Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Birthdays and Why We Choose to Believe in Santa

 During my time as a parent I have been blessed to meet so many amazing families most of whom share our same Catholic faith. I enjoy getting to see how other families celebrate birthdays and holidays, it really is amazing how we all can differ so much in that area! 

 I tend to be more on the laid back side when it comes to birthdays. Part of the reason is due to having our family spread out between three very far distances. If all the family was close I know birthdays would be huge. So that being said, I have adopted the "simple" approach. I also take cues from the child we will be celebrating for, if they are a more shy temperament (like my daughter) I tend to keep it family only. This may change in years to come, but for now this is how we do it. We celebrate on the child's birthday (of course). Saved up are all the cards packages and presents to be opened in the evening after dinner. During the day I try to go the extra mile to make sure we implement extra fun and attention in their day. This could be the park, crafts, bike riding, painting or even water activities if weather permits. I refer to the child as the "birthday girl," or "boy" and they love it! We sometimes do store bought cakes, but usually we have box cakes. The child of course picks the theme and flavor, and they usually "help" make the cake. Dinner is something kid friendly of course, pizza usually, or pasta and meatballs. Then the highlight of the day presents and cake!!! Who doesn't love presents and cake?? I forgot to mention that I always decorate for birthdays, balloons, streamers table cloth and sometimes a piñata. 

  I have friends who throw huge imaginative Pinterest inspired birthday parties for each child. Snaps for them because it truly is amazing, fortunately none of my children know about Pinterest yet, and I hope to keep it that way! Then I won't embarrass them with my epic fail at crafting attempts!!

 One tradition  that I have found to be controversial in Catholic circles is how big of a part Santa plays in Christmas. Or if he even has a place in their Christmas at all. Jay and I both believed in Santa as children, and we both loved that time as children that we used our imaginations to imagine Santa Claus, reindeer and a toy shop. 

 We have chosen to carry on the believing in Santa tradition with our children. Once again we keep it more on the simple side, the kids get a lot of presents but we keep it within reasonable limits (I think). They are little and not very interested in movies with real people, so most of what they have seen of Santa has been from old fashioned cartoons and movies. I've heard of kids who are much more inquisitive about the logistics of how everything Santa works, however my kids are not. They just think the simple Santa, reindeer, toy shop and naughty or nice check. 
 The main reason I've heard parents give for not letting their kids believe in Santa is the simple fact that they don't want to tell a lie. This is a hard one, because I get that. Another reason I've heard, is parents not wanting to scar their children when they find out that Santa is pretend. My personal feeling on this reason is one that I hope will not be misunderstood! Please know I am not trying to offend anyone! Personally I just think that if my adult children's worst complaint about their childhood is memories of finding out Santa is pretend, I'll know I did a good job!
 The first reason however I think is much harder to address. All I can do is write on why I feel permitted to tell my children that Santa is real. 

 Once we grow up we are grown up forever. Our parents can never give us a second childhood. Sadly children are growing up quicker and quicker these days. Some by no fault of their own have to behave grown up just to survive their daily life. Santa really isn't an option for these poor children, they know too well the harsh realities of the world. I'm striving to parent my children with a sense of balance, to know God, know right from wrong, love, work hard and play! All at different levels according to the age and temperment of the child. 
 Santa comes in for me as part of the "play" in a child's life. Play changes throughout our lives from our childhood, through the teenage years and into the adult life.  Imagination as well goes through many changes throughout our younger years. There are points in a child's young years where I think that most "desire" to put adult realities aside and just believe because they can. So my point is "why not?". 

  We of course talk to our children about the coming of Christ on Christmas. Our nativity scene is displayed in clear sight where they can talk and ask questions about it.  This year we will have an advent wreath ( if I can find one!) which we light in the evening during dinner. Kids do love candles! Mass throughout advent is also a way in which children can be grounded in the true meaning of Christmas. There are so many traditions and practices in the church during advent and Christmas, and I'm sure I'm not even aware of many! I'll conclude by saying that for our family Santa is welcome to take a reasonable place in our Christmas traditions, and I'll be curious to see what my children decide for their future families!

1 comment:

  1. Your kids are getting to that age when they will LOVE Holy Heroes Advent Adventure -- and you'll learn all about great Advent traditions for the family (but it is easy on you, because everything comes right to you every morning in an email full of stuff for kids). You can register free online at Check out the video about Lenten Adventure (not to late to register, either, since Holy Week and Easter Week are still remaining):


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