|Belief in the big red guy is a rite of passage for many American kids.|
Growing up, I never really gave Santa a second thought. He just was. Once I became a parent, it also never crossed my mind for even a moment to not share the magic of Santa with my own children. It wasn't until a few years ago that I even realized that there are people who are against letting their kids believe in jolly old St. Nick for a whole multitude of reasons.
For some, it's a religious conviction that nothing should be equal to or above God. I guess that makes sense, looking back at my own childhood belief in Santa. For others, it's that they don't want to lie to their children or possibly upset them when they do find out the truth. I've met many who feel strongly that Christmas should be Santa-free to honor "the reason for the season". I'm sure there are even more reasons to avoid the Santa trap that I am either overlooking or not aware of.
Coming into parenthood, I was a practicing solitary Wiccan. When it came to Christmas, we observed it in a purely secular manner. That said, even then I felt a sense of wonder and joy at this time of year. I wanted my children to have those same magical moments. As time went on and we converted to Christianity, we still allowed Santa to have a place in our home, but I felt increasingly uncomfortable with it. The one year we decided to bar Santa talk from our home and from around our sons...well, let's just say it did not go over well. Of course by then Santa was pretty well ingrained in our home.
When our youngest was born, we did talk about maybe not even introducing the concept to her. Our boys would soon be old enough to no longer believe and we could just do away with Santa. I'm still not sure exactly how we ended up doing another round of Santa believing in this house, but we have. At first I was uncomfortable, but now I'm glad. The further I get from organized religion, the more I value these fleeting moments of childhood magic. I know that I personally have let go of quite a bit of my childlike wonder at the world around me. It's amazing to see the holidays through the eyes of my children again.
What about you? How does your family celebrate the holiday season?