[Let's just get this our here folks, no judgement please.
As for me and my household, Santa is not real, and we gently explain that
when the time comes and the questions are asked.
We make it clear that other families may believe in Santa and that's okay too.]
"In our house, mama and daddy put the presents under the tree."
Last week we went to a Christmas event and Santa was present. On our way in I reminded the boys of the general rules:
1. Do not ask Santa if he is real ("We already know that he is not, and this is a fun time to just pretend and be silly, kind of like we do at Halloween.")
2. Do not mention around all the children in there that Santa is not real. ("Other families may believe in him and it's not our job to tell them differently.")
We went in and decorated cookies with friends, and then before we left the boys wanted to visit with Santa. They were so excited to share what they wanted for Christmas and it was as if the most famous celebrity in the world was in the room. They were completely starstruck. (we let them have fun with the santa thing, it's not like we are shielding them from the fun stuff)
Max and Eli sat on his lap (Gabriel hid behind me because he is so shy) and when asked what he wanted for Christmas Max told Santa that he wanted a policeman lego set. But Santa was not impressed. "You mean to tell me you don't have enough legos at home? I bet your mom and dad are tired of stepping on them."
[Actually, we don't have a ton of legos and we bought them more for Christmas.]
Then he went to Gabriel, and asked what his wishes were for Christmas. "I want a nerf gun." Santa straight told him no and moved on to Eli. Then Gabriel quickly changed his mind as to not miss out on the opportunity to have Santa's blessing over his gift wish. So he asked for legos too. Santa was not impressed. Eli mumbled that he wanted "guys" (action figures) and then Santa told the boys that if they could go then next 13 days, 7 hours and 4 minutes without fighting that he would make sure that there was a special gift under the tree for each boy. And then he said "But I'm guessing you boys won't make it til the end of the night."
The boys wanted a picture with him, so I took one. Even though my heart ached a little bit at the fact that that was not "fun and silly" at all. It's okay if I tell my boys that I'm tired of picking up legos and stepping on them, and it's okay if I tell Gabriel "no nerf guns" but it was not so much fun hearing it from Santa.
When we finally made it in to the car, the fighting started right away (as it always does after sugar has been devoured at record pace) and I turned around and hollered "YOU KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS? IT'S A GOOD THING SANTA IS NOT REAL!!!" That got their attention real quick. "Why would you say that mom!? That's so MEAN!" they told me. Then I went on with words that sounded something like this:
"It's a good thing Santa is not real because Santa ONLY brings toys to kids who are PREFECT. He has a good list and a bad list and by the way you guys are acting right now- do you think he would be writing your names on the good list? He told you he would ONLY bring those presents if you guys don't fight for THIRTEEN more days. You guys didn't make it THIRTEEN SECONDS. Mom and dad love you unconditionally and we don't put presents under the tree because you guys deserve it or have earned it by being "good boys." We bless you with gifts because we love blessing you with special things sometimes, whether you have been making good choices OR bad. God works the same way. He provides for us and gives us what we need EVEN THOUGH WE DON'T DESERVE IT. He doesn't JUST give us gifts if we are "good", be gives us what we need no matter what. So it's a GOOD thing Santa isn't in charge or NONE OF US WOULD GET GIFTS at Christmas."
Harsh right? Not really. I told them in a loving way, at a crucial moment, where I had their attention and they were teachable.
I want my boys to be secure in the unconditional love and care of God our Father. I want them to know that even when we screw up, and fight with our brothers, and disobey and are rude, that there is redemption through a forgiving Jesus who gives us second chances... all the second chances we need, over and over and over again when we ask.
I want my boys to find hope and security in a God that provides and pours down blessings even when we don't deserve it, and I want them to learn from an early age, because I did and I am still learning to understand it.
Okay, just had to get that out. More so for me.
My parents did an awesome job of keeping Christmas sacred and holy, with a little bit of the silliness of Santa and reindeer and all that jazz. I hope to be able to do the same.
This mom stuff is hard. SO hard.