Why We Don't Do Santa

This is the post where you decide that the person named Kendra you thought you really liked is actually a complete communist nutter and you should not only stop reading her blog but stop associating with her altogether. Some people have recently asked if Baby Girl is excited for Santa to come. My response on the spot is, "Nah, not really, we don't make a big deal out of the whole Santa thing."

But my more expansive response is: "Nah, not really, we don't make a big deal out of the whole Santa thing."

Ahhh. It's all so unbelievably clarion now, right?

No, seriously, this was a very hard decision. Growing up, my old man Big Pops lived in a state of mania from October 31 to January 1. The man loves holidays, birthdays, and is particularly hysterical about Christmas. Big Pops has not outgrown this hysteria.

Exhibit A: IMG_3947 Exhibit B:

In fact, with the addition of grandchildren, I receive daily texts about imminent Christmas specials on ABC and reminders to send him my wish list. Because the statute of limitation for your holiday wish list apparently extends to one even when she is 30 years-old.

So as far as families in which to grow up, I pretty much hit the Santa jackpot. So why would I not want to carry on this tradition for my own wee elfin ones?

Here's the thing. I'm not opposed to the lore of Santa, of presents, of surprises on Christmas morn. But I have two chief goals as a parent, and they are: 1. To lead my children to Christ and 2. To always tell them the truth. Period.

I value these objectives more than anything, I feel the weight of them, I carry them as a burden. I don't see how I can point my children to Christ, Christ who knows their inner thoughts and the intimations of their very hearts, if for a portion of the year, I am cautioning them that "Santa is watching..." I want them to know that Christ is always watching, but not in a way that determines a temporary reward, but with great interest for their eternal reward.

I also have a deep conviction for telling my children the truth. I would definitely say that for a good portion of my life, I had a problem with lying. I have lied to my parents, to the dearest of friends, to bosses, to myself. I was such a crafty liar that at times, I think I began to believe my own lies. Becoming a Christian for me has meant to put an end to dishonesty. To really come before God and be honest about my shortcomings and know how ugly it is to lie, and how beautiful and courageous it can be to tell the truth. I never realized how many opportunities there are to lie to children. When I was trying to ween my daughter off of her pacifier, everyone encouraged me to tell her about the "Binkie Fairy" that took the pacifiers to children in need. It was a surefire way to rid child of the binks. I was determined not to lie, though, and the process was surely painful (see also: How to Lose Your Mind in 9 Days) but for me it would have been more painful had I invented some fantastic tale, and for me, I could see how it would just become a slippery slope every time I needed to get my kids on board with something.

I have no judgment of parents who do the Santa thing with their children. As I mentioned, I reaped the rich benefits of a Santa-crazed upbringing. But I feel this is the right decision for our family. Our children will receive plenty of presents and enjoy many surprises in their lives I am sure. And we will tell them from where they came. I suppose some may say that I'm building an awfully tall soapbox while my children are still so young, but the view looks pretty good from here, so if you need me, this is where I'll be.

Christmas 2008 IMG_2827

Christmas 2009 IMG_3953

Christmas 2010 110510_LeeK_PortraitSimple_12