perpetuating the myth

So we survived another Christmas, and I say that in the best way possible. Because Christmas Eve was on a Sunday this year, we had a pretty busy day and evening. After evening service, we drove home the ‘scenic’ route, both to ensure the kids fell asleep, and also to pass by Nathan Phillips and the Bay Christmas windows. They did a Narnia theme this year for the windows, and while they were cool, they were not that interesting for little ones, nor were they particularly Christmas-y. J made it to just past the windows before passing out. T took a litlle longer, but was safely asleep by the time we got home. By that I mean she could be moved without waking her. She’s a super light sleeper, so if we’re not careful, we can wake her up if we take her out of the car at the wrong point during her sleep. Which kind of sucks.

Anyway J had been talking all week about putting out some milk and cookies for Santa. She wanted to do it on Monday already! When I asked her where she got the idea from, she said she saw it on TV. Good old TV. Anyway, we decided that we would perpetuate the myth this year. Previously, it hadn’t really come up, because they were either too young, and we had just moved, and Christmas was still kind of a new thing in the kids’ consciousness. Anyway. This year, we did it right. J made a cookie for Santa in her kids program. She had written a note to Santa last week, which read:

FROM J. H.

SANTA I WOULD LIKE A BLASTER

Hm. Ok. By “Blaster” she means one of those big water guns, that everytime she saw in Superstore her Grandpa said, “Hey look, a blaster!” to which she responded with gales of laughter. We’re not big on letting them play with weapons: toys or otherwise. So how to respond? Well, I decided that Santa would leave J a note, explaining why no blaster, thanking her for the cookie (which I found to be sweet, covered in sprinkles and frosted, but lacking in the necessary chocolate to take it over the top), and wishing her a Merry Christmas and so forth.

Christmas morning we awoke, and surprisingly, the kids were not chomping at the bit to go down and open the presents. I expect that will change as they get older. Anyway, as we went down, I led J over to the table, where I had placed her note next to Santa’s note, and the empty cookie plate. I read her the note, and then we opened Santa’s present and looked in their stockings at what Santa brought.

According to my wife, we are reversing their family tradition, which was to have the ‘big present’ be from Santa. We are having the stocking stuffers be from Santa, and the bigger gifts be from us. This year they got books and scissors and a “Lucky Ducks” game from Santa. Maybe this way they won’t put so much expectation on what Santa might bring… and not get too excited or disappointed, either way. We’ll see.

The greater issue is what we say about Santa to our kids, and how long we keep up the myth? I’m guessing that it won’t last for too too long, although I was surprised that J was so into it. I thought she would be more skeptical, since she seems to be so analytical about everything. However, she had little to ask about Santa. I thought she would ask how it was possible, or how he would get in the house, etc. She did ask N what would happen if Santa had to go downstairs to the basement to use the bathroom, which is a totally J kind of oddball question to ask…

The even greater issue is, I wonder if we give more thought to how to explain Santa, than we give to how to explain faith? Without making everything all “Christian-y”, but actively engaging life with faith, living with a radical transformed perspective? Living an alternative life-style to the world’s in the world, rather than creating for ourselves alternatives that are out of the world.

well, it seems that my little blog break is over, J has awoken from a very good and very rare nap. Cheers!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by candeo on 2006/12/27 at 2:27 AM

    I think you will find this at least somewhat relevant to your quandary. If you need a sign in, let me know. Actually, I’ll email it to you.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/magazine/24wwln_lede.t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine&oref=slogin

    Reply

  2. Posted by giz on 2006/12/27 at 6:07 AM

    blaster, keke. GREAT idea with the note, though. maaan, to be parents like you and N, one day. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Posted by terri on 2006/12/28 at 2:40 AM

    We don’t do Santa at our house, but we don’t have this big issue with him either. It has made for interesting interactions between my son and his classmates. Many first-graders still believe in him.

    I don’t necessarily think you can make Christmas too “christian-y,” but I think I understand the sentiment.

    Terri

    Reply

  4. Posted by divine_conspiracy on 2006/12/28 at 3:50 AM

    thanks for the article, candeo. Very funny. You should all go read it.

    giz, thanks. I’m not sure what we’ll do when she writes the note and mails it off without letting us see it! She already does stuff like that, not letting us see.

    terri, thanks for the comment. I was thinking about the greater issue of the time and effort we put into explaining this part of our culture (Santa) to our kids, not so much Christmas itself.

    Reply

  5. […] For the backstory to this post, read here. […]

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