I need to add Mind Muffins to my links page. There are several I need to add and some I need to drop but that’s the hard part, as you can probably guess if you look at the page. I don’t really have any criteria for dropping sites from my list. There are blogs that I haven’t read in months or even years but when I think about dropping them there’s usually something that stops me like, “I used to really like that one a lot; I’ll try to start reading it again.” or “I’m still hoping he or she will start posting again,” or “I think he still reads my blog. He might get upset if I de-link him from no reason,” and so I keep it on the list. (I go through a similar mental process when I try to clean out my closet.)
Anyway, what I started out to write about is this post about Santa Claus.
I have mixed feelings about the whole Santa tradition. As it says on Wikipedia: “There has long been opposition to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. Some Christians say the Santa tradition detracts from the religious origins and purpose of Christmas. Other critics feel that Santa Claus is an elaborate lie, and that it is unethical for parents to teach their children to believe in his existence. Still others oppose Santa Claus as a symbol of the commercialization of the Christmas holiday, or as an intrusion upon their own national traditions.”
I don’t think parents should get all angsty about Santa Claus. To parents of young children or parents-to-be I say: As a parent you will have many decisions to make that are much more critical than belief in Santa Claus. Save your emotional energy for the important questions and let the little things take care of themselves. Santa Claus is just for fun. Don’t spoil the fun. However, do not try to keep the game running when your kids begin to doubt.
As for Santa being a symbol of the commercialization of Christmas – it doesn’t have to be. Santa’s elves do not make Transformers and Barbie dolls or whatever the kids are begging for this year. Get it? Buy your kids the Transformers or whatever and wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree with a tag that says it’s from mom and dad. Then on Christmas Eve after the little ones have gone to sleep put the Santa gifts under the tree. Make it something simple like a stuffed animal or a wooden train – something that looks like it could be handmade if the maker was really, really skilled. In short, take Santa Claus back from the stores.
I don’t think Santa Claus can legitimately be seen as an intrusion on other holiday traditions but rather an addition to them. The modern Santa is not a religious figure so there’s no reason that all kids couldn’t enjoy this harmless, just-for-fun tradition. You can still teach your kids your religious traditions and at the same time let them believe that Santa is just a jolly guy who loves to make kids happy.
Oh, I almost forgot. One more thing. I hate the “if you’re not good Santa won’t bring you any toys” threat. Yeah, I know… as a parent sometimes you’re desperate for anything to help you maintain a little control over your kids but there are so many reasons why this is not a good idea. One, what if they’re not good? Are you really going to make good on your threat of no toys for Christmas? If not, you’ve totally lost that control you were going for. Let’s be honest. Very few kids are good enough all year, or even for a whole month, to deserve toys. It’s not about what they deserve. It’s about love and happiness.