Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jolly Fat Men, Giant Bunnies With Eggs, and Fairies With Tooth Obsessions

I was reading a blog post somewhere and they were talking about whether or not it's okay for Christians to play Santa Claus. I don't have anything against Santa, I guess. I learned he wasn't real very early on - I can't even remember a time when I thought he was real, that's how early I learned there was no Santa. But I don't have this animosity toward the character that some people appear to have. *shrug* He's based on a real person - a Saint, as a matter of fact. St. Nicholas of Myra's feast day was yesterday, December 6th.

Anyway. It just reminded me that I'd decided a long time ago that if I ever had kids (I wasn't planning on it at that point, but there was always an outside chance and now I want to have kids...) I wasn't going to tell them about the character of Santa Claus. Not because I thought that the revelation later on would destroy their trust in the adults or make them wonder what other invisible beings we'd been lying to them about but because I think that the myth of Santa as it exists today encourages unrealistic expectations for presents. After all, if Santa is a magical man living at the North Pole with magic elves and rain deer then why can't he give them that pony or that $200 Barbie dream house or whatever it is they want? Is it because they've been bad? No. It's because 'Santa' is Mommy and Daddy and Mommy and Daddy can't afford the $200 Barbie dream house with all the accessories and Mommy and Daddy can't afford the pony in the first place and understand that their house is not zoned for livestock and who's gonna feed and groom it anyway? Yeah. Kids will still want things that they're not going to get even if they know that 'Santa' isn't real, but I think that knowing it's really your parents who have to buy you these things makes a difference. Especially once they get a little bit older and start to understand about money and how it's necessary to keep the roof over their heads and food on the table and how there's a finite supply of it. Which is another thing - kids should learn about that as early as possible. It's all about knowledge and treating them not like they're pets but like they're going to have to grow up and be adults at some point. Keeping stuff from them is not actually helpful most of the time. I do also see the point that Santa takes away from the religious meaning of the holiday - Christmas is very commercial for most people, in case you didn't notice that one on your own.

And I realized that I'm not going to do the 'Easter Bunny' either. It's just silly and takes away from Pascha which is the entire point of the season. Why can't you do Easter things without involving an imaginary giant rabbit? Dye the eggs, have an Easter basket, all that good stuff. Just...without the giant bunny.

The Tooth Fairy is *also* unnecessary! Loosing teeth just shows that the child is growing up. I think it's still cute to give them a quarter or whatever for every lost tooth as a sort of memorial for it - no fairy busting into your room in the middle of the night necessary.


  1. LOL! Love the headline on this one. : ) I know that I thought Santa was real when I was a little kid, and I once made out a big list when I was 7 or so. Like you said, Santa has no limitations to kids, so there was no reason to seven-year-old me that I couldn't get all the goodies on that list. As I got older I learned otherwise, of course.

    My mom never made a huge deal of the presents part of Christmas, but to my eternal annoyance, my dad always did. He seemed to think that spending a lot of money and buying gifts we didn't really want or need at Walmart on Christmas Eve was somehow proof that he loved us more.

    Now, as an adult who lives away from home, I appreciate the more important things -- being with my family, the decorated trees (yes, I said trees -- my mom puts one in almost every room of the house, and as many as 8 in the living room. They're mostly smaller ones. Darn $5 trees at the Christmas tree farm!), a fire in the fireplace, Christmas dinner. I'm much happier when holidays are less commercial and more centered on their religious meanings and family time.

  2. Heather,

    I liked it too. Descriptive but just a little off kilter.

    I'm sure I believed in Santa at some point. My step dad (in one of the few nice things he ever did) would climb up on our roof and shake these sleighbells that we had so we'd think that Santa was flying over and rush off to get into bed. And I can remember being really little and hearing those bells and scrunching up under the blankets so Santa would think I was asleep. So I know I believed, I just don't think it lasted for very long.

    My family never made a huge deal of presents either - except for step dad who made a big deal of getting his *real* daughter (my sister) whatever she wanted. My mother did her best to make sure we got equal presents, but it was hard, partially because I never wanted big things. I just wanted books! And a pony. I totally admit that I wanted a horse growing up. :)

    Hah! We have artificial trees and while they don't quite take over every room in the house there's definitely more than we need. My mom loves decorating for Christmas. We pull out all the old family decorations and newer stuff and just go nuts. Now that we're all adults around here Christmas in the house has become about being together as much as we can.

    It's funny, last year I went to the Midnight Mass for Christmas and my parents wanted to come. So my mother asked me what time it was at. :) And then I had to tell her that it was just what it said on the tin: midnight. They stayed home and slept. :) Maybe this year...

    I'm sorry you're not going to be home for Christmas this year by the way. :(

  3. Loved the post and your reasoning. :) In your mom's defense,I've heard of churches having midnight mass at various times because I was left wondering whey they called it MIDNIGHT mass when it was held at 8 or 10 PM! :D

    And you think kids only get a quarter for teeth these days? Pftttt!

    Michael makes lists for Christmas, but even though "Santa" gets him a few things, he is quite good at not having unrealistic expectations. It's like he believes Santa is just as frugal as his mom is and supplies are limited and must be shared. :)

    Also a friend of mine said she hated the whole "you better be good so Santa will bring you things" because although she does Santa with her kids, Christmas is about unconditional love. Also if poor kids DON'T get toys, what does this say about their behavior?

    The title of this post is great - actually I enjoyed it all!

  4. Haha! Love the title.

    My kids know Santa is unreal; they still make long and unfair lists!! They never did the bunny thing. But I can't take tooth fairy from them :) The middle one loves tooth fairies. Older one found tooth fairy ages ago when she clumsily tripped in the night once!

  5. Susanne,

    Really? None of the ones around here do that. Or, well, maybe some of the other churches do. Not the Catholic churches anyway and that's the only ones I've checked.

    And you think kids only get a quarter for teeth these days? Pftttt!

    Okay, *my* children will only be getting quarters. It's a tooth, not solid gold! :)

    It's like he believes Santa is just as frugal as his mom is and supplies are limited and must be shared. :)

    *rofl* Your Michael is something else Susanne. He's just so adorable and grown up in so many ways all at the same time!

    Also if poor kids DON'T get toys, what does this say about their behavior?

    That! I mean, what about the giving trees? How do you explain to your kids that the poor children need to be bought presents. If they're good, shouldn't Santa take care of them? Yeah. The whole Santa thing is nixed for me.

  6. Suroor,

    Well, yeah. Even after knowing Santa wasn't real I still wanted a pony! :) Part of being a kid is reaching for the impossible because you don't quite get that it's impossible. :)

    Older one found tooth fairy ages ago when she clumsily tripped in the night once!

    Oops! :)

  7. Suroor,what happened?! Did the tooth fairy not have wings? Why was she tripping? :-P

    Amber, I think it was a friend in Massachusetts who said that about the variety of times for Christmas mass. I just remember being a bit "oh wow" when I found out it wasn't actually at midnight. Maybe they have so many Catholics there,they offer it at a variety of times to accommodate the crowds.

    Yes, Michael is very grown up and adorable...heheheh. I agree. :)

  8. Hehehe...now I have the cutest visual of a pregnant tooth fairy trying to fly,but her wings are giving out! :D

  9. Cute post. :)

    The Santa comments reminded me of this week's Glee. Poor Brittany. (If you missed it, she asked Santa to fix Artie's legs...and was totally convinced this would happen.) My parents taught me that Santa just delivers the presents, and later when I was older, for some reason we added "Santa gifts," just little stocking stuffers. So I never had the image of Santa making or giving presents to children himself. He just helped out b/c aunts and uncles who live far away need their presents to get to us and I didn't know there was such a thing as a post office.

    I have an entirely different reason for not teaching my kids these figures are real. And probably a somewhat more selfish/jerky reason. I have a couple of Jewish cousins, and one year my Grandma asked them if they were good and if Santa was going to bring them presents. They just stared at her like she was speaking another language, like they had never heard of Santa. I kind of want to have the kids who just stare at people in confusion when they assume everyone celebrates Christmas and does it the same way. I like the way it shocked my Grandma that they wouldn't know, and I think it would be funny to make more people do that.

    ...Yeah, I'm awful. Oh well.

  10. sanil,

    I guess every family does it differently. I always got the impression (mostly from tv, really) that Santa made the presents. Well, really, the elves did all the work. Slave labor!

    *lol* I love your reason for not telling the kids about Santa. Similar to my reasoning for wanting to read my kids the original versions of fairy tales. So they can mock and destroy the Disney stuff later on. :)

  11. My Christmas tree is an artificial pink pre-lit one about 4 feet tall. I have 4 or 5 Barbie ornaments from Hallmark that I hang on it. I didn't get the tree put up last year, and won't this year, but maybe I can get a few more Barbie ornaments to hang on it before then. It's a very girly tree, which is kind of funny, since I'm not very girly. : P

  12. I never believed in Santa and I am doing the same for Nora. I told her Santa was a character, like Dora or Barney. She still loves him and doesn't know the difference between real and character yet 100% (she's 3) but she will grow up to learn the truth as she's ready to understand it.

  13. Candice,

    And if you don't teach them from the beginning then it's not a big deal later on. :) Avoid all the trauma in the first place.

    Of course I'll teach my kids about the real St. Nick but I'll make sure that it's clear the difference between the historical man and the commercial version.


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