It’s almost that time of year. Leaves are changing. Lattes are pumpkin spicing. Winter is coming…
And with winter comes Christmas time. I obviously don’t remember if this conversation existed when my parents were in their early 30s, but it exists now. I have friends and family that don’t intend to talk about Santa Claus in their homes. Of course, that’s a valid life choice, it’s understandable and fair.
But we plan to have Santa come to our house, at least until Jack finds this blog and discovers the horrible truth-- that his parents are terrible liars and made up some creep to infiltrate our home each year and leave us gifts.
I don’t think it’s wrong to not have Santa, but I also happen to think it’s ok to celebrate Christmas with Santa as well, which is why we’re doing just that!
So, why, what good reasons do we have for continuing the tradition of St Nicholas?
I think the first reason is that there is magic in the world. When we tell Jack and Phoebe that a jolly old soul comes down our… wait, we don’t have a chimney, I guess he comes up our sump pump then, yeah, when we tell them that… we’ll be telling them that magic things happen in our world. Maybe not the same kind of magic, but magic either way.
As a kid, I believed in magic, spells, wizards, Santa Claus, Easter bunny, whatever. As I got older I realized that magic doesn’t exist in our world. And I was angsty about it for awhile… but over time I’ve come to see that magic is very real, just different than I used to believe. Santa tells kids that some people are generous and kind, for no reason other than just being generous and kind.
We were poor, but I remember some wonderful folks brought us presents some years. I had nice jeans and a nice sweater because of that. Those people weren’t Santa, but were they any less magical?
The second reason is that imagination is fun. The world needs more daydreamers, more people willing to ask “what if?” Jack and Phoebe will have plenty of time to see the sober reality, but not always plenty of time to unleash what could be. I believe God made us creative, and stories are part of that. What a wonderful story, a fat old version of Tim Allen lives in a hut at the North Pole and brings us toys every year, because toys are fun.
Imagination unlocks truth that fact sometimes can’t. Stephen King calls fiction “lies that tell the truth.” The truth is that sometimes imagination is just as important as what is “real.”
Sometimes people say they don’t want to do Santa because it’s a lie. But I think when you explain the truth (that Santa isn’t real) it gives you a great opportunity to explain harmful lies vs good lies. Situations call for different responses. The response sometimes is that kids won’t trust their parents because Santa isn’t real, what else are the parents lying about. But my own anecdotal experience wasn’t that at all. I trusted my mom even after I found out Santa wasn’t real (hilariously, my response when she told us was to ask about the Easter bunny… cuz that’s more believable!).
Some might say Santa takes away the REAL reason for the season, Jesus and his birth. But isn’t that just a different type of generosity? Can a child understand the generosity of God, or the generosity of a toy maker more easily? I think it gives a great lesson in the generosity of God, when we tell stories about the generosity of Tim Allen…
I don’t think people are wrong to skip out on Santa, but those are just a few reasons why we’re doing Santa in our house. Santa is a gift we’re giving our kids, a fun time, and I think we have good reasons for it.