Friday, December 07, 2007

Breaking the hearts of small children everywhere

I hate Santa.

I just wanted to put that out there.

Santa is dumb.

Until now, this has never posed an issue. Santa sucks, blah blah blah, ignore him and silently pity the silly people who go in for that crap. Until this year.

Suddenly, the Bear is in preschool, and all of a sudden, Santa is everywhere. They tell the kids about him in school. They sing about him on the radio. Everyone asks what you want Santa to bring you.

Up until last year, whenever she saw a guy in a red suit with a hat, she called it a snowman. It was just another holiday decoration, and I encouraged that. I didn't see the need to tell her anything more than that.

Today, in the parking lot, I gave her all my pocket change to give to the Salvation Army bellringer. She put it in (oh so carefully - one coin at a time), and the bellringer said "Thank you! I bet Santa will bring you something nice this year, since you're such a nice little girl!"*

In the car, she was telling me all about how she has to write a list with her name on it, because if it doesn't have her name on it, then he won't know who she is. I tried to figure out why he has to know who she is, and she finally got to the point - if he doesn't know who you are, he won't bring you "stuff."


The whole reason I'm opposed to Santa is because he encourages rampant commercialism and capitalistic greed, which are totally *not* the purpose of the holidays. Whatever happened to family, togetherness, gratitude, charity, perpetual hope, etc? Not anymore. Screw the loftier ideals of the season - I need a Wii. My father once had a student who asked him, in all seriousness, if the little baby in the manger grew up to be Santa.

So, I never wanted to tell my kids about Santa. I was just sort of putting it off, wondering if I'd have the strength to tell the truth when the moment came. I want to teach the girls that it's not about the number of gifts under the tree, it's about the number of gifts in your life. Can you do that with a fat guy in your chimney?

But today, in all her wide-eyed innocence and wonder, I couldn't bring myself to come out and say that Santa is just a fairy tale. I asked several leading questions to find out what her take on the situation was, and she thinks he's real. I didn't have the heart to tell her. She wasn't very urgent about it - it was just another one of those neat things she learned at school, like how to do up her buttons. But still, she is fairly confident in the knowledge that Santa will bring her a toy on Christmas. So, for her, for now, Santa lives on.

*Don't get me started.


Anonymous said...

Other than hating Santa (I love him! - he he he), you and I are on the same page. In our house, Santa only brings you one special gift. Mommy and Daddy give you another and then a few stocking stuffers, etc. We keep it really simple here as far as gifts go because we don't want our children to think that's what Christmas is all about. I also belief it makes whatever gift(s) they get all the more special. Anyway, that's how we do it here. And it's always lovely!

Anonymous said...

AmyF here--

I'm in the same boat. We're just not into Santa and this year Santa is suddenly everywhere. We tell him that Santa is people's way of remembering St. Nicholas and how he helped people a long time ago.

Julie said...

We do Santa at our house, but I'm hoping to stay focused on the magic angle, and not the "ridiculous pile of toys" angle.