Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Stockings Were Hung

(pardon the fuzzy, unfocused pictures; our downstairs has NO natural light and this was the best I could do)

The stockings were hung by the chimney gas fireplace with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas Mama Claus soon would be there.

That's what I say anyway. We don't do Santa at our house.
As you can probably tell, I'm not a religious zealot, in fact, I'm often scared of and turned off by religious whackos. I'm a simple girl with a simple faith; I'm certainly not against Santa and don't think differently of those parents who encourage the belief in Santa, but growing up, the jolly guy wasn't a part of our Christmas celebration. It only seemed natural for me to raise Caroline similarly.

Craig did the Santa thing as a kid, but didn't really have an opinion one way or another, so, like usual, we did it my way.
I'm not one to think that parents who choose to go the Santa route are lying to their kids or deceiving them in anyway. I think most kids, upon learning the truth, don't think for a minute that they've been duped. They're probably thankful for the fun memories. On the other hand,
I don't for minute feel slighted because my parents decided to forgo the Santa route. I'm not harboring secret anger because my childhood was void of the magical belief in Santa Claus. My mom did her best to stress the true reason for the season, all the while encouraging us to not ruin the surprise for those kids who did believe. I'm happy to report that I never once blabbed the secret and neither has Caroline.

For two girls who love to chat, please understand that this is a monumental feat. Self control of the verbal kind is hard to find in our house.

I've had our presents wrapped and ready to place under the tree for a few days now, but Caroline's friends still believe in Santa, which poses a problem for us. You're probably scratching your head right now, wondering what Caroline's friend's belief in Santa has to do with the presents under our tree. Well, I'll tell you. In their houses, Santa brings their gifts. If they saw Caroline's gifts under the tree, they might become a bit suspicious. I certainly don't want to be responsible for ruining the Santa secret. So, instead, we indulge their belief and I'll place the presents under the tree tonight. I informed Caroline of my plans since I already placed Craig's presents under the tree. I didn't want her to feel left out. It's kind of fun for her to be in on the secret; she relishes it and has been very good about playing along.

I've always told her that Santa is fun; it's fun to believe in something magical, but still in our house, mom and dad buy the presents. I think back to this board book I bought about Christmas many years ago that we still read every year. It says "we give gifts on Christmas Day to show our love and to say 'Happy Birthday Jesus'."

The other day at school, one of the girls at the lunch table joined our Christmas discussion and said that they make a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake on Christmas. She then went on to say "why do kids believe in Santa, anyway?" I noticed the shocked horror on one of the girls' faces and immediately made the "zip your lips" sign. Thankfully the shocked little girl went on to some other topic and blew right past the fact that her faith in Santa was nearly destroyed, but the girl who blabbed the news looked mortified. I then went up to her and whispered in her ear that Caroline doesn't believe in Santa either, but we try not to ruin the fun for the other kids who still do.

She nodded her head and didn't say much for the rest of lunch.

In all honesty, I'm glad I continued with the no Santa Christmas.
It's just easier.
I don't have to answer the logistics questions about the size of chimneys in relation to the size of the toys. How Santa makes it to every house on Christmas Eve. How the toys get in the house when you don't have a chimney. How Santa eats all those cookies.
All those questions are exhausting.
I don't think quickly enough on my feet to answer such questions without invoking even an ounce of suspicion from the question seeker.
Also, I don't have to worry about making sure Santa comes through with all that Caroline has asked him for. I don't have to worry about ruining the surprise prematurely, nor do I have to stand in a long line at the mall for Caroline to sit on Santa's lap. She did sit on his lap once at a community event when we lived in Maryland. Just as she sat down and I went to take her picture, I got a dead battery signal on my camera. Ha!
I suppose the only downside to the whole non Santa participation is that I cannot threaten Caroline with the old "Santa is watching you; you better be good or he will give you coal in your stocking" line.
In the grand scheme of parenting challenges, Santa isn't very significant. I'm far more concerned with raising a polite, hard working, good citizen.
No matter who fills your stockings, a jolly bearded guy in a red suit or a mom in cupcake pajamas with a messy pony tail, Christmas is a day of celebration.
So please, have yourselves a merry little Christmas....

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