Our Approach To The Man In Red

So the Father Christmas debate is always a hot topic this time of year. One side of the coin says you’re a big fat Scrooge if you shun him, ruining the magic of the season, the other half saying that they wont deceive their children that this fantasy figure is real. Then of course there is all the discomfort over using Santa Claus as bribery, because of course he only comes to all the good little boys and girls.

With all this in mind I wanted to share with you the way we approach Father Christmas in our home. I wont lie, when my son was born I wasn’t keen on keeping the tradition of Santa going. Both my husband and I were raised encouraged to believe. I have to say that although I’m sure I must have believed for many years, I have entirely no recollection of this time. My first memory concerning Santa is hearing my tipsy parents outside my bedroom door trying to quietly manoeuvre the gifts down the stairs. At the time I don’t remember feeling sad or disappointed, more a case of, “Ha! I knew it!” But I also remember knowing how important this make believe was to my parents and my younger brothers. I never did tell them I knew, I just played along. My mum still writes Love Santa xx on some of our gifts now and we are all three of us in our twenties – it’s part of the magic for her.

My husband and I discussed how we wanted to play things when we became parents, and for him, Christmas isn’t Christmas without Santa Claus. I was still very uncomfortable portraying something untrue to my son, his trust is so important to me and I didn’t want to do anything to break that, which includes telling him outright lies. But we came to a happy compromise that works for all of us. In the same way that I don’t feel the need to explain that the Gruffalo is a fantasy creature each time I read the book, the same applies to the special Christmas books featuring Santa which are bought out for the season. I have no issue with books, movies, or songs about Father Christmas. When it comes to presents, we are very frugal. It is important to us not to instil materialism and consumerism, greed and dissatisfaction in his young mind, and as such, he will not be getting a mountain of toys. We work hard to be able to afford the things we do buy and as we don’t lavish gifts on him, when we do give him something, we tell him who its from. His grandparents buy him one thing each and they are given the credit for the gifts. So although his presents from us may be squeezed in to a stocking for him to open on Christmas morning, those gifts are from Mama and Daddy. There is no mention of Santa. Perhaps he will assume otherwise as he gets older, but that is up to him. The wrappings are blank, if he hears about Santa and wants it to be true, I wont correct him. It is his right to believe. What I wont do is create the belief for him.

For our family, the magic of Christmas is not about the gifts – it is about family, sharing a meal, laughing, playing games, having a walk on the beach. Togetherness. We have traditions like any other family – we decorate our home, we eat a traditional stolen whilst watching a Christmas movie, we have a party every Christmas eve with my dad’s side of the family who traditionally celebrate their Christmas then.

There is magic. And it goes far deeper than desiring presents. This is the kind of magic that cant be lost as age brings new knowledge. So many children feel disappointed and loose the spirit of Christmas when they discover the truth about Santa, but if Christmas is about more than this jolly man, if they never believed in the first place, then there is nothing to loose – the magic continues year after year.

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How do you approach the issue of Santa Claus in your home? And what will your little ones be receiving for Christmas this year?

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One thought on “Our Approach To The Man In Red”

  1. Honestly, I thought Santa Claus is going to be a big issue. Me and my husband don’t really want to fo the overzealous Santa worship thing that some families fall into..But the extended family is into Santa and would think that we’re depriving poor child of a proper childhood if we didn’t “do Santa”.
    In reality it turned out to be very easy 🙂 The first couple of Christmases R was too young to get what was going on. This year, however, (he’s almost 3), the holidays really make way more sense to him.
    And thanks to a gift of Raymond Briggs’ “Father Christmas” book from the previous year, R has been very into Santa. But we don’t treat it differently to any other story (in fact, our approach to Christmas and Christmas magic is actually very similar 🙂 ). The gifts he will receive are from his parents, family and friends. I’m getting no Santa gift and I honestly see no need. There was a Santa visiting R’s nursery so kids got a “gift from Santa”, he also requested we go to Santa’s grotto in the shopping centre and got a little car from “the man himself” 🙂 where’s the need to get more Santa presents?
    I do feel somewhat sad for people who tie their Christmas magic into Santa belief. What about the lights, the music, the frosty air, nice food and being with people you love? It is still very special (although a bit stressful due to work commitments :/) time for me, even though I never believed in Santa 🙂

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