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!