Santa Free Family

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Isaac will not grow up believing in a jolly man in a fat suit gifting presents to all the nice boys and girls as the reason we celebrate Christmas. Or further, he will not believe Santa exists in competition with Jesus' birth. Isaac will be raised in a home that rejects Santa Claus, just as we were, because we think it's both achievable and necessary.

I recently read a great article through this girl's facebook feed with the basic premise that as Christians, in regards to Santa Claus we have three choices to "Reject it, Receive it or Redeem it." While I thought that the article was well written and factual, I still disagree with their decision to Redeem it.

As Christians we have been called to stand apart from worldly things. Clearly, I am not stating this without fault, but it is the calling the Lord has given us. For this reason, we will not introduce the idea of Santa Claus to our family. Isaac will grow up knowing the true reason for the season, a celebration of Jesus' birth, the arrival of the world's Savior.

My great friend Meredith wrote a fantastic post last year regarding her thoughts on the celebration of Christmas as Christians. I think it's especially worthwhile to read. I would like to say that I have full knowledge that Jesus was not born on December 25th, that our Christmas tree was a symbol of a pagan tradition and that I honestly don't have it all right. I will never claim that I do! We do give and receive presents, and choose to do so in mimicking God's gift of His son Jesus.

That said, I also want to take the stand for my family and share our choice. It may not be popular and we may seem very holier-than-thou, but we do not see the room in Christmas for a secular figure who only detracts, to us, from our reason for celebration. It is our main intention to raise our family as a family of believers. To us, opposed to what Macy's would have us do, that means believing in God, and not the magic of Christmas.

And we've already started praying that Isaac won't be the child to burst the bubble to all of his friends. :)

31 comments:

Emily said...

This is very interesting. I think everyone needs to find their own way to celebrate Christmas how they see fit - but I would argue that giving gifts at all is on the same level as believing in Santa Claus. I'm Catholic and we celebrate St. Nicholas Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas). St. Nick inspired the Santa Claus figure with the spirit of giving and as such inspires my own view of the modern day Santa Claus - we talk about the "Spirit of St. Nicholas" rather than Santa. He spread joy, gave to those in need, and remembered others. That's how we choose to view gift giving at Christmas. We also try to keep things simple and tied to the Nativity Story - three gifts because that's what Baby Jesus received, etc.

Leah said...

Great point Emily! Just like the Christmas tree, where is there room for receiving and exchanging presents? My family has always related it to mimicking the receiving Jesus' birth as our gift.

I do not want to detract from St. Nick whatsoever, as he was a very Godly man who did some amazing acts of service. I am not Catholic however and did not grow up honoring the Saints.

I think it's a great tradition to keep to three gifts!

Sky said...

I hate that Santa is more important than Jesus at Christmas- or that's what Target would lead you to believe. Its just so hard not to get caught up with snowflakes and Santa and Rudolph, especially with kids around, so I think what you guys are doing is great. This way, there's no confusion for Isaac about who Christmas is about, and the significance of his birth, and ultimately the gift He gave humanity. Love it, love it, love it.

LisaJ said...

Interesting concept. Will you do the same for the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy? And how do You handle Halloween? Isn't Halloween a pagan holiday worshipping the devil? I'm very intrigued by this. I Don't necessarily see how it will benefit Isaac because there is room for Santa, just as you made room for a tree. You just need to provide the real meaning behind Christmas and focus on that. Do you still do presents at Christmas? If you do, doesn't That take away from the real meaning of Christmas? Who cares who the gift tag says the present is from. I just Don't think I understand your reasoning behind no Santa. Please elaborate.

Leah said...

LisaJ: We do not celebrate the Easter Bunny nor Halloween, so those are already an established status quo. Just as we didn't growing up.

I didn't explain in the post, but did above in a comment, regarding presents. Our presents are not elaborate, we read the Bible before opening presents and view them as mimicking God's gift of Jesus.

You're absolutely right that we need to provide the real meaning behind Christmas and focus on it. That is in our main intention, which we see as our rationale for excluding Santa Claus.

Ole Miss Mom said...

We do the same thing. And let me tell you, it is NOT that big a deal. FOR THE KIDS! They aren't confused, or spoil it for others. It's all they know! They still talk about Santa, and go sit on his lap at Bass Pro Shop...but they know WE buy the gifts and give them to them. (They have even found "the closet" already) hehe

I overheard some mom asking another mom what to tell her FOURTH GRADER who was asking if Santa is real...she was making up all these excuses (ie:Lies) to tell her.

How about the TRUTH!?!? Not to mention it made the mother look very foolish and silly.

All my kids are just fine and can recite the REAL Christmas story from Luke buy heart.

And am proud to say they haven't spoiled it for anyone! :-)

d.a.r. said...

Oh crap. I just finished typing up a draft of a post about how I fully intend on having Santa in our children's lives and how I don't think that it has to be mutually exclusive and familes have to pick either Santa or Jesus. And now I feel like a jerk and am debating posting it! I would never want to come across as attacking you for your personal choices.

Off to rethink my pagan ways... :)

Kristi said...

We are a Santa free house as well. Both DH and I were raised without Santa and that is how we are choosing to raise our little one. I don't look down on anyone else's choice to have their child believe in Santa. This is just the choice that we are making for our family. That being said, it amazes me how hard it is to get away from Santa even at this young age. And I am with you on trying to keep our daughter from spoiling what other families have chosen for their children.

Leah said...

d.a.r: You know I have utmost respect for you and I also know that whatever decision you have come to it was established through careful consideration.

My only intention of this post is to get readers thinking. As I said in my post, I certainly don't think that I've got everything figured out!

Mrs. A said...

While I'm not sure how we'll approach the Santa issue when the time comes since Mr. A and I were raised differently I can respect your view and completely agree that it should be a personal decision in regards to each and every family and no one should judge that. I was raised in a family who believed in Santa Mr. A was not I'm not sure what we'll do for Little Miss just yet but I do know the decision will be approached with prayer and the determination to not make Christmas all about Santa and presents and miss the true story. I hope to foster as my parents did that Christmas is about giving just like The Father gave the ultimate gift His son. Great post Leah very thought provoking :)

Lindsay said...

This post is such an encouragement to me because, we too, have decided to raise our children this way. I could go on and on as to why but you have covered the topic (in my opinion) perfectly. It's a little harder for us because our two older boys (12 & 7) we just got custody of in July and they have been raised (up until now) to believe in Santa and while we don't want to break their little hearts (particularly the 7 year old), we also don't want to teach them to believe in Santa and then not teach Hudson. Who knew such a jolly old man could be such a topic of conversation :) Kuddos to you and your hub. For what it matters, I think you are making the right decision - both for you and for Isaac.

SJ said...

I think you should do what is best for your family. We're choosing to celebrate Jesus and Santa, because we both did growing up, but C will only get three gifts from Santa and the rest will be from us. And they won't be the biggest gifts, either, because why should Santa get all the credit? :) Have a merry Christmas, Leah!

Kristal said...

Thanks you for this post, Leah! I've been debating this with myself for some time...Santa was never an emphasis in our home growing up and I don't intend on making him one for Isaac. I'm sure we will talk about Santa, make him a fun thing to mention in regards to the holiday, but I don't want Isaac thinking he's real.

I truly respect both sides of this decision, but I think this is worth mentioning:

Someone once said to me - "So, you tell your kids about a magic man who makes toys, watches over you through the year, then flies around the entire world in one night on his sleigh pulled by reindeer, swoops down your chimney, and fills your stocking for Christmas. Then you also tell them about a woman who conceived a child through the Holy Spirit, birthed him in a barn, the baby was visited by shepherds who learned of him through angels in the sky, he grew up without ever committed a single sin, performed miracles, and then died on the cross so that we could accept him as our Savior and spend eternity with him in Heaven. Then, you later tell you kids that the former is a lie but the latter is truth and they are supposed to believe you?"

It really struck a chord with me and I think that's when I decided Santa wasn't for us.

Great post and great discussion!

Christy said...

Leah - I really appreciate this perspective. My husband and I don't have kids yet but are watching our nephews (5&8) focus A LOT of what "santa" WILL be bringing them for Christmas (even though it's WELL out of mom and dad's budget) and considering what we want for our future family. I also don't understand how it adds to the holiday to center it around the arrival of a pretend figure. That said, we did get "presents" from Santa growing up and I think my parents did a REALLY awesome job making sure we understand the 'reason for the season'. So I don't know how extreme we will be in removing all Santa elements from Christmas, but it will definitely NOT be a focus and we will not celebrate the mythical character.

Christy said...

PS... in other worlds, my screen name is flyingcab. Just sayin' =)

Randi said...

love posts like this! That is why i LOVE reading your blog. You are soo honest and it's refreshing.

Merry Christmas! :)

CBD said...

What an interesting idea! I do not have children but I can understand why you would choose to do this. It's so easy for all of us to forget what we're really celebrating and that's sad. I applaud you for your decision.

Merry Christmas :)

Leslie G said...

I'm not quite sure what my stance is on this. I am a Bible believing Christian who also believes that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth. Even as a young child, this was the belief that my family instilled in me- but we still got a few presents from Santa. I never remember Santa "stealing the show", so to speak. I'll read a few of the links you posted, maybe that will help! Regardless, we haven't been pressing the idea of Santa to Cameron, I think he could less =).

Meredith said...

This was a really interesting and thought-provoking post Leah! Both Justin and I grew up believing in Santa, but my memories of Christmas growing up don't tend to revolve around him.

I don't have it all figured out either, but I'd definitely be interested in talking more with Justin's parents, and asking them some questions about why they chose to take the "Santa" route with their kids from a pastoral point of view...

Melissa said...

We are also a Santa free house. My husband is so worried that Rowan will spill the beans to her friends one day! We do celebrate St. Nick's Day, though- whom Santa Claus was based on.

sara said...

oh pah-lease!

this is 100% ridiculous. Let a kid be a kid! That poor little boy. He's going to feel so left out & sad all his school life.

I grew up believing in santa AND knowing what CHRISTmas is all about.

sara said...

Blogger Leah said...

LisaJ: We do not celebrate the Easter Bunny nor Halloween, so those are already an established status quo. Just as we didn't growing up.

....http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3127/4065124863_017cfc678b_b.jpg
looks like halloween to me....

Leah said...

Sara: I respect that you disagree with me, but I was never once sad or felt left out growing up without Santa. We don't think that Isaac will either and that's the choice we've made for our family.

In regards to Halloween, thank you for perusing my flickr photos. As for additional stalking fodder, please see the two posts I wrote concerning those photos and that we did not even do the same this year.

http://www.maritalbless.com/2009/10/happy-costume-day.html

http://www.maritalbless.com/2009/11/costume-reveal.html

I'm not a perfect person, not a single one exists. I've never tried to project myself as someone who's got it all together either. Clearly this blog is an example of that. I'm a work in progress, as we all are.

Molly said...

Growing up, Santa was a big deal in my family. We always went to the mall to sit on his lap. My little sister and I believed in Santa for a very long time. And I remember the moment when we were both told (by our older sisters) that he was not real. I think I cried. It took some of the magic of Christmas away for me. I felt stupid that I had been so naive to believe that a fat man could make it all the way around the world. Christmas wasn't the same for me the next year.

Then, I met my husband and found out during our first Christmas season that he grew up not believing in Santa. At first I thought, WHAT? Oh my God, how terrible that must have been! But his mom was very religious and did not want to lie to her kids and distract from the real reason of the season. As cheesy as it may sound.

This was discussed before Landon's first Christmas. And although we will talk about Santa and read The Night Before Christmas, we decided our children will grow up knowing from the start that he is only a fun, fictional character. Just like Mickey Mouse :)

I fully respect your decision and can understand why you chose it. Thanks for posting on this. I might just do the same!

Randine said...

Leah-
I love that you have a stalker/troll now. Thats awesome. Hey Sara, get a grip! Losah.

Julie S. said...

This post really got my head spinning, but in a good way! I grew up believing in Santa but it never really deterred what I believed about why we celebrate Christmas. I guess I will have to ask my mom why it was this way!

I totally get the article (I bookmarked it) and it is really really thought provoking for what I want for Brayden. I just never thought about it like this because we grew up knowing about Santa.

Thank you!

Jen said...

I think it's possible to have both Jesus and Santa. Santa has always been such a minor part of our Christmas growing up and now with how we're choosing to raise our children.

Taylor Yves said...

Leah- I don't have kids but I fully agree with you. For me, it comes down to not wanting to LIE to my children--especially if I want their trust when it comes to me teaching them faith in Jesus.

Pagan/cultural issues are not a problem for me. The early church did a lot of hijacking other traditions in order to integrate the Gospel with their native practices. As long as the Gospel is clear, I think valuing other cultures is great, necessary even. So for Halloween/Easter Bunny ... the issue for me is not that they are rooted in paganism, but that they would require me to lie to my children. I can't compromise there.

Thinking Out Loud said...

We have been discussing what we are going to do about the "Santa issue." I was raised the way you are raising Isaac- no Santa whatsoever. My siblings and I never even sat on his lap growing up. (No Halloween, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy growing up either, BTW.) My husband was raised believing in Santa.

We are praying about how we should raise our son. But as a previous comment stated, it is very hard to stay away from Santa, even at such a young age. James is a year and a half and started saying "ho ho ho." We didn't teach him that.

Thanks for your honest, timely post! Very thought-provoking for sure.

DianeTaylor said...

Leah - great post, it made me stop and really think about my childhood. I did grow up in a Catholic household with a strong faith in God. I also believed in Santa - kind of strange how I did both of those things. When my son was young he also believed in Santa and thought of him as a symbol of gift giving. He also called our Christmas Tree "Birthday Lights" in honor of Jesus's birthday. It's a fine line, and we should all make our own choices. I respect you for speaking out and making your own choices. Isaac will benefit no matter what you choose :) Jesus truly is the reason for the season - not the presents and cookies.

I wish you, Tony and Isaac a very blessed holiday, Leah!

The Taylors :)

Megan said...

Thinking about the comments about how gift giving is on the same level as believing in Santa...

The gifts we give are because of the gift God gave us that day... his son, Jesus. Also in recognition of the gifts that the wise men brought when they came to see the baby... Gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I think what you're doing is great. You are the parent and that's the beauty of it, you get to decide what is best for your family.

Growing up we always knew Santa was a fictional character and it will be the same way with our kids. We'll see Santa at Christmas time (in fact, he came to see Jax today at the hospital!!) but there will never be any kind of "believing" in Santa... if that makes sense.

Merry Christmas, Leah. :)

 

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