Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Great Santa Debate

With Halloween and Christmas fairly close together, I've found myself defending my choices as a mother lately. We don't celebrate Halloween, we don't do the Santa thing and the Easter Bunny never drops foil wrapped cheap chocolates at our house.  I've also never chanted, "I do believe in fairies!"

Its amazing how much people will attack your parenting skills, especially when you live a life that is fully immersed with an online presence. Apparently, since I welcome discussion on topics I'm also fair game for angry emails, DM's and even Facebook messages.

Today I received an email saying "You are robbing your children of everything that is magical and wonderful about childhood. To keep them from believing in Santa who only does good things is akin to abuse, you're just setting them up to be beat up on the school yard."

Have to admit, I didn't realize that I was abusing my kids. Call the cops, why don't ya?

As anyone, I have deep and thoughtful reasons for my beliefs. When it comes to Santa, what I see is greedy children demanding presents from a dude that doesn't exist. I see parents waiting in lines, stampeding for the years' coolest toy and in one extreme case last week, pepper-spraying fellow shoppers to keep them away from a video game she wanted to buy. I see people maxing out their credit cards, spending money they don't have to make this Christmas the best ever. And after all that, they give the credit to a fictional fat guy with a beard. Seriously?

Now I know the original story of St. Nick, who was a truly great fella. But don't try to tell me you're carrying on his tradition, because if you were you'd be taking your kids out to buy Santa presents for other kids.

So here's what Christmas is like in my house. We have a tree, our turkey dinner and a whole lot of fun. We also have gifts. But rather than bowing to consumerism and buying everything and anything that looks cool, I have a pretty hard cap budget of $80 for each of my children. Last year, they each got a dump truck, a whole bunch of dinky cars and some books. And you know what, I was a pretty popular mom in my house even though they didn't get any fancy electronic games or a talking Elmo doll. But most of our Christmas season, much like the rest of our lives, is spent in the service of others. Christmas morning this year we will go to church and before gifts and family time, we'll go to the hospital to give out Teddy bears and cookies to kids who are stuck in the ER. We'll probably invite home a stranger for dinner. After Christmas dinner, I'll hit the streets of downtown Kitchener with sandwiches, blankets and coats for people who don't even have 4 walls around them, much less gifts.

Your Christmas celebrations may not be like mine and I'm okay with that. I respect you and your traditions. But don't ever, ever tell me I'm a bad parent because I choose to teach my children how to put others before themselves. Someday, they may be the ones offering you a helping hand when you've fallen off your self righteous pedestal.

1 comment: