The Great Santa Debate

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

Yes, you guessed it, I have uncovered yet another article that has led me to a blog posting that I really think almost any of my Every Woman blogger cohorts could write. Even if you don’t have kids, you have an opinion about whether little kids should believe in Santa Claus or not.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even remember how old I was when I realized that Santa Claus’ boots were really filled by my mom and dad. There was the year that I got a bicycle: I remember sneaking to the den only to find the doors closed and voices coming from behind. I think that “Santa” was probably saying some choice words over that Strawberry Shortcake bicycle that night! As we got older, my brother and I would actually go on hunts to find our Christmas gifts after we knew our parents had gone shopping. Instead of disappointment, it almost became a game; to see if we could find them, and to (secretly) make fun of their lame hiding places. The big, huge, flat box under my parent’s bed was a dead giveaway that a ping pong table would be standing beside the Christmas tree. There were the oddly shaped items covered with quilts in my parent’s closet. Surely, they didn’t think that we honestly believed that the quilts and afghans stood up by themselves. Then there was the year I asked for a telephone for my bedroom. Ah, yes, then came the day my mom asked me to clean up the living room where she had been wrapping Christmas gifts. And there, on the floor, was the receipt for a telephone, and we certainly didn’t have any new ones in the house at that point. The gig was definitely up at that point. When questioned, my mama said I shouldn’t have been so nosey. Really? She left the receipt on the floor!

Those are actually fond, fun memories for me- not earth shattering news that has me in therapy in my mid-thirties! It actually meant the world to me that my parents always paid attention to what I truly wanted and that most of the time it was there, under the tree. Although, I’m still a little scarred over never having gotten that pony. In all seriousness, I learned some valuable lessons watching my parents on those Christmas mornings of my childhood. My dad, who is the least outright affectionate man on the earth, always, gave my mom some beautiful piece of jewelry or beautiful outfits that he knew she would love. And it went beyond just the gift itself; often the fun part was watching her receive the gift. There was the year he wrapped a ring in a microwave box (please remember this was the 80’s, so this box was enormous), and there were magazines and even a brick or two inside the box. There were multiple wrapped boxes inside each other until she got down to the tiny ring box. From those early Christmas mornings, I learned to pay attention to what people liked and disliked and I learned how special it made them feel to receive something that so much careful consideration had been given to.

My point in writing this is that there are so many who think that allowing children to believe in Santa Claus is harmful, in some way, to them. I wholeheartedly disagree. I will not take the credit for the following, as it was something I found on Pinterest, that fully echoes the sentiment of those of us who truly believe that children can learn valuable lessons from Santa, not just selfishness and greed.

“Dear Ryan, You asked a really good question, “Are Mom and Dad really Santa?” We know that you want to know the answer, and we had to give it careful thought to know just what to say. The answer is No. We are not Santa. There is no single Santa. We are the people who fill you stocking and choose and wrap the presents under the tree – just as our parents did for us, their parents did for them, and you will do for your kids someday. This could never make any of us Santa, though. Santa is lots and lots of people who keep the Spirit of Christmas alive. He lives in our hearts – not at the North Pole. Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others. What he does is teach children to believe in something they cannot see or touch. Throughout your life you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your family, in your friends, and in God.”

This explains perfectly why the belief in Santa is not necessarily bad and why my children will continue to believe for a while yet, I do hope anyway. I am not ready to see an end to the magic.