*This post contains affiliate links.
It’s almost Christmas!!! This year I’ve had interesting feelings about this season. My family has been through a lot of changes in the last year: graduation from grad school, a new job, a move across a state, our oldest turning 4 and starting preschool (I feel like parenting is a whole new ballgame now with him), our youngest becoming a toddler, and my applying for grad school (still waiting to hear back). In addition, this Christmas season has been our busiest one to date! From a school program to church choir practices to birthday parties, it’s been a whirlwind! Not to mention our regular responsibilities with church that both my husband and I have. Finally, I feel like this is the first Christmas in our family where our kids actually understand what’s going on. (Okay, our toddler probably doesn’t, but our oldest does!) We’ve actually had to hide gifts from him for real… do the whole Santa act. Not to be a Grinch or anything, but I think I can understand why some people are excited for the whole Christmas season to be over so they can be done with feeling so overwhelmed and busy.
I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. I LOVE this time of year, and I want it to be magical for my kids. I want to remember the reason why we celebrate Christmas (we believe in Jesus Christ), and I want to feel the spirit of giving, service, and love. I’m feeling better now that we’re getting closer to Christmas, but earlier this month I had stressful moments where I thought “how are we going to get everything done?!” Note to self/lesson learned: Don’t say “YES” to too many things at Christmas time; leave enough room in the schedule/in the brain/in the heart for the truly important things.
Now on to the Santa thing…….
I know that some parents don’t do the Santa charade with their kids. I haven’t really talked to any of these parents personally, so I can’t really say why they choose to not involve Santa in their Christmas. I imagine that for some, they feel Santa distracts from Christ or is too frivolous. My family does include Santa Claus in our Christmas traditions, and I want to explain why.
When I was a little girl, Christmas meant more to me than any other holiday or celebration- even more than my birthday meant to me! I went to sleep on Christmas Eve literally feeling slightly shaky with excitement and joy for the next day. My family spent lots of time with extended family while I was growing up, since both sets of my grandparents lived near us. All of the dinners, programs, recitals, and parties helped me feel close to my loved ones and gave me warm feelings in my heart. It seemed that my family was a little bit happier and that our troubles and concerns weren’t such a big deal. Santa was very much included in all of these warm, happy feelings in the Christmas season. My parents worked hard to make Santa seem real when my siblings and I were little, and I’m so glad they did! In our home, Santa was a kind, giving, loving person that made Christmas all the more magical.
I want my kids to believe in Santa when they’re little because I want them to have something in their lives that makes them wonder if magic really is real. I want them to feel that even just for one day out of the year, the world is centered on them. I want them to understand that Santa gives selflessly- and I want them to develop this quality in themselves. I want them to be givers, people who are service-minded. There aren’t many magical things left in this world to believe in; I want my children to at least have this one thing, at this time of year.
As I mentioned, we believe in Jesus Christ in my family. To us, Jesus embodies life, love, selflessness, kindness, redemption, joy, and hope. And even though we try to focus our attention on Christ at Christmas time, we also believe that the idea of Santa Claus can help remind us of the loving, giving nature of Christ in a way that is simple and easy for our children to comprehend.
So it really isn’t complicated: we just feel that our kids deserve to believe in an idea that represents giving, joy, and innocence- in addition to having faith in Jesus Christ.
In addition to Santa, my family also does the Elf on the Shelf tradition!
What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions? Do you do Santa with your kids? If so, why do you want your kids to believe in him?