Friday, December 19, 2008

Lucy Sitting Up, Lots of Snow and Why We Don't Do Santa Claus

I've taken some fun photos the last few days and wanted to share them. First of all, Lucy is officially sitting up. It's like one day she couldn't and the next she could. I put her in front of the Christmas tree and took some pictures. She loves the tree but she's not mobile enough to be able to get to it on purpose, so it's pretty safe. Brad is old enough this year to leave it alone, so we've had a good tree year. Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):


And here's the Signature or "Siggy" I made for my message board using my favorite one:


Today we had our second large snow storm of the week. I don't mind snow, but I HATE driving in it. It just seems that some people think they should be able to drive as fast and as recklessly as they usually do and those people make me nervous. My car is really good in the snow, so I can't complain too much. I just prefer to stay home when it's on the ground. Brad went out to play this afternoon while Joe was shoveling the driveway. He was really cute about it. He mostly wanted to eat it.

And now on to the topic of controversy for my post today: Santa Claus. I want to preface this by saying I have no problem with Santa Claus. I don't even have a problem with parents who want their children to believe in Santa Claus, but I don't, and I thought some of you might be interested in knowing why. This is not meant to offend anyone, just to give you a glimpse into what I'm thinking.

There are a few reasons we don't do Santa in our home. The first has to do with how difficult it is to keep Christmas focused on the birth of The Savior. I think most people would agree that Christmas has become very commercialized. While we all know what the "true meaning of Christmas" is, I'm fairly sure that if you ask most people between the ages of 2 and about 10 what they think about when they think of Christmas it would have something to do with Santa Claus and getting presents. It's the only time during the year other than your birthday that you can expect other people to spend money getting you things you want. I'm guilty of it - I used Christmas as an excuse to get my new camera. Of course that was like 2 months ago, but what the heck. My point is that no matter how hard you try to focus on the birth of Jesus Christ, the world puts presents and spending money right in your face. To me, Santa Claus has become the very symbol of the commercialized Christmas. I don't believe that's the way Santa or Saint Nicholas is supposed to be. He's to supposed to be be a symbol of giving in it's most basic form. In many of the original stories of St. Nick he gave only to the poor and needy. It's for that very reason that I will teach my children about the legend of Santa Claus but I will not teach them that he's a real, live, jolly, fat man living at the North Pole and bringing presents to children if they are "good". What does that teach children about those who have less? If one of my friends shows up at school with an ipod and the other shows up with new pencils does that mean that the first friend was better behaved throughout the year?

The second reason for not teaching my children that Santa Claus is real has to do with being honest. I just don't like the idea of creating the elaborate deception that Santa Claus actually comes into our house on Christmas Eve, eats our baked goods and leaves presents. Again, for those of you that do, that's totally fine, it just doesn't sit well with me. I want to be able to tell them that Santa is a fun story, and the Easter Bunny is a fun tradition, but that Jesus and Heavenly Father are real, and I don't want that to cause any confusion. I know for most kids it wouldn't, but it just feels important to me.

Maybe one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is that I was not raised believing that Santa Claus was real. I was taught about the story of Santa Claus by my parents who were loving and wonderful and always made Christmas special and magical without having to try to explain how Santa was going to get into our mobile home when we had nothing even resembling a chimney. Did I miss out on something? I don't think I did at all. I still got excited about Christmas. I even crept out of my room in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to check the Christmas Tree (wondering if my parents had put out the presents before they went to bed). I had a great appreciation of the spirit of Christmas and also an appreciation of the sacrifice my parents had to make each year to get us gifts when my dad's teaching salary didn't stretch as far as it sometimes needed to. I loved knowing that my mom had picked out just what I wanted and that my siblings were thrilled with what I picked for them. I actually feel that thinking Santa Claus was "real" would have taken away from the closeness I felt to my family during the Holiday Season.

I do love Christmas. I love Christmas music. I love having my tree up. I love Christmas lights, especially those at Temple Square. I love that the season is a reminder that our lives need to be focused on Christ. I even love the story of Santa Claus. So to those of you that now think I am Scrooge himself I will end by saying, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

13 comments:

Kristina P. said...

This is so interesting! It's great to get to know all these passions about you.

Barrett said...

I feel a little uneasy too about how to handle Santa. I think we've come to a solution that works-at least for now! One thing I don't like is the song, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. For us as adults it makes sense and is cute but for kids it's about them seeing their mother kissing someone who 'isn't' dad. I know it's weird but it bugs me! (Yet, I do like the song.)

glarson52 said...

Natalie, you forgot to mention that as a child you got in trouble for telling the neighbor's kids that Santa Claus was not real.

Dad

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that Christmas has become commercial. But you can still have your kids believe in Santa and not take away from the true meaning. Growing up, I always knew, the true meaning. It all depends on the parents. I don't agree that it is lying to your kids. It's all in fun, and it doesn't hurt anyone. I never felt like my parents lied to me, and I don't feel like I am lying to my children. It makes it fun for kids to believe in a magical person. But if you ask my daughter who is very young, who's birthday is on Christmas, she will tell you Jesus. I was always told that the wise men gave Jesus gifts, so we give gifts and Santa brings us gifts like Jesus got gifts. As long as you do a bunch of spiritual christmas activities, stories, music and movies, it's ok to have fun with Santa. whether or not you have a santa, all kids are thinking about are the presents anyway. When they get older and with time, they will know the true meaning. But I don't think it's wrong that you don't want your kids believing in santa. I just wanted to give my opinion.
I read a comment above about the song mommy kissing santa clause. That was my favorite song as a child. Children dont think that deep. They aren't thinking."mommy is kissing someone other then daddy" They think it's a fun song and that it's funny mommy is kissy santa clause. Sorry, again I wanted to give my opinion.

Natalie said...

Thanks for your opinion Anonymous. Not sure why you thought you needed to be Anonymous...I think you're in the majority.
Oh, and Dad, it was Nick that told the neighbors, not me!

Kaycee said...

I like all the pictures! I think Brad and Lucy look so much a like!
I never thought about the whole Santa thing. something to think about though.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

Sorry! That removed post was me! I had WAY to many mispelled words and decided to start over- :) What can I say- typing one handed is not my strong suit! I just wanted to say that I had never thought about Santa Claus in that way before and I think it is definitely something to think about. I think that it is awesome that you are trying to teach your children about the true meaning of Christmas- it is something that we all need to do. My family loves Santa Claus- but we were raised that way- and that's really why we let Kenna beleive in Him- just family traditions mostly. But- your post definitely reminds me that I need to make sure to make those traditions the smaller part of the holiday for our family and not the main focus. Lucy looks beautiful in the pictures by the way- and I hope that your family has a Merry Christmas!

Jatibbs said...

You and Joe have always had strong opinions about things and I love to here these opinions because it gets me to think hard about how I want to raise my kid. Matt

brighton said...

It's nice to see that someone shares some of the same concerns about Santa as I do... Santa does come visit our house, but I'm determined to make sure if the kids come to me with questions that I'll tell them the truth. I think you're a fantastic mom, Nat! :)

Stephen and Kathy said...

This is a reminder of what Joe told us when he was young of course if you know Joe he is always a thinker any way he said to us his parents one day and I quote "Santa Claus is not real but he is the happines and the excitement of Christmas I know you and dad buy our presents." How true that is if we all would believe and think about Santa is the love the happiness and the exceitment of Christmas OH how the little children can teach us if we let them. Thanks Joe and Natalie for doing Brad is such a joy and really is a thinker .

Jenny said...

I have never thought too much about it. I guess it is each to their own. I think the traditions you are taught plays into everything we do. I hope my kids can have a good balance. Thanks for sharing you point of view. It is nice to understand others

blueroserider said...

I have loved reading your opinion and memories here, Natalie. As parents we just do the best we can, and it's not until years later that we find out how messed up you poor kids got. I do think that none of you missed out on the "magic" because we really did strss St Nicholaus's story... and the gifts that he gave. We ALSO made it VERY CLEAR that you were not supposed to tell other kids "the secret". And BOTH you and Nick got your dad and I in trouble for spilling the beans at various times over the years! Nick was the one that told Jesse and Judy never did forgive me. She was a True Believer. And that's one of the things that made her a great 2nd grade teacher. By the time Tenille and Alex came along, we were very loved in the neighborhood...and they all knew the Larson's were weird about Santa.