Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Jolly Old [Dead] Nicholas"

Warning: If you still believe in Santa Clause, read no further.

From the beginning, we decided we didn't want our kids to believe in Santa Claus. It's not that we're Santaphobic. Our kids own a Santa hat, and enjoy television specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Our thought was that if they believe in both Santa and Jesus; then one day find out that Santa isn't real, what will they think of all we've told them about Jesus?
Here's where the tricky part comes. We didn't want our kids breaking the news to other children who believe and spoiling the joy that the other parents wanted to their children to have in that idea. But kids have big mouths. The solution we came up with was to tell our kids about St. Nicholas explaining that he was a kind man who lived many years ago and is now called Santa. We thought the idea was brilliant since then they wouldn't tell others that Santa wasn't real. We told them this; and inevitably, the questions came. Here a sampling of last year's conversation:
"So, Santa's real?"
"Well, he was a real person who lived a long time ago. But the Santa you see in the mall is just a regular man dressed up; the real St. Nicholas isn't around anymore."
"So, he's dead?"
"Uh..." (alarms go off in my head) "Well, yes he is."
"Who shot him?"
"Nobody shot him."
"Then how'd he die?"
"I believe he died of old age."
Fast forward to last week in Michigan at a party with my sister-in-law's two little nephews. (Yep, you see where this is headed.) The kids were all playing together when one of the little nephews came running out to his mother.
"Mom, is Santa Claus dead!?!"
So, I obviously had to have an emergency meeting with Isaiah. I explained that many kids believe in Santa, and that it's what their mommies and daddies want them to believe. I continued to explain that it is not our place to contradict them if they talk about Santa. I told him that it's probably better not to say anything at all about Santa to other children.
Indignantly he replied, "Mom! Why would parents tell their children something like that!"
Great. I've created a self-righteous Santa Claus expert. This parenting thing is so much harder than I ever dreamed.

1 comment:

  1. haha, you guys are so funny! when I used to teach pre-school, there was always a big divide with the kids during the holidays, those that believed in santa vs those that didn't. it's amazing how debating starts at such a young age! haha. Cute picture by the way. You really need to work for a children's magazine!


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