Sorry, Virginia, there isn't a Santa Claus.
I think I'm going to upset someone with this post. Oh well...
Why is it that at Christmas it's okay for your child to sit on the lap of a costumed complete stranger - one whom you have no idea where he was or what he was doing just an hour before? At any other time you would be clutching your child to you, running away from the laps of strange men like people running from a shark at the beach. And why else is it okay for said strange man to break into your house in the middle of the night while you and your children are SLEEPING? At any other time this would be a panicky situation and the police would be called.
And I don't want to hear about the "spirit of Christmas" making it okay. No. It's not fun. Imagine yourself as a 4-year-old. Mommy & Daddy are paranoid about making sure you don't go near strangers then they plop you down into the lap of one. He might be a child molester. You just don't know. And then telling that child he's going to break into your house?
There's a reason why children cry and scream when they see Santa. He's scary!
We don't do Santa at our house...but this is not (the whole reason) why we don't do Santa.
Now, I do appreciate Saint Nicholas and all he stands for. Saint Nicholas - the precursor to Santa Claus - was a Greek man and a Christian man. Nicholas was known for anonymously giving to those who had nothing. One of the most famous legends about him is when he provided a dowry for three young girls so that they could marry. He put the coins into their drying stockings hung over their fire.
In his legend, his name became the Dutch Sinterklaas (Saint Klaas). This gave way to the American Santa Claus, which roughly translates to Saint Claus (Claus being a short form of Nicholas).
So Santa was born out of the spirit of giving, which I think is wonderful. But in today's America, Christmas and Santa have come to represent the GIMME, GIMME, GIMME attitude of the world. We tend to think of Santa as a free pass to ask for and get whatever we want (provided we've been "good," which none of us really are).
We only give our children 3 gifts at Christmas. When the Magi came to see Jesus, he got 3 gifts, so that is our basis for 3. But we also do this to emphasize GIVING rather than RECEIVING. Marshall and I have worked hard to explain to the kids that we give presents to those we love as a way of showing that love. We only receive gifts because others love us.
Now, of course, we want the main point of Christmas to be Christ's birth. Not Santa & gifts. We want our children to know that while you can't see Jesus, He is there. His birth is why we have Christmas, not because we want presents. While watching Glee this week, one character said that Christmas trees were the "basis for Christmas." Um... no. I already covered trees before, but really. The world doesn't want us to think about Christmas having anything to do with Christ. I don't want to add to that for my children, Santa is a distraction.
Before we had children, we had friends (a revelation there!). One set of friends had two little girls and they said they did not do Santa. I was so intrigued and we talked at length about it. Marshall and I talked about it. We agreed.
One of the biggest reasons Marshall and I are not doing Santa in our house is that it is blatantly lying to children. Sure, it's pretend and fun, but my kids know when they're playing cowboys they're not really cowboys. With Santa, people want children to think he's actually real. I have a problem with that, purposely lying to my children. I can't do it. And if we lie about Santa, what's to keep them from thinking we're lying about God?
My kids know who Santa is. They've heard of him, but they will tell you that he's just a man in a costume. It's just pretend. They call "Santa hats" "Christmas hats," and most of the time little Santa figurines are called "Christmas men." We tell them about Saint Nicholas and how he was such a wonderful person who loved Jesus and people want to keep his spirit alive by pretending there's a Santa Claus.
Most of my friends do Santa with their children. I have told Sarah Bradley that people like to pretend he's real and to go along with it. But if she ruins it for your child, I'm sorry. But I won't apologize for for following my heart.