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49/52 – Traditions

December 8, 2013

49/52 - Traditions

Like parents all around the world, I like to trek my kid to sit on Santa’s lap for an obligatory holiday photo. I’m not even sure how we’re going to handle the Santa-thing yet, but somehow, I’ve conspired with the rest of North American culture and have thrown her smack-dab in the middle of something.

Side note – I hate lying, and to me, the Santa myth as it’s moved beyond a myth is one big lie we tell our kids and we don’t want any part of lying about Santa.  I’m still crushed till this day to think that my parents lied to me and that deception dampened the Christmas spirit and made it an entirely commercial holiday for many years. We need to better figure out how to deal with this Santa-thing, or find a better way to reveal the truth in years from now if we do fully opt to buy-in and carry this through.

Despite my Santa moral conflict, I still trekked my kid to the mall to sit on his lap. In the least, this was a real person in a costume dressed up as a Santa Claus. I may have even referred to him as the “man dressed as Santa” a few times in passing just to try it on for size.

A lot can change in a year.  Here’s the Doodle’s very first picture with Santa in 2011.  She’s about 8 months old here. This was taken right before she pretty much entered her shy phase, which really was more of stage, that lasted about a year and half.

Baby A. meets Santa Claus

The next Christmas, in 2012, the Doodle was a little over a year and a half, and terrified of strangers.  She didn’t even touch Santa in this picture.

51/52 - Confusion

Over the course of the past year, now that we have complete language capabilities around these parts, every time the Doodle saw this picture she’d state, “Santa scary!” in a scared voice. Which eventually morphed into “Santa scary!!!” followed by laughter at her earlier reaction.

This year when I suggested a Santa photo and whisked her to mall in that window of opportunity between daycare and dinner, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The Doodle was excited about seeing Santa.  Until it was our turn, then she turned a little shy, but after his first ‘ho ho ho’ she crawled up on his lap and then charmed his pants off.  She talked and talked and talked.  And talked and talked and talked.

The mall Santa, who was incredible, was regaled with tales of our Christmas tree, how she wanted a batman shirt for Christmas, and so on.  I couldn’t hear them clearly, but she kept on making him laugh. I’m not sure he entirely understood her as now that she’s communicating in two languages her annunciation in either isn’t too clear. You couldn’t tell.  This Santa was a pro. He appeared to be attentively absorbing each and every word.

I was too flabbergasted that my formerly ‘glued to Mommy’s leg in the presence of anyone other than Mommy’ child was happily chatting away with a Mommy-approved stranger.  What confidence! I was so impressed and proud of my little toddler.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2013 10:30 am

    So adorable and that doodle is so smart.

    I’m with you on the Santa myth. I didn’t grow up in North America so Santa wasn’t a part of my life as a kid. I’m fascinated at the fact that people don’t even give any thought to lying to their kids about Santa. People are horrified when I mention that I grew up without the whole Santa myth and plan same for my children. They express pity for me having missed out on this magical experience outrage at the fact that I am going to “deprive” my children.

    We’ve skirted the issue so far but our oldest is 4 so this is the year we have to decide.
    One of our holiday traditions is to help deliver gifts to children in need. We do the deliveries as a family and we talk about why we are doing it and how some families don’t have enough to buy a few special treats for the holidays. And we talk about how fortunate we are and kindness and service etc. we also pack boxes at a food drive. hard to reconcile those kinds of things with Santa. I imagine we’ll soon get asked ‘why doesn’t Santa give those kids’ gifts/food?”
    My partner thinks it’ll be fun for the kids so we are still negotiating and trying to see if there’s a way to incorporate Santa without the lies and the commercialisation of Christmas. I’ve already told my kids Santa didnt come to where I grew up so they should direct any Santa related queries to their other mom.
    I hope to hear what you decide and others’ thoughts on it as there might be a middle ground and we just haven’t figured it out yet.

    • December 29, 2013 7:41 am

      No decisions at our house this year, unfortunately. Lots of talk of Santa in very different ways. My mother was horrified that all our presents were underneath the tree before Christmas morning. Still mulling it through but glad to know that I’m not the only one conflicted by this (and in a partnership that is split on this). I haven’t got through the entire thread yet, but I’m finding it interesting thus far – http://offbeatfamilies.com/2010/12/truth-about-santa

  2. December 24, 2013 12:52 am

    First of all, the Doodle is extremely adorable and that picture with her hand on her cheek is priceless. All three years of photos are excellent. :)

    Second of all, my $.02 as a teacher of young kids who mostly still believe in Santa: The lone kid whose parents have taught them the “truth” about Santa can be super annoying. One year I had this know-it-all kid who insisted on telling everyone about St. Nicholas and how he was the former bishop of Turkey and, ugh. Such a killjoy. I support you 100% in not wanting to lie to your kid, but maybe a bit of a talk on sparing the other kids’ might be appropriate too once she’s old enough. I, personally, believe that the wonder of childhood is a good thing and a lot of fun. I wouldn’t go out of my way to elaborately trick Juju if she starts wavering in her beliefs, but a bit of wonder and imagination is OK in my opinion. Ironically, Juju is terrified of Santa and doesn’t want him anywhere NEAR our house so all present will be from mommies and thanks anyway. Ha.

    • December 29, 2013 7:45 am

      So while I don’t want to lie to my kid, I desperately hope we can raise the kind of child who has empathy and doesn’t spoil Santa for those who believe. I remember after I found out it was like entering a magical grown up world where you were in on the secret. Big kids are one of the best defenders of Santa. But this is exactly where we struggle. We’re all about intentional magic, I guess with Santa = commercialism that’s where I really think Santa has derailed and done a huge disservice to all of the kids who believe.

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