my kids aren’t yet old enough to really get christmas, so we don’t make a huge deal of it. i put up lights along the walls, we have a poinsettia, and the wrapped gifts are piled high on the dining room table behind the laptop. my parents and in-laws came to visit, but to my son, who turns two in january, it’s just a occasion to see them – nothing extraordinarily special. [he was, however, extremely surprised to see them.]
nevertheless, my husband and i have contemplated whether or not we will introduce santa claus to the children in future years. a nyt article today discussed the conversations parents have with their kids when they find out santa is not “real,” and the psychological issue kids may have with being lied to, etc. most commentators on the site complained about lying to children, or the commercialism of it all, which i agree are important things to discuss. personally, i believed in santa as a kid, but didn’t feel any kind of way when i found out he wasn’t real. honestly, i felt a lot of love for my parents for caring about me that much to buy all the stuff they did and not take credit for it.
but from my husband’s and i’s [is that correct grammar??] perspective, the issue is a little more basic. do we really want our kids sitting on an old white man’s lap
begging asking for gifts? even if santa was black (or some other color), i think it would still bother me. how do you explain the millions of kids who don’t get anything? we are taught to believe that santa gives to all kids if they were good during the year – does that make poor kids bad? someone suggested to say that santa ran out of toys before he could get to everyone, like a reindeer caught a cold or something, or rudolph’s nose stopped working and the clouds were too thick to get to everyone. that just sounds way too complicated and reaffirms that once you start telling lies, it’s really hard to stop because logical answers become made-up answers and lies are always way more complicated than the truth.
anyway, i want my kids to know, from the beginning, where the toys and gifts come from and that what they get and how much they get is not a reflection on their character or behavior during the year as judged by some omnipresent old white man on the north pole. because i want them to recognize that there are so many kids who were
probably definitely much better behaved than they were but they got stuff and those kids didn’t because mommy and daddy were born in the united states to educated parents who went to good schools because our parents knew about financial aid and took them to the dentist and doctor and taught mommy and daddy how to make money and open savings accounts and save money and were blessed with good people who did nice things for them that they didn’t have to do and gave them multiple breaks in life and access to credit. lots of it.