I was shocked, or I guess surprised would be a better word, while reading the comments over at Owlhaven that some folks don't "do" Santa, the Easter Bunny and/or the Tooth Fairy. Now I feel my statement needs a bit of qualifying as to not offend anybody. I was shocked or surprised because I have literally never met anyone who just didn't "do" Santa etc. It's never occurred to me that was an option. Obviously I was brought up believing they all existed. Reading through the arguments against fostering such a belief in small children I can see their side of it. I get it. You don't want to lie to your children. You don't want to take the focus of the holiday off Jesus. I just don't necessarily buy into it and that is strictly my opinion. Personally, I just don't see them as being mutually exclusive.
My feeling is this, there is wonder and magic in being a child and that is available to them for such a very short time. The window of opportunity given for believing in such things is small, less than a decade I would estimate. I guess when looking at the average life span I really don't see the harm in allowing them to indulge in a little make believe.
Now, for fun, let's bring Jesus into the equation. By far the biggest argument against "doing" the Santa et al thing was it detracted from the religious meanings of the holidays they are associated with. To that I say, only if you let it. Let me, again, reiterate I am in no way trying to offend just trying to state my own feelings in regards to my own family. You see in these parts, I'm the Mom and that's really code for saying I'm in charge. I'm in charge of what they eat, who they spend time with, when they go to bed, what chores I expect the them to do and so on. I am also in charge of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jesus. Now I agree the latter is borderline blasphemes, but hear me out. Abby and Maya go to church because they are taken to church. Abby believes in Jesus because she's been taught to believe in Jesus. She's in the choir, well she's in the choir because her little friend joined first, but you know what? He quit and she's still there, week after week, practice after practice singing praises to the Lord. Why? Because she's in an environment that encourages her to do that. If I was a different person it might not be that way, but I am and it is.
This past Christmas Abby knew we were "celebrating for Jesus". We read the Christmas Story. She knew it was His birthday. Was that in anyway negated by leaving oatmeal outside for the reindeer? Or reading T'was the Night Before Christmas? Or leaving milk and cookies out for Santa? Or opening the stockings he packed? No, not at all. Did Santa stuff a multitude of extravagant presents under our tree. No he did not, the girls got one gift each from Santa. Do we use him as a threat or bargaining chip? No, although faithful readers will remember that Mike slipped up and did so once this past year. Only once though folks. This past Christmas Eve we went to church in the morning and Abby sang Away in the Manger with the choir. Our families were there to hear her sing. She was excited. The next morning she awoke to find the reindeer food gone. She was excited. Our family was there to be excited with her. Now we have wonderful memories of both. Personally I don't think I need to pick one over the other.