My husband and I have had to make many tough lifestyle changes lately to keep with our convictions. Some are tough because they push us out of our comfort zone. Some are tough because they are forcing us to let go of our worldly attitudes and mindsets. The toughest of all, for me, are those that effect our children.
Among the things we have been convicted about recently is the need to make the Lord the focal point of our household. That means not just talking to talk, but also walking the walk. Our children need to see us putting forth a Godly example. One thing that has been on the hearts of my husband and myself is the issue of Christmas, or more specifically, Santa.
Since my oldest was born I have always gone out of my way to make Christmas a big deal. (Probably to make up to her for the many Christmases I spent as a child feeling unloved and unwanted, but that’s a story for another day.) After 5 years, the result has been a rather spoiled child who only cares about getting “stuff” on Christmas, and couldn’t care less about the real meaning of Christmas.
My husband and I have spoken together at length about what to do here. While we want to shift her focus to what’s truly important on Christmas, we also don’t want to break her heart or permanently scar her. We have talked, prayed, talked some more and prayed some more. Finally, we made the decision that Santa will no longer exist in our household. I was worried about how my daughter would take the news, but in my heart I knew I was doing what was best.
This afternoon, as we sat around the table eating lunch, I let her know the truth about Santa. Much to my surprise, she was not the least bit bothered by it! Actually, she seemed to already know, though I’m not sure how! I explained to her that Mommy is always the one who bought the presents, and Daddy is the one who eats the cookies and drinks the milk that she leaves out. This prompted other questions from her, about the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. I was honest with her about everything. She was so mature about it, and didn’t get upset once! She then asked what we would do for Christmas from now on, since there’s no real Santa. I told her that, since Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus, would bake a bake a birthday cake on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and have eat the cake. (She was very excited about that!) I also assured her that we would still exchange presents, but there would be far less, because getting presents is not what the special day is all about. She took it all amazingly well! I have been so worried and anxious about having this conversation with her, but she is just fine! I thank the Lord for that because, truly, I do not want to break her heart or sadden her in any way.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have never felt right about Santa Claus anyway, because when she would ask me direct questions I would have to tell her lies to keep the “fun” going. (I do not like having to lie to my children, even if it is all in good fun.) I also feel optimistic knowing that from here on out we can put the focus of Christmas right where is should be: on the birth of our wonderful Savior who died for us, so we might have a place in heaven with him.