Tuesday, December 11, 2012

on Santa and the elves and such

Sometimes I feel compelled to write about something.

Sometimes it's a funny story, sometimes it's serious, and sometimes it's just something I feel strongly about.

Sometimes I struggle with the right words, and then sometimes, I stumble upon someone else's words that communicate so perfectly what I want to say. Before you click on that link to a post written by someone else, here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

I've been asked more than a few times recently if we've had 'Santa pictures' made, or if we have an 'elf'. Now hear me out before I respond, and before you start hatin' on me- if you take your child to the mall to sit in the big guy's lap or if you have a mischievous elf at home, then more power to ya. I think those things are fine and good, but when the holiday that we celebrate in December has become SO far removed from what it's really about, then something is wrong.

And friends, I feel that something is wrong.

I'm not anti-Santa picture, but I've never taken my kiddos to sit in the big guy's lap. Our school will have a santa here next week to take photos with the kids, and Oliver will have his picture taken. But it's not about that. Yes, he's asked before if he's real. We've talked about it and I will never look at my child and crush his spirit- I simply leave it up to him by saying, "what do you think?", and he's still at an age where he believes. And that's ok. He even asked about our chimney on the way to school and wondered if Santa could, in fact, get into the house that way. I love that he's still young enough to think about that, but I don't want him to modify his behaviour or strive to impress a man in a red suit. It's not about that.

I'm not anti-elf, but I will never make a mess in my house and lead my children to believe that a stuffed toy did it, nor will I ever tell them that a stuffed toy is watching them and they'd better be good if they want more stuff. I don't want them believing in a stuffed toy. I want them to be good and do the right thing because it's what God wants them to do. Christmas is not about a stuffed toy. And also- they don't need more stuff.

When Oliver was younger, and an only child, we subscribed to the 'overboard' method. Presents and toys were piled HIGH on Christmas morning, and why not? We had no other children to buy gifts for. He also received an enormous amount of goodies from our family and friends. So much stuff that there wasn't enough space to fit it in his room. Or our house. When the girls came along, we dialed it down a bit, but made no huge adjustments until last year. I had a few friends who subscribed to the idea of, "Jesus got three gifts, so each of our kids gets three gifts", and I thought it was brilliant. That's what we tried to do last year, and we stuck to it for the most part aside from a couple of last minute nerf guns that went into O's pile.

We'll be doing that again this year, and I'd really really like to keep it to just three. Tres. Trois. That's it. They'll still get plenty of goodies from their grandparents and again, they have plenty already. I don't want Christmas at our house to be about stuff, but about the greatest gift of all. That's what it's about. Jesus.

That's it.

Seriously- that's it.

Now, I'm not a tyrant. Don't think I ban all things santa at our casa- because I don't. We watched Island of the Misfit Toys a few night ago because it's a classic and I love it. We listen to Christmas music in the car because Christmas music rocks. We sing along to Santa Claus is Coming to Town at the top of our lungs because that's good stuff right there. My girls wear smocked santa's on their dresses to church because smocked santa's are cute. Eliza was even wearing a smocked santa underneath her Mary costume in the children's program at our church last Sunday night. MM refused to wear a costume altogether, but that's neither here nor there.

The post I mentioned earlier is HERE, and was written by Jen Hatmaker- yes the Jen Hatmaker of 7. Her words and thoughts are the same as mine, but she's a far better writer than me which is why I urge you to read HER post on the subject. I also love Britt's post about how she and her husband are celebrating Christmas with their two young kiddos, although I don't have plans to try and remove santa from our celebration altogether. I just want him to play a tiny role. Teeny-tiny.

So there ya have it. A few of my thoughts, along with those from a couple of like-minded gals. I know that many will not agree with me, and that's ok. Like I said- I felt compelled. And when I feel compelled, I have to speak my mind, or in this case, sit down and type.
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