“So you’re not going to tell your child about Santa Claus?!”
Here we go, I thought.
“Of course I am.”
The relief on her face was beyond obvious.
“I’m going to tell her that some of her friends believe that Santa Claus brings them presents on Christmas day and that’s okay… but in our household, we don’t.”
You would have thought that I’d said that my child couldn’t eat for two weeks. She was appalled and said as much.
“Look, lady! She’s TWO. I highly doubt she’ll be scarred for her entire freakin’ life because she doesn’t believe some fat dude slides down our ‘for decorative purposes only’ fireplace and drops off a pink Radio Flyer tricycle!”
Nah, I didn’t say that. I wanted to. But I’s saved. And it’s Christmas. But had she caught me around Columbus Day?! Whew.
Here’s the thing: Whether a child believes that Santa is as white as snow (side eye to you Megyn Kelly) or, like I did, grows up believing Santa is as black as a beautiful night (dap to you, Denene) is of no consequence to me. I don’t judge that. In fact, either way, it’s cool with me.
But because my husband and I have decided to lay as a foundation for our child the birth of Christ as the central event of the season, I get labeled as a mean mommy? (And yeah, yeah, yeah, for all my pseudo-intellectuals out there, I know Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25th, just like Martin Luther King wasn’t born on whatever day the third Monday in January falls on either, but I bet you’ll be singing “We Shall Overcome” and trying to get off work though, huh?)
I’m always curious why as parents we are so quick to judge each other on the most insignificant things but offer leniency on the stuff that really impacts us all. Let a mom breastfeed in public and the prudes go wild. But let a ratchet momma beat up another ratchet momma at a child’s basketball game and folks can’t wait to get on YouTube or WorldStar to laugh and share it with thousands of people.
And just in case you are one of my super-saved saints who’s high fivin’ your screen and shouting “Hallelujah!” because I said that I don’t allow my child to believe in Santa, don’t get excited just yet. I see y’all too. Walking in the mall and turning your nose up at the line of kids waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. You’re wrong. The decision that my husband and I have made is, yes, rooted in our beliefs about the Christmas holiday, but it is in no way an indictment of anyone else who chooses to do something different.
How can I in one breath denounce a parent for allowing their child to believe in Santa Claus just because I don’t, but allow my child to dance around the house believing that a fictional, purple dinosaur named Barney is real?
Is it possible to have a child believe in Santa Claus and still teach them about the birth of a Savior, the true meaning of Christmas?
And just because it’s not a choice of mine, doesn’t mean that I don’t know Moms and Dads that do it and do it well.
So here’s a notion: Instead of being offended by someone who says “Happy Holidays” to you as opposed to “Merry Christmas” because you think that society is trying to “X” out Christ from Christmas, let’s be offended that there will be thousands of children who won’t have a Christmas at all because their parents can’t afford a tree or presents or a decent meal as their medical bills (acquired because they couldn’t afford health insurance) have them drowning in debt?
Instead of wasting time questioning me about why I decided to not allow my child to believe in Santa or condemning another parent because they do, maybe we can use all that energy to figure out ways we can serve those who struggle with spiritual, mental, or emotional disease so they don’t feel the need to run up in a school and shoot our babies.
And maybe, just maybe Christ IS being X’d out of Christmas in our culture. I won’t argue that. But wouldn’t it be prudent to make sure that we don’t X Him out of our hearts by being ugly and hypercritical with each other on the very day God sent Him to change the world?
Just a thought.
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This post is the latest in Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Faith & Motherhood” series.
Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at www.traceymlewis.com.