There has been much written about Christmas traditions over the years. Some have been adopted into our family after reading about them. Others that were part of my family tradition growing up, have been dropped! Some because of the trauma that was caused to me or Gary as we were growing up. One of these traditions was santa clause.
For some of you this might be shocking, but we have never had santa clause visit our children while they were growing up. God gave both of us wisdom before we even had kids that this could be very detrimental to our children. Why? There are two reasons really. The first is that to carry on this tradition, you have to lie to your children! And when they find out that you have lied to them about santa clause who gives good gifts in secret and whom you can’t see – how can they believe you when you tell them about the God of the universe who you also can’t see and delights to give gifts to his children! Children are pretty concrete and need to know that they can trust their parents to be truthful with them! We never wanted to put our children in a position where they would have to question whether we were being honest with them!
The second reason is that both Gary and I were devastated when we found out that santa wasn’t real. I was probably about 10 years old when I found out. Growing up in a small farming community, it was very easy for my parents to keep santa “alive” for me for a long period of time. However I was a curious child and noticed that my dad was always along santa’s sleigh guiding the horses when he came to my town. No reindeer for our santa – only horses! I probably asked why dad was always “helping” santa with his horses. Well I found out. One year my dad took me to a huge tunnel in my small town – a tunnel I never knew existed and there in this tunnel was “santa” and his sleigh. Santa was a very good friend of our family, who also had a horse-drawn sleigh and a team of 8 horses! I was shocked to find out that santa was really my friend! How crushing this was at the time. From that time on, I got to stay outside with the horses while the children went in to see “santa.”
Gary had a similar experience. So when we got married and had our first Christmas together, we began to share some of our traditions growing up. We had fun learning about the different traditions, but one thing we both agreed on – No Santa Ever in our home.
Now that our kids are older, we have been able to share the reasons why we chose to do or not do certain traditions. Some of the things the kids were disappointed that we didn’t do, but not one of the older kids have regretted that we didn’t do santa. My oldest put it best when she was talking to a co-worker about this subject. Her co-worker said that she and her siblings just “came to a point where they knew he wasn’t a real person.” Courtney’s response is priceless. “I would never have come to a place where I knew that because I believed everything my parents told me and with my imagination and being somewhat naive, I would not have figured it out on my own.”
As she shared the story with me and I shared the reasons why we didn’t do santa, she was thankful because she knows that we have never lied to her and she can believe us. She agrees that if we had lied about santa, believing in God would have been much harder.
I am thankful that God gave Gary and I the wisdom to always be truthful and to tell them the story of St. Nicholas on whom the idea of santa was patterned after. They still enjoy this story to this day. While it has been hard at times for our children to know the truth about santa while their friends still believed in santa, it was well worth the effort to not have this tradition!
Traditions are great – but to see my children loving and worshipping God with all of their hearts and for them to know that their parents are trustworthy – is priceless!
Have a very Merry Christmas!