Tom and I declared Santa-free Christmases for our not-yet-existent children years ago. To the great horror and dismay of our families, I may add. We've been accused of "ruining the joy of the season" for them, um, no, the joy of season, is my number one reason. This Christmas we still aren't parents, but we do have a little one living with us, one too little to care about Santa at all...but she sure does love Jesus! So, it hasn't been too bad with all the Santa in our faces stuff, but if she were a year older it would be.
So, I have taken the liberty and typed up this handy list of the top ten reasons Santa isn't going to be a part of our Christmases!
9. He enslaves elves. Come on now, slavery is not something I want to teach my kids. "Yes, kids, you got all of these wonderful gifts because Santa has little people slaving away all day, all year just to make YOU happy." Um, no.
8. It's a total bully technique. "You be good, or it's nothing but coal for you." No. We're not bullying our kids into submission with idle threats anymore than we will with a switch.
7. We want our kids to keep their promises. We aren't going to give them the example of making promises we can't keep, or making threats we won't keep. I'm not promising my kids that some fat guy in a red suit can get them all their little hearts desire, when I can't keep that promise, and I'm not threatening them with the loss of presents when I would never keep that. I want my kids to know that your words mean something, and they are important and need to be kept.
6. We don't believe in intentionally lying to children. Pretend play and imagination is wonderful, when child centered and child led. It's one thing to have your child make up an imaginary friend, and to indulge in that by setting an extra place at the table or 'talking' to them, and a whole other thing to create it and force it for years. That's a lie, and lying is not a trait I wish to instill in my children.
5. Greed. I don't want greedy kids, I want appreciative, grateful kids. The idea behind Santa is that you make a list of all your heart's desires and he fulfills. It's all about you and making you happy. Not how it works. You get gifts because people care about you, and want to do something nice for you. Sometimes it'll be something you really wanted, and that's great! Other times it won't be, and that's still great! Because either way, someone thought of YOU, and took the time to do something for you. When the gifts come from someone, rather than some invisible, hard to grasp figure it's easier to understand and show gratitude.
4. I want them to appreciate the hard work that went into it. This really follows along with my last point, but in our little world everyone works hard for their money, and extra money is not something easily obtained. So, for someone to scrape together enough money to get you something special is a really big deal. When you see who it came from, and couple that with how hard they work you can be more grateful to that person. Also, the gift means more coming from Aunt Whoever than from some random stranger.
3. The real St. Nicholas was one awesome dude, and should not be minimized by a fat guy in a red suit with flying reindeer. His story is much more awesome, and he was a man of God, that's the story I want to tell my kids every year, because that's the behavior I want them to emulate...well, maybe not the punching a heretic part...but, the rest.
2. He has the omnipresence of God. And, just no. We aren't allowing our kids to spend November-December worshiping some pretend god, when we spend 365 days with the real God. Santa does not have the same all seeing, all knowing power that God alone has, and I will not try to convince my children otherwise.
1. Jesus. We want the focus to be on Christ alone. No distractions, no other "more important" goals. We want to help others all year, go out of our way to love others all year, and spread Christ's love all year. But, yeah, we want to amp it up a little more at Christmas so we can remind others Who we serve and why. Jesus is watching, not Santa. And, I want my kids to live in a way that honors and glorifies God, not in a way that will get them more presents.
I'm not at all saying that these things can't be accomplished with Santa in the picture, I'm just saying we're choosing not to, and these are our personal reasons why. You may disagree, and you may have stellar reasons for "doing Santa" that's great! I'm not judging you, I wrote this to show my family every time I hear "How dare you take Santa out of Christmas!"