Pro Santa or No Santa? {A New Mom’s Thoughts on Ol’ St. Nick}

A few weeks ago as the holiday season loomed ahead, I decided I wanted to do a cute little post on Santa. Just for kicks, I asked a couple of people their opinions on doing Santa for their children. Yeah, to say their stances conflicted is an understatement.

This intrigued me. I decided to post an anonymous survey to get even more parents’ opinions on Santa. I was completely blown away by the response I received. People have very strong opinions on the jolly ol’ man! Over 100 responses later, here are some of the results:

Will you tell your children that there is a Santa?

84% Yes

16% No

Will you give your children gifts that are exclusively from Santa?

78% Yes

22% No

What is your biggest fear regarding Santa?

45% My children will be devastated when they discover he isn’t real

42% It will distract from the true meaning of Christmas

13% It will cause my children to become selfish or greedy

Will you encourage your children to write letters to Santa?

61% Yes

39% No

Did you believe in Santa?

90% Yes

10% No

I added a section for people to comment with their personal thoughts. Many people made points that I had never even considered before. Here are some of the most intriguing comments for both the pros and the cons of promoting Santa in their households:

PROS:

Santa represents the spirit of giving- 

“Each year we go to Walmart and spend $100 on toys to donate…We want our children to realize that there is a little Santa in all of us and that his spirit is what we celebrate….We think the spirit of giving is what Santa is all about.”

“The boys understood that the reason gifts were shared at Christmas is in celebration of Jesus’ birth and a way of honoring our own love of family and friends by giving gifts like the Magi did for the Christ child. As they aged, they would ask if we were Santa, we said yes and they would delight in helping keep the magic of the season alive for their siblings”image

Santa brings magic to the season

“I personally love the spirit and magic of Santa and want my daughter to experience the wonder & excitement…I won’t use Santa as a disciplinary tool (i.e. if you are bad, Santa won’t bring you presents).”

Santa is a story character like Mickey Mouse

“We explain to our children the origin of St. Nick…focusing primarily on the purpose of gift giving and not receiving because the tradition stems from God giving us the greatest gift of all, Jesus. We talk about ideas of what to get for each other and spend time picking out the perfect gift…that way they can feel the joy of giving a gift that they’ve thought long and hard about..We aren’t anti-Santa, but they understand it is a story like Mickey Mouse”

CONS:

Telling my children about Santa would be lying to them

“As a Christian, I can’t in good conscience tell my child to believe in Santa Claus and then try to tell them about Jesus and how He is real even though you can’t see or feel Him. Whenever they find out Santa isn’t real, why would they want to believe Jesus is real?”

“We just have a 100% honesty policy- we can’t justify making exceptions. My husband grew up in a very manipulative home and trust is of utmost importance to us.”

Santa takes away from the true meaning of Christmas-

image“Santa is a mock up of God, sharing many of the same attributes. It devalues the power and majesty of God”

“I want my children to know the true meaning of Christmas, to value the act of giving gifts and the hard work we do for them leading up to Christmas. Some big guy in a suit isn’t taking care of and providing for them, we are. They may be missing out on some fun, but I think they will be better off in the end.”


 

So, after reviewing all of the survey entries and doing a little reflecting and research on my own, here is my stance:

Our faith will always be the center of the season

In our home, we believe that Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Giving gifts is a representation of the gifts that the wisemen brought to Jesus as a child, as well as a reflection of our love and appreciation for family and friends.

Everything we do during the holiday season will revolve around our faith. From gift giving, volunteering for charity, baking cookies with grandma, seeing lights, and decorating the tree. I hope to center these fun events around enjoying time with family and being grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Saint Nicholas was, more likely than not, an actual person

Many people stated they felt that telling their children about Santa would be an outright lie. After reading several articles on the history of Santa Claus (clearly I have no life and was dedicated to the legitmacy of this blog), history.com summed it up the best:

“The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years. It is believed that a monk named St. Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick, as well as children. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married.”

There are several more articles explaining the evolution of the story and how it came to be a part of the American Christmas tradition, but bottom line: the concept of Santa Claus is based off of historical evidence of the kindness of a particular monk. 

So will I feel like I am literally lying to my child by telling her a story of a man named St. Nick? No.

Age matters- Santa is what you make him to your children

I am going to tell my child, when she is old enough to understand, a story of a man named Santa who comes on Christmas Eve, plops down the chimney, has 8ish reindeer and a factory filled with elves that make toys. It’s a story. She will love the story just as she loves Curious George. As she grows, if she asks questions, I will tell her that Santa is a story we like to tell at Christmas time to remind us of the importance of giving.

If you promote the idea to your child that a man in a red suit is literally staring down on them day and night, monitoring their behavior and is an endless source of extravigant gifts, I am willing to bet that they will have a hard time coping when they discover Santa is not an actual person.

Santa is what you make of him. If you make him a fun, silly character you read stories and sing songs about during the holidays, I really can’t see the difference between him and any other character they experience on tv.

 

Make the holidays about what is important to your family. For me, I think the world is a hard enough place that if you can’t experience a little fantasy and fun during Christmas time as a child, when will you? Let them dream. Let them get excited and sing silly songs. When they mature, explain to them your beliefs and the deeper meaning of Christmas. It doesn’t have to be traumatic. It can simply be an act of maturity and understanding. I’ve said before, we will always promote our faith and a sense of humility and giving back in our household. As long as that is always at the center of our holiday celebrations, I am going to let my kids fall in love with everything about Christmas. You’re only a kid once.

-Chelsea

 

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If you see me out…

Congratulations. You’ve had a baby. The hospital has sent you home VERY quickly with your new, needy, adorable infant. You’re lucky if you’ve had a shower by this point, and your hair is probably already up in the “mom bun” that will become its new home for the next 6 months or more (you know what I’m talking about, ladies.) You take your car ride home, and once you get there… you think “what now?!”

article-2221909-1589FD09000005DC-659_634x728Parents are exhausted for a long time after having a baby. When I say a long time… I mean, I don’t even know when the end is in sight yet (my LO is just now 8 months, and I’m still pulling some pretty intense all-nighters.) Do I ever get to sleep in again? Will I ever have time to do cat-eye liner again? Take a shower longer than 5 minutes? Read a book for a WHOLE entire chapter?

So let me just tell you– those 8 weeks of maternity leave I looked liked I’d just survived a few weeks of zombie apocalypse. Yoga pants. Dry shampoo. No makeup. And yeah, I totally forgot to brush my teeth and eat a meal more than once. Infants require 24/7 attention, and if I looked crazy, it’s because my postpartum hormones and lack of sleep had totally taken over. Don’t get me wrong, I put everything I had into nurturing my tiny, amazing human, but WOW did I look rough.

So my first trip leaving the house: I went to Target (the mecca of all for meccas for moms.) While standing in the card aisle I witnessed another new mom with her toddler and also new-ish baby waltz by. But let me tell you– she was not me. This woman looked like a celebrity. Skinny. Hair done. Makeup done. Babies calm. I had a total meltdown, right there in the card aisle of Target. I justified her glamour by saying she must be their aunt, or have a night nanny, or have her mother living with her. Or maybe it was a total mirage and I was hallucinating from the lack of sleep.

Who knows.

Now I wonder sometimes if I’m that mom, because when I go out these days I feel like I really have it together. I can shower, do makeup, curl my hair, make some coffee easily in 20 minutes. I take my LO out of his drool-covered onesie and throw some cute clothes on him. He’s almost always content on trips, and spends most of his time flirting with the ladies. I’ve built up some serious arm muscle and can handle carrying both my LO, and an infinite amount of groceries (seriously, I’d rather dislocate both of my arms than take more than one trip out to the car to unload.)

So, I feel like I’ve got it together.

The point? I want new moms to know that the zombie-apocalypse phase doesn’t necessarily go away, but you get good at it. I’m talking Michonne from the Walking Dead good. Those first few weeks home with a newborn you are in total survival mode: feed the baby, change the baby, Google all the things you don’t know how to do with the baby, cry in the bathroom, maybe remember deodorant. But soon after, those parenting-instincts kick in and you acclimate to the situation. You develop routines, learn how to best take advantage of naps and play times, memorize the peak Target rush hours so you can avoid crowds, and continue to take pointers from other moms who have recently survived the battlefield. So if you see me out, I wasn’t always able to feel “put together” for the day. And if you need more time in your yoga pants, I won’t judge you.comparison-is-the-thief-of-

Here are some of the tips that helped me:

  1. Start establishing a routine as soon as possible. It may take weeks to work, but eventually it will.
  2. Take care of yourself. Sometimes this means taking help from others. Get a shower, and make a cup of tea for yourself. You can’t be healthy to take care of your baby if you aren’t taking care of your mental and physical needs for yourself.
  3. If you have a partner helping you with the baby, be straight-forward. Letting him/her know your needs will help both of you to avoid frustration when those 2AM crying wake-up calls come.
  4. Don’t stay up late. I know we all just want some time to ourselves after our LO falls asleep, but if your LO is a poor sleeper, try to go to bed around the time that they do. (I was never a person that could sleep when the baby did during the day, but when I put my LO down at 8:00 every night, I promptly hopped into bed.)
  5. Find ways to simplify your routines. Set clothes out the night before, set your coffee to brew, find simple hairstyles and makeup tips to make yourself feel human.
  6. Stick to the routine. I can’t say it enough– when we started sleep-training our LO, everyone invited us to come over to their houses for late parties. As much as you might want to keep your LO up so that you can go have fun, don’t. Routines are hard to establish, and easy to break. If you want to go out, hire a babysitter that is comfortable with putting your LO to bed.
  7. Take a shower without the baby monitor (or the baby,) in the room. When my LO was super tiny and wouldn’t sleep, he sat in his rock n’ play while I showered. But, nothing is as relaxing as a shower alone while someone else watches the baby for a few minutes.
  8. Have as many things shipped to you as possible. SAMS club ships baby items free, and my Amazon Prime membership has been thoroughly used. Quick trips to the store are no longer quick… and sometimes it’s just easier to order what you need online, and then push all of the boxes quickly in through your front door before your neighbor sees them when they’re delivered.
  9. Don’t set yourself up for failure. You won’t be able to do everything you could before. Want to watch an entire season of Parks and Recreation in one sitting? HA. Forget about it. Stick to a half an hour episode, and count yourself lucky if you only have to pause it twice.
  10. Don’t compare. Every mom handles having a baby differently. Every mom has struggles (whether they’re external or not.)

Just remember that each phase of infancy is just that, a phase. Soon your tiny baby will be a grown adult that doesn’t need your constant care;treasure the moments while they’re still little.

-Katie