One of the bloggers I regularly read posted this story today, and I'm going to take these thoughts and run with my own.
We never believed in Santa either; it was just a story, and that's how I intended it to be with my kids too. I've discussed that before on this blog. However, as I've also recently written about, Fifi has for some reason become completely fixated on Santa. While she isn't so keen on actually seeing him live in action, she talks about him all day long, sleeps with a Santa Christmas card and only wants to colour in pictures of Santa, nothing else. This morning, her first words when she awoke were, 'Santa? Beard? Hat? Coat? Shoes? Toys!' Each day she comes up with more and more information on Santa's appearance and whereabouts. (He rides a bus, by the way, since of course, she first met him on the Teen Challenge bus at The Haven's Christmas fete.)
So this morning I asked her if she believed in Santa, and she said yes. A trifle dismayed, I asked her if she believed in Jesus, and she looked at me blankly. I've been trying to tell her about Jesus and Christmas, reading her cute nativity stories and what not, but of course I know she's too young to get the concept. We talk about praying to Jesus when we go to church, and we say our prayers at night (when we remember... blush), but it hasn't sunk in for her, and that's perfectly understandable. So then it just kills me that she gets the concept of Santa!
I suppose Santa is more saturated in our culture than Jesus. She sees pictures of Santa, sees people dressed up as Santa, sees electronic Santas playing the trombone in the mall, and then of course everyone around her is talking about Santa and what toys he'll bring her this year. I suppose that even we ourselves have encouraged it by taking her to see Santa and get a present from him. Still, I thought it would all pass over her as a fun game, not something real to believe in.
I just don't want to lie to her. And I don't want her to think that Jesus is also just a fun game to play at Christmas. I'm sure I'm over-thinking it, and maybe next year, she'll be happy to separate fantasy from reality. But I'm beginning to feel a bit guilty and even sucked into the whole Santa thing. I even caught myself saying to her she couldn't have some toy in the shop because 'Santa already got your presents'. I couldn't believe those words were coming out of my own mouth!
I know nearly all of you will say this isn't a big deal, and it's fine to tell kids about Santa, and it won't damage them. But I do know people who were rather traumatised to find out the whole thing was a farse (and a straight lie!), and I even know someone who decided Jesus must not be real either. I don't want that.
But for now, I guess I just have to let Fifi be two and not worry too much about it. We'll see what happens next year. For now, it is kinda cute to see her get all excited over All Things Santa Claus. And when she kisses that Christmas card, well, that's just adorable.