Here’s the deal with Santa: He doesn’t exist. At least not for our child/future children. We came to an agreement last year that we would not perpetuate that particular myth in our home and we still feel pretty good about that decision. We have come up with numerous ideas for traditions that we will implement in place of the Jolly Old Elf and we are hopeful that our children will still feel the magic of Christmas without the belief in a magical visitation from Santa Claus.
But here’s the other deal: We don’t have any idea what the consequences of that decision will be. Will the child(ren) feel that they are missing out on something because Santa visits all of their friends? Will they spoil it for the other children by telling them the “truth” about Santa? Will the traditions we have help them to feel the “magic” of Christmas even if they don’t get a magical visit on midnight Christmas Eve? These are somethings I am starting to think about as Simon has grown into a little boy. This year it doesn’t matter so much — all he thinks about right now are lights and babies — but next year it might.
Right now our plan is to focus on the giving and on Christ. We plan to do a lot of homemade gifts so that the kids are focused on making and doing things for others and have less time to think about what they are going to get. We plan to keep up with our CookieFest tradtion (which was kind of curtailed this year for various reasons and ended up producing less than 200 cookies — pathetic, I know) and on learning about other cultures during the Christmas season, which was a tradition in both of our families growing up. We are thinking about making a box or some sort of container in which the kids can put ideas about a “gift” they could give to Christ for his birthday or things that they noticed about others that were Christ-like. And when they are older we’ll probably have a family Christmas project — doing a Secret Santa or 12 Days of Christmas for a neighbor, something like that. And we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the magic really is in the giving of Christmas, because I wouldn’t want my kids to miss out on that.