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To Santa Or Not To Santa

Santa and Mrs Claus

Now that's an authentic looking Santa!

We like to take it one holiday at a time in our house. I can barely get it together for any of them, so it’s a miracle that any of them resemble holidays.

For example, every year (for the last four) I vow I will get my holiday cards done on time and every year I’m scrambling just to get them out by New Year’s. Lucky for me, I’m Jewish, so I usually send out New Year’s cards anyway, and not Christmas-y ones.

Which brings me to my latest dilemma. The past few years we’ve been celebrating Chanukah and not Christmas. My husband isn’t Jewish, and Christmas is the only holiday he ever celebrated with his family. His mother passed away two years ago in January, so celebrating hasn’t been high on his list while she was dying of cancer.

Chanukah was easy, just pull the menorah off the shelf, blow the dust off of it, and buy a box of candles from the supermarket. I haven’t done presents, but Shnook was really into the ritual of lighting the candles last year. Every night he asked about them. He didn’t know a present from a candle.

Now that we have two toddlers, we’re going to bring Christmas back into the mix. We are going to have a tree, (which all Jews secretly want, by the way). However, I’m very anxious about perpetuating the Santa myth. While I used to be a decent actor in my day, I’m just not sure I can bring myself to look my children in the eye and tell them that Santa exists. I know this makes me sound like a Scrooge, but to me, it just doesn’t feel right.

At best, I’m lying to them for a few years. They figure it out by like five or six, right? I fear that once they find out the truth, they’ll feel betrayed. But then, maybe it’s no big deal and I shouldn’t deny them that pleasure despite the fact that the big bomb will eventually drop and spoil their fun forever?

I recognize that part of the reason I have trouble with this concept is because it’s not a tradition in which I participated as a child, and I’ll be honest, I did feel left out of the whole Santa thing, wondering how Santa knew not to slide down our perfectly good chimney. “Do we have a sticker on our roof saying we were Jewish?” my four-year-old brain ruminated.

My parents wasted no time telling me Santa wasn’t real (they were big on being frank, rather than being Santa).

So, how to handle Santa this holiday season with my three-year-old?. We have barely talked about Christmas, although I’m sure kids at school are starting to get excited.  I mean, it’s not like he won’t get presents. Just from his friends and family, and not from Santa.

P.S. My husband thinks I’m overreacting and I should just suck it up and do it.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Tumbleweed

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