Last year I shared how I would ideally like to teach my children about Santa. I grew up in an environment that focused on the birth of Christ, the gathering of family, and the kindness of Saint Nicholas. Santa was just a fun little game we played. I don’t ever remember believing in Santa Claus. I, of course, thought this would be the perfect way to raise my children.
“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.” –A Question of Santa Claus, written by me, 2010
This year, it has become abundantly clear that my husband does not agree with me on this. For him, having children with visions of reindeers and elves and Santa Claus dancing in their heads is part of the magic of Christmas. Cameron knows all about Santa this year. He has watched the Christmas specials and read the books. He has even met the big guy in person. “Hi Danda!”. Dan wants Cameron’s big gift to come from Santa whereas I would rather the stocking and something little come from him (why should a fictional character get all the credit?).
Clearly, my husband and I do not see eye to eye on this issue.
Despite being called “Grinch” more times than I can count this year, I have given this one to my husband – for now. I have my reasons, the least of which is that my husband has been very gracious about spending Christmas at my parents’ house one more time before we start our own traditions. But it isn’t fair to assume I’ve given up on something I believe strongly in.
You see, even though Cameron’s first Christmas has come and gone, Christmas is virtually completely new for him. Cam is experiencing everything for what seems to be the first time – the Christmas tree, the festive lights, the presents and the bows, the music… He is loving it! When people ask me if Cam is getting excited for Christmas – I don’t know how to answer them. Christmas – the season – is wonderful for him. He doesn’t actually realize that there will come a day when all of this will draw together to a climax. He doesn’t realize that this big friendly guy dressed in red is supposed to come down the chimney and deliver gifts that will reveal toys when unwrapped. Cameron doesn’t realize that he is supposed to be excited for this.
Instead, every day since the decorations went up and the snow started to fall, Cameron has been celebrating this season. He claps whenever the tree lights up. He picks out bows and places presents under the tree with no desire to unwrap them. He stares in wonder at the Christmas lights that decorate our neighbourhood. Christmas isn’t a day for him. Christmas is a season. It is a celebration. And even though he seems to see more Santas than “Beebee Jeesus”, even though neither of these narratives are really strong in his mind, I think he grasps the meaning of Christmas better than any of us.
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
– How the Grinch Stole Christmas
So Santa can stay, as long as Cameron maintains this Christmas innocence that teaches us all how to celebrate this season just a little bit better.
Santa, Mommy, and Cameron – 21 months