First, let me explain one reason for being anti-Santa that DOES NOT apply to me. That is to say I am anti-Santa for reasons other than this. This is killjoy with a capital K. J.: Magic.
I'm a big fan of magic. Harry Potter? Check. Narnia? Check. Lord of the Rings (movies not books, I'm sad to say)? Check. Toothfairy? Fine. Made up bedtime stories about stuffed donkeys coming to life and my kids having crazy-ass magical powers? Youbetcha. I LOVE that stuff.
In fact, talk to me about toy making elves, flying reindeer and magical fat men in red suits in June and I'd rather like the idea. My main beef with Santa is timing. Why does he arrive the same night as Baby Jesus?
This is somebody who comes to us on December 25; he knows if we've been naughtly or nice; he rewards us accordingly; and when we get to be a certain age we stop believing in him, but keep pretending we do to keep up appearances.
Now, pretend you are three years old and guess whoI'm talking about: Santa or Baby Jesus? Or don't pretend you're anything--which person fits that description? There is confusion enough in the world about who Jesus is. We don't need Santa appearing on a cloud for every eye to see and mussing things up further.
If we need a little something to help explain who Jesus is and what He came to do...if we need an analogy of sorts...a friendly cartoon character to reflect Jesus' nature...I could get into that. But the fact that Santa comes at the same time and is so NOT Jesus...well...no thank you.
The other problem is one of American materialism and a sense of entitlement. This is such a big problem for me because it is my problem EXACTLY. I wish I had more money. I wish I had more stuff. I wish I had nicer stuff. It is my stray dog sin that follows me around and scratches at my door all the time. I pray about it a lot. I remind myself that my life would still be life with all it's joys and sorrows if I had $50,000 more or $50,000 les per year (though, frankly, the latter is a little hard to imagine). I refuse to let all this Santa business instill this in my kids.
What am I talking about, you ask? This question, that some well meaning stranger or friend asks my children at least once day, "What sorts of things do you have on your list for Santa?" I guess I did it when I was little, and my mom still asks me if there is anything special I want, but the idea of telling a child to sit down and write out all the things they want to be given? To walk through the toy aisles full of plastic crap they'll outgrow in a couple months and say, "which 10 of these things will make your holiday special?" It gives me the heebeegeebees. Because if those things (or some of them) don't show up on Christmas morning, then what? Do you really say, "you must have been naughty?" or make up some cock and bull story about Santa catching a flat or letters getting lost in the mail?
And then I start to think outside of my own family and at the community/world around me. When the poor kids in Phoebe's class say they didn't get anything...or not much...is the conclusion then that they were bad? That Santa doesn't visit the poor because they are bad? Does being poor make them bad? Is that the same thing?
And I think of all the hours each week Paul spends helping people who come into his office to get out of debt, or to manage their money, or to make ends meet. And I think about those people feeling like they HAVE to spend all this money at Christmas to make it Christmas and then spend the next 11 months digging themselves out from under that.
I know I'm getting carried away here.
I like presents. I hope to get some good ones. I hope the ones I'm giving are received with happiness and enjoyed.
My kids know who Santa is. They think of him, I think, like Mickey Mouse. He's in movies and books and everybody loves him and talks about him but why would he come to our house on Christmas? We've come up with this answer for when people ask if they are going to get lots of presents for Santa. They say, "I know I'll get some nice things from my friends and family." I worked really hard to come up with that. I don't want to be in your face shouting "we don't believe in Santa!" and ruin anybody else's good time. And I get wierd looks-o-plent with that reply, but the kids have to say something when they are asked, and boy are they asked.
It's this sort of thing that makes me want to be a pioneer wife. I could make cornhusk dolls for the kids and they'd be so excited. Paul would get me fabric so I could make myself a new bonnet and I wouldn't even want for more. I know a time machine is not the answer. And I know I've been through all this before on the blog, but sometimes I feel Amerian culture just dragging me under.
I know some people do St. Nicholas. Some people have figurines of Santa kneeling and praying before the manger. Some people with the same beliefs as me choose to do Santa and that's fine. There's no law against Santa. But we decided to not do Santa at all. It seems to get harder and harder to manage as the wide world becomes more a part of the kids' lives. Since they can't talk about Jesus at school, all they hear is Santa (don't get me started on public vs. parochial school) . But, we'll stick to our guns and pray and believe that these kids are God's children even more so then they are ours and maybe save a little money for later therapy if being anti-Santa scars them for life.