Jesus versus Santa

I love Christmas and all the hoop la that goes along with it. I love giving and receiving presents, I love Christmas decorations, I love Santa, I love that the whole world has a birthday party for Jesus, I love the food, I love the tradition and I love the special time with family and friends. At about 5 am on Christmas Day I would wake up to find my Santa Sack (pillow case) filled to the brim at the end of my bed. My parents had very well defined ‘Christmas Day Wake up Rules’ which were strictly followed.  All children had to be showered, dressed and have eaten breakfast before dragging said parents out of bed to open presents under the Christmas Tree. Prior to Christmas Day I would put tiny little rips in all the presents under the tree that had my name on it, so that I could peek inside. My Dad wouldn’t put his presents under the tree until we were all in bed on Christmas Eve and it would always feel like Santa had really been. It was truly magical.

Prior to having children I once attended a Church Newcomers Meeting and during an open question time the leadership were hammered with questions about what their ‘stand’ was on Santa Claus. I was shocked. I had no idea that this was an issue. When Poppy was born I was presented with the question of ‘What to do about Santa?’ I was completely torn, on one hand I wanted to give Poppy the joy that I had as a child believing that Santa was totally real and that he delivered toys worldwide by sleigh on Christmas Eve. On the other hand I didn’t want to lie to her or blur the line on fantasy and reality. I heard a true story from a woman (in her 60’s now) who loved and adored her mother. When she was told by some other children that Santa was not real she vehemently defended his existence saying to the other children that ‘her mother would never lie to her’. She was gutted when she found out her mother had indeed done so.

Thanks to the valuable input of others who have gone before I believe John and I have adopted the best of both worlds. Right from the beginning we have told Poppy that Jesus is real, Santa is not but it is fun to pretend, and pretend we will. This applies to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth fairy as well.  Poppy, at 3 years old,  made us laugh when she said indigantlysaid ‘’Mum Santa IS real, I saw him at the mall’. Poppy knows the truth but totally enjoys the ‘make believe’ element of Santa like every other child. We put carrots out for the reindeers and cookies for Santa and do everything any other family would do.  She loves it and so do we. FYI… we do tell her that lots of kids don’t know that Santa is not real – so please don’t tell them!

This whole approach encourages Poppy to engage her imagination the same as she does every night when she read books about mythical make believe creatures such as fairies, unicorns and monsters. When I was a just little older than Poppy is now I remember getting lost in Enid Blytons the Faraway Tree. As long as what is real is real and what is pretend is pretend. Not every parenting decision has been as easy to adjudicate but I am glad this one has.

Over and Out,

Catherine

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