid more attention to commercials and shows about Santa.  She has mentioned him a bit more and when someone inevitably asked what Santa is bringing her, she told them something she wants.  I have tried to gauge whether she really believes in him or if she is just playing along, but I can't tell one way or another.  And really if you get down to it, I don't care one way or another if she wants to believe in him for a couple years because whatever she believes, along with it she will practice sharing and giving and continue to learn about the Christmas story.  I just don't want her to be disappointed on Christmas morning if it doesn't look like Santa visited.

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