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When Santa Steals Your Credit

christmas-treeThe holidays are always ripe for the pro-Santa and anti-Santa group to go at each other in the grand tradition of parental sniping.

But here’s one I’d never heard before: folks who don’t want Santa “taking credit” for the gifts they’ve lovingly chosen and wrapped up for their children.

Said the commenter on an article about kids believing in Santa: “I want the credit for buying their presents, rather than letting them think some magical fat dude gave it to them. It’s one of the few selfish pleasures I have no qualms about claiming.”

Say what you will about my reasons for “lying to my child” about the existence of Santa. But I’d like to think that magical fat dude is one of the greatest gifts I can give her in her innocence. It’s a belief that there is something pure and good in this world that no one can ruin. When she launched herself on Santa during our visit to the downtown holiday workshop, she wrapped her arms around his neck and literally snuggled her chin into his whiskers.

I was jealous, but it wasn’t of him. It was that pure love that she still holds in her heart.

When I lost that, when I learned the “truth” about Santa, I lost something I wouldn’t regain until the birth of my daughter four years ago. I came closest when I met my husband, true. But the love we have for our kids is generally the most pure we can get.

Cliched? Corny? You bet. But it’s also the sort of love that’s OK with shopping for Christmas and putting the three most coveted gifts under the tree marked “love Santa,” and putting several more marked “love Daddy,” even though he didn’t actual have time to help shop for them this year.

I don’t need her to think I love her via what gifts I give her. She knows it from everything else we do on a daily basis. And the idea that the number of gifts under the tree marked “from Mom” will equate with how she’s love makes me worry for the lean years with those kids. For their future relationships.

If not lying to your kids about Santa means you’re setting them up to believe in gifts as love, then I’ll let you have that credit. I would rather see my kid snuggle with Santa.

Image: milele via flickr

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