*Our Little Slice of Haven Note: This post is an interesting perspective that maybe a lot of us mommas have thought of, even in our own secret thoughts. It is just an opinion though, of course there are pluses to the man in the red suit as well! However you choose to celebrate, please be respectful of how others choose to celebrate as well.*
Let me preface a wee bit here. I don’t think Santa is bad, evil, or misguided. If you absolutely enjoy putting in the work to make a magical Santa, please go ahead. I think it’s entirely possible to have a balanced Christmas with Santa. It’s just that I personally find it easier to have a balanced Christmas without him.
I probably feel this way because I have no memories of believing in Santa Claus. My beloved oldest sister considered it her duty to inform each sibling of the fact that Mom and Dad were really Santa at a very young age. Apparently, she slept out on the couch as a young child to see Santa and since that year, took it upon herself to educate each of her eight younger siblings. We were smarter than to reveal our knowledge to “Santa.” Not that it was a big deal because my parents were never dedicated to concealing their charade from us.
Despite this very mundane unveiling of a childhood Christmas fantasy as a fraud, there was no shortage of magic for Christmas. Bedtime was usually at eight o’clock growing up, so the tradition of staying awake until midnight on Christmas Eve was special. Those nights are painted into my memories, laden with soda, tired jollies, and Christmas jitters. My younger sister was the most excited of all. We’d go down to bed after playing games and doing puzzles just to lay awake completely wired and unable to sleep for a long time. Then, after only sleeping approximately two hours, we’d tiptoe upstairs to see if the tree was a shining beacon over iridescently wrapped boxes with stockings lined up in front of the fireplace, stuffed to the brim and plump with an orange in the toe.
Contrary to what you might think, we did not take up our sister’s crusade to educate others. We let them have their fun while we exchanged knowing smiles with one another. Our family never did the Easter Bunny as a tradition, so we were very amused by children that told us they knew Santa wasn’t real but produced tales for the evidence of the Easter Bunny. Tangent: This was true for every mystical being from childhood. My mom forgot to do tooth fairy, and I forgot to look under my pillow. My older sister reminded me and I was going down the hallway as I watched my mother gently lift the pillow and swap. However, I was no fool. I backed down the hallway as if nothing ever happened and produced enough genuine glee over getting a quarter. Of course, that was back when you actually buy a can of soda for a quarter…
Anyway, back to the man in the red suit! I became an aunt at the tender age of seven. So I spent some of my childhood helping with the illusion of Santa. Oh, how it was fun! I totally understand the thrill that comes from watching their excitement in response to a slight of hand. I went out to sprinkle reindeer food with my nephews only to sneak back out and sweep it away. My help was enlisted because their parents were busy carrying out the deception by using different rolls of wrapping paper and handwriting while determining which gifts were from “Santa” versus Mom and Dad. Magicians work hard for the perfect reveal, afterall.
Then something strange happened. Something that I had never heard of before. One sister did not “do” Santa.
“It’s because you want to focus on Christ, right?” I nodded, feeling mature and empathetic.
“Sure, but mostly I want credit for the gifts I give.” She flippantly responded. My jaw dropped. But then I closed it when I thought seriously about my experiences. My friends that still believed in Santa had extravagant Christmas lists. I approached Christmas with a more realistic list since I knew it wasn’t conjured up or built by a bunch of elves in a polar climate. I still knew the value of giving anonymously because we’d delivered cookies that way a number of times.
My dear husband is not one for tricks and games which is a little disappointing at times, but hey, I love him anyway. So when we weighed the pros and cons of what we were going to do with our own children, he voted for easy. We buy one roll of Christmas wrapping paper, usually double-sided and wrap until its gone. It lasts for a long time when you buy a huge Costco roll. There’s no hidden rolls for Santa.
When we buy gifts, we simply wrap them and place them under the tree so they’re hidden in plain sight. We’re not trying to hide them somewhere from our two-year-old turned nosy squirrel at any point. We don’t have to produce a secret stash the night of Christmas Eve to be discovered the next day.
My in-laws, the other night, had a moment of disbelief after asking our daughter what she wanted from Santa. Our toddler was confused, so we just told them that she knows of Santa from songs, but we don’t do Santa.
“How do you not do Santa?” They puzzled.
My husband pipes up, “The gifts are just from us.”
“That sounds easier…”
I know. It sounds easier to us too.