I Love Santa!
My oldest kids are ten now and I am compulsively honest, so of course they know about Santa Claus. The ruse was always very important to my husband when they were all little, because he loved how excited they all got about the idea of Santa visiting our house on Christmas eve. It is fantastic fun for parents and grandparents alike, and it only lasts for a few years. The funny thing is that when they started asking me about it I didn’t have to stall or lie, because when they asked me if Santa was real, I could honestly tell them yes. I believe in Santa Claus.
Christmas has always been about Santa for me. I probably got it directly from my mother, because she feels the same way. I grew up with my mom, who was a non-practicing protestant, and my dad who was agnostic. My mom loved the story of the birth of Christ, I remember that silent night was always her favorite carol, but she didn’t push much of the religious part of Christmas on me. It may have been out of respect for my father’s beliefs, or it may have been because all things religious made me very uncomfortable as a child. Whatever the case, we always focused on Santa the most, and that is our family tradition.
As I explained it to my kids, when I say that I believe in Santa, I am not talking about the guy with the suit and the beard. I believe that Santa is the spirit of giving, a spirit of love so strong and so bright that it can pull even the most broken hearted of souls into the light. Santa is the spirit that inspires the miracle of good will. His spirit inspires us to make whatever small gesture it takes to reach out and touch someone who needs to be reminded that they are not alone. His spirit is fueled by the excitement and joy that children generate in anticipation of his arrival, and that is why his presence is so powerful at Christmas time.
I understand that a great deal of excess, and disappointing materialism, have been drawn into the Christmas season. I think that it is an unfortunate thing, but it doesn’t diminish my love for Santa in any way. I think that for each and every family, it is important that we look at our own traditions, and our own practices surrounding the holiday. If we observe that things have become excessive, then we should change our practices for the benefit of our own family, and hope to set a good example for others.
It makes me sad when I see people arguing over one another’s traditions and choices of holiday celebration. I definitely believe that the point of the season is to bring people together rather than to pull them apart. Our differences are what make us all special, and I enjoy learning about how other people celebrate the holiday, and what it means to them. Through learning about, and respecting, the traditions of other people, we teach our children to be more tolerant of those who are different from them. We do a great service to the future by showing our kids that embracing our differences, rather than fearing them, creates a better world.
I taught my children about how in many countries around, Santa is believed to live in the northern part of Finland called Lapland. I had a Finnish friend when I was young who thought that it was absolutely hilarious that Americans believed Santa lived in some desolate tundra at the top of the globe. Logically, Lapland makes a lot more sense. Reindeer are native there, and the winters are actually survivable. I find it funny and beautiful, the way in which we all have different beliefs about things, and we sometimes don’t even know why. I know that most people don’t believe in Santa Claus exactly the same way that I do, and I don’t want for anyone to. I believe that each special thing that we hold in our hearts belongs to us as individuals. It is one of the things that makes Santa all the more special to me.