November 15, 2006

The Christmas Question.

I just got back from my oh-so-wonderful-and-refreshing-once-a-month-moms-meeting, and I'm really excited because we talked about CHRISTMAS. Christmas with kids. And how the heck you do it without running yourself into the ground at 600 mph in the name of all things Martha Stewart and Holiday Cheer-meister.

They talked of all the basics: how to teach the joy of GIVING and SERVING rather than the joy of GETTING and STUFFING FACE. They talked about charity and opening your home to those who are lonely and in need during the Christmas season. They talked about giving meaningful gifts and establishing traditions that teach the importance of the Holiday. They talked about listening to your heart instead of listening to the screamy, whiny American Merchandising Monster. It was great. I even took notes.

NOTES, people!

This is all great stuff and yadda yadda yadda, but then, finally, came the topic that I was dying to find an answer to. I shifted to the edge of my seat and readied my pen.

Let's talk Santa Claus.

I'm in that whole slew of mommies that doesn't want to lie to their children about Santa, but doesn't want to spoil the fun of it completely, either. Isn't there a way to tell your young children that he's not really real, but let's pretend like he's real anyways, and then WHATEVER YOU DO don't tell any of your friends at school that he's not really real but we're really pretending he really is?

No? I didn't think so.

The woman speaking told us what she did with her children growing up. She told them all the real story of St. Nick. She told them how he was a wealthy priest who lived long, long ago that gave very generous gifts anonymously to those who needed it in order to bless others without getting any credit or glory for his charity. St. Nick was said to have left three bags of gold in the houses of three poor families that had no dowry to marry their daughters with. Without a dowry, these girls couldn't marry and would be sold into slavery. His name, St. Nick, became synonymous with 'Anonymous Gift Giving'.

So, she told her kids this story, and then everyone would have a "St. Nick" present each year and the tag wouldn't say who it was from.

That way they still got to keep the fun of the 'secret gift'... and when the kids heard, "This one is from Santa", they knew it was from a secret family member gift-giver, not from a house-hopping, reindeer riding, cookie eating magic old dude in a red jumpsuit.

I thought that was a really cool way to do things. I love hearing about other family's Holiday Traditions. It's that time in our lives when Chris and I get to start forging our own. What traditions did you guys have in your families that were fun? What would you/do you do differently? How did your family navigate through the Christmas Madness?

Oh, and can I pirate some of those oh-so-special family traditions and make them my own?



Laura said...

This could be because I was a magical child (haha), but we really did do the "he's not really real, but let's pretend like he's real anyways, and then WHATEVER YOU DO don't tell any of your friends at school that he's not really real" thing. I LOVED Santa (still do) but never "believed" that he was real. He was this wonderful larger-than-life pretend figure of Christmas that was just another facet of this huge birthday celebration for Jesus. I'm not sure if I could ever achieve this with my own children, although I'd love to, and my husband cherishes his babyhood memories of "listening for Santa" on the roof, so it's left to be seen that we would do with our own family.

But I think there really is a way to do Santa without making him really real. Cause he IS real. Just not really real. ;)

Emery Jo said...

Laura, this sounds AWESOME. I'd love to do this! I'll have to talk to Chris and see if we think we could pull this off... the 'listening for santa' and 'santa's cookies' are some of the best childhood memories I have too. Thanks for letting me know it's possible!

Brandon's Mommy said...


Mommy & Nehemiah said...

Emery here is one of my favorite things about this season. Everyone in my family has an ornament theme and each year you get a new ornament. Mine are stockings, Casey's are musical notes, and Nehemiahs are snowman. others on my family are, rocking horses, angels and doves. Its fun to spend time finding the perfect one then each person puts their ornaments on the tree. Then if you are smart you by next years ornament after this chrismas when it 80% off.

Brandon's Mommy said...

If you are interested the most recent copy of parents magazine (dec 06) has a whole article dedicated to this exact problem and it has some very great advice and some advice from moms who went through it. It was a great read.

MoMar said...

This has plagued GENERATIONS of Moms. It's hard to ride the fence on this one, you either have to lie with gusto or tell the truth from the beginning. I hated the thought of Little Johnny running home to his parents sobbing "Jared, Jaxon and Emery Northon told me there wasn't any stupid Santa Claus". So I lied.

Em said...

We lied! Our kids are teenagers now...and we still lie. Why? Cause I truly love that touch of something magical and life so rarely offers that. Oh sure, they KNOW. But the spirit of Santa is the spirit of unconditional giving. At least that is what we try to get across to them. But the St. Nick story is a great way to go about it, as well. I think we all want the same thing...for our kids to have cherished memories. And anything you do with love will get you there.

Thanks for visiting my blog! That led me to your blog - which I totally enjoy!

Cheatwoods said...

I love it Momar! LOL

Lisa said...

That's really cool about St. Nick. What a cool tradition to do too.

Thanks for the idea. I want to steal it too!