Santa vs. Jesus, round 1
My kids believe in Santa Claus. When they were still very little, my husband and I discussed whether or not we should make Santa a part of our Christmas. I wondered then… are we not lying to our kids when we tell them that Santa is real? But my husband and I both believed in Santa as children, and we are now well-adjusted Christian adults. Many Christian families play the Santa game, so what is the harm in one little white lie?
I questioned that decision then, and now, if we could do it all over again, I think we would just leave Santa out of the picture. I know, I know, it is a wonderful fun thing for children. But we have struggled every year to somehow make Jesus as big and exciting as the great Santa Claus. When asked what makes Christmas such a happy time of year, both my children will say PRESENTS!! What child wouldn’t? Despite all our efforts to communicate the story of the birth of Christ and how incredible God’s gift to us is, Jesus just has a hard time competing with Santa in their little minds.
Santa has become a stitch in my side, this year in particular. At our house, the boys get to ask Santa for one item (so that there can be enough presents for all the boys and girls). Every year we have managed to pull off the Santa present, but this year I just didn’t think it was possible. My oldest seems to always ask for something not easily found in stores. He’s been a skeptic from the very beginning, so I think this is his way of testing good old St. Nick. This year he asked for Mimzy, from the movie. I thought it was a reasonable request, until I started looking for them. Apparently my son has asked for the “it” toy of the year. The little stuffed rabbit that originally retailed for $24.95 has been sold out of all stores and is now bringing in a whopping $150 to all the clever eBay sellers who bought them all. And my five year old, whose favorite toy changes with every new Toys R’ Us ad, asked for a similarly popular Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet (of course in his request to Santa, it was merely “the Optimus Head“). Originally retailing for $29.99, this clever gadget has disappeared from all the stores and is now fetching over $100 on Amazon.com. I absolutely refuse to pay those ridiculous marked up prices, feeding the greed of all the people buying them for resale, so I thought this would be the year that Santa bit the dust. But I managed to find one “optimus head” only marked up $10, and I just got word that the Mimzy will be shipping this week, at its original $24.95. I guess Santa lives another year after all.
I know this will be something we wrestle with year after year. I’m sure it won’t be long before my oldest figures it out, and I think I am looking forward to that day. For now whenever they ask if Santa is real, my response is simply “What do you think?” That seems to be enough for them. And what happens when they do find out the truth? Are they then going to question whether or not God is real? I’m sure they will. I guess we’ll cross that bridge soon enough.
Yesterday I asked a different question, “What would happen if you woke up Christmas morning and there were no presents?” They were both horrified at the idea, but admitted that in the end they’d probably be okay. Then I asked “What would happen if you woke up and there was no Jesus?” Their response was, “we wouldn’t be okay.” So, at least for today, Jesus is winning.