Friday, December 23, 2011

The S Word

The S Word = Santa.  I'll clarify that now, in case anyone thinks Daniel has taken to cussing.  He hasn't.  Yet.

Every family has to figure out pretty quickly after having kids what they will do with the Santa issue.  For us, the real decision happened this year when Daniel was 4.  Old enough to ask the real questions, young enough to still be sweetly naive.

I could write forever on this, but it came down to a simple statement that we couldn't get out of our heads.

"Our words are true."

Often, and usually in the middle of catching one of our kids trying to get a "yes" from a parent when the other has said "no", we have said this line to our kids.  "Mommy and Daddy's words are true."  The second line is often, "So if Mommy said no, Daddy will say no too" or "So when I said you will get a time out, I meant it."

And for us, the Santa issue boils down to an issue of believing what your parents tell you.  Even if it means tough conversations.  Even if it means redirection if they aren't old enough for the tough conversation (read: sex, death, etc).  And even if it means risking that they will spill the beans at school with another child who DOES believe Santa is real.  I just can't rationalize lying to my kiddo in order to protect the imagination of another child.  (It's ok if you want to yell at me when my 2-year-old ruins it for your kid.  I can take it.)

So, this year we told Daniel and Violet that Santa is pretend.  They asked and we answered:  He is based on a real historical figure (the Veggie Tales version of St. Nicholas is fabulous, by the way) and it's fun to pretend with Santa, watch movies about him, hang some ornaments on the tree with his face on them.  But he is pretend.  We don't open presents from him, we don't write letters to him, and we talk WAY more about the faith-based meaning of Christmas than about the commercialization bit.

I do think we made the right choice for our family.  We had a photo done with Santa recently, and Daniel and Violet had a blast.  The next day, Daniel said, "Mommy, is God real?  Because you told me Santa is pretend but I saw him last night.  So maybe Santa is real and God is pretend."  Talk about dangerous.  It led to a great conversation and Daniel has been crystal clear since then on real vs pretend in the world of God and Santa.  But it illuminated CLEARLY that my validation of truth to him is his foundation.  He can question and postulate based on that foundation, but we as parents are responsible for the base knowledge.  And I'm not risking messing that up.

So, there you go.  Our take on Santa in the Amaro house.  Ho ho ho, y'all.  

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