Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is There Room for Santa at Our Table Too?

This is a question I have been mulling around for a while.  With the Christmas season being thrust upon us earlier and earlier, and now with having children, I really take this question seriously.  Let me back up...

I grew up in a WONDERFUL family.  The Christmas holidays were special.  (Every holiday was really.)  But Christmas held some sort of magic that the others didn't.  I always knew that this was the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I knew the impact of His birth.  It was blissfully sweet.

However, Santa was present in our family traditions as well.  We did the whole milk and cookie thing.  Elvis belted out about his "Blue Christmas" and I knew all the words to "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" by age three.  We decorated our tree with themed color selections.  Stockings were filled with goodies.  When I woke up on Christmas morning, there were always packages left by him.  Even as I got older and would question the "realness" of Santa, my mom held fast that it's the spirit inside you that make Santa real.

Fast forward to now.  I'm the mother of twin three year olds.  I am a Christian.  I am teaching my children DAILY about the love of Jesus.  And I feel like I'm a horrible mom according to other Christians if we celebrate Santa as a part of our Christmas traditions.  Yes, I feel SO judged.

Is Jesus there?  Absolutely!  We have talked and read nonstop about His birth.  We have discussed how this holiday is NOT just about the "I wants".  Jesus is the focus for us.

However, our Christmas is filled with more.  It is filled with stockings, trees, lights, cookies, carols, packages, joy, laughter, magic, and wonder.  Oh, and Santa.  Yes.  Santa. 

We do NOT worship Santa.  We do NOT focus on gift giving and getting.  We DO focus on Jesus and fun family traditions and special connections we can create with the girls.  Everything is celebrated!  From making a paper chain to count down the days until "Happy Birthday, Jesus", to carefully placing ornaments on our tree.  Christmas music is played in our Jeep and in our home.  Christmas TV specials from long ago are watched and treasured.  New traditions are meshing with old family favorites and friends, it just makes my heart swell.

Oh, how I love this time of the year.  I feel hopeful for our future.  It seems Pollyanna, but it's me.  I totally get wrapped up in the glitter and garland.  I know it's because I have such special memories of this time of year with my family, and I want that for my girls as well.  And I refuse to feel guilty about it. 

This is just on my heart because it's out there.  It's in Blogland.  The discussions, the debates, the worry if we are messing our kids up by celebrating Santa AND Jesus, or NOT celebrating one or the other.  I just had to throw my two cents in.  I LOVE Jesus.  Love Him.  And serve Him.  And I will forever and always strive to keep Him first in my life (I AM human...I slip up occasionally.)  But at our house, we'll save a spot for Santa too.  That jolly old guy just wants to spread some joy and eat some good cookies (and chocolate milk according to Laney).  He won't sit at the head of our table, but he's got a seat down the line.

Oh, and while I'm on a rant...I totally DO NOT get those people who say, "Jesus is the reason for the season!"  HELLO, Jesus is the reason for EVERY season!

Merry Christmas, family!  



Chris and Sarah said...

Wow, very well written and it's good enough to be published.

I have also felt very judged reading blogs because we also invite Santa into our home. Our children also know that Jesus is the true reason of Christmas but Santa makes for a fun tradition. We also do the tooth fairy, Easter bunny and the other day I even ask Amaya why the cleaning fairy didn't come to our house (she didn't know either.)

Thanks for writing this post and making me feel better.

M3 said...

There's nothing wrong with a little Santa. :-) Our girls just light up when they see him, and it's just fun and happy, not "Hey there's Santa, I want him to give me xxx." We don't make the holiday all about him at all, but he is a happy little part of it.

Mary McG in TN said...

Jesus is all about the love. Santa is all about the love.
Enough said.

Mark and Melanie said...

I totally agree - great post!!

Anonymous said...

To my little one and your sisters and brother,there will always be room in our heart and our homes for joy ,laughter, and fun. But there is always JESUS in our hearts everyday ,every month, and every season. Without a doubt all of the above is as traditional as good ole" santa. And also don;T FORGET.....I NEED A CLUE. LOL...RETT ,DO YOU REMENBER? LOVE YA TO THE MOON ALL. YOUR MOMMA MISS RETT

Adeye said...

Well. We think about this a lot. You are so right--Jesus is the reason for every season--I love that. We go along with the whole Santa thing too. Over the years we have wondered if it is the 'right' thing to do. But we always come back to the fact that allowing our younger children to believe in Santa is just one of those amazing childhood memories they will have. It is for such a short time--then they will be older and the whole 'make believe' thing is gone. They absolutely love writing the old guy letters and drawing him a picture of what they would like for Christmas. To us, it is all part of being a kid.

We may be wrong. And if we are--who the heck cares!

We love a little Santa in our home. The day before Christmas my hubby sucks on some helium (for the funny voice) and calls the kids pretending to be one of Santa's elves--calling to say hi and remind them to go to bed early. They LOVE it.

Holly said...

You are so cute Rett.
But Christmas Season....especially...Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas!
Yes, you are so right...He is the reason for every season but especially Christmas...which so many people celebrate without even REALIZING the reason behind the celebration.
I am so sorry that you feel judged by others for playing Santa with your kids. I too have felt the weight of guilt before and was even forced when my children were young to tell them b/c another family member told me that if we were going to LIE to our kids SHE was going to tell them the truth.
Now, with Josiah, we simply omit Santa. He has seen him and knows that he is pretend and a fun part of many peoples' Christmas and it's a secret so we can't tell others...but we aren't doing Santa this go round. But I sure don't think you are bad for choosing to!
Thanks for sharing your Christmas thoughts and traditions. I love hearing about how others celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Anonymous said...

My mom had a big conviction about the whole Santa thing. In our house, Santa was mentioned in song or story, but we were always raised to know the true reason for the season...again, because Mom had a strong conviction. Rett, if you have a conviction one way or the other, by all means, follow that conviction! As for me and my house...when Clayton or Katherine gets here...Jesus AND Santa will play a huge part of this season!

Love ya!