Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year. It is always full of magic and beauty and joy and fun. As a child I used to have such a hard time falling asleep on Christmas Eve as I was so full of anticipation for the following day. Now, I look forward to the time surrounding Christmas with as much excitement as I do Christmas morning.
I had all of this Christmas wonder in my life without ever believing in Santa Claus.
You heard me. I never, ever believed in Santa.
I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything. We still played the part. I wrote letters to Santa and I laid out cookies and milk for him the night before Christmas. Together our family would wonder aloud where Santa would be delivering presents at any given time on Christmas Eve.
But I never believed. It was more like a fun game.
What I certainly didn’t miss was that feeling of disappointment when kids actually figure out that their Christmas hero is make-believe.
So now, as I find myself a parent this Christmas, I wonder how we should approach the notion of Santa? My initial inclination is to not pretend that Santa is real. I am all for facilitating and celebrating imagination within my children, but I really don’t want Santa Claus to become the central story of their Christmasses. There is a much better Christmas story to focus their attention on.
This doesn’t mean that my family won’t have fun with the notion of Santa. We will still bake cookies for Santa and leave carrots for his reindeer. There might even be a present under the tree from the big guy. We will tell the kiddies to hang their stockings and remind them to sleep well on Christmas Eve and that Santa knows if they are bad or good. But it will all only be a fun little game we play.
I am unsure whether my husband agrees with me or not. I have a feeling that he will be way more interested in having our children believe. So maybe that makes me Mama Scrooge. But, I really don’t think believing in Santa Claus is a crucial part of growing up.
Luckily, we have a little while before Cameron understands anything about Santa at all. Until next year…