Friday, December 08, 2006

'Tis the Season for "Holiday" Parties

Maybe I'm just having a cynical holiday season this year, but I'm getting bugged by all the Santa things I constantly see.

My daughter said to me the other day, "Mommy, I want to sleep in the living room on Christmas Eve so that I can see if Santa is real. Well, I know that he's real, but I want to see what he really looks like." This statement reminded me of my not-so-long-lost belief in Jesus Christ. (by the way, Christian Blog thingy that requested me to join your ranks: here's my official "no thanks")

As a parent, I think I would just rather have her learn on her own about the whole Santa thing. She's seven and really bright, so I'm sure this belief won't last very long. In response I sat there and listened to her, saying nothing. I don't want to crush this idea for her. But I can't help feeling like I'm being deceptive and dishonest. I don't want to be that way, so it's hard to know what to do. If this were about Jesus Christ, I wouldn't have hesitation in discussing things with her. Maybe it's because the idea of Santa Claus isn't really harmful at all? Hm...

Tonight is the big formal Christmas party at my work. It's going to be pretty busy, so I'm excited that I'll get good tips. And maybe since the patrons will be all dressed up, I won't have to deal with sour behavior. Some of these guys get rude when they get drunk, and while it's nothing I can't handle, it does get old. My job is still really fun though. People are starting to remember me too now, and so it's starting to feel more comfortable. :)


MattMan said...

Hi La! I've been having similar thoughts regarding Santa lately. My oldest is 11 now, and is very bright -- I'm wondering if she's figured it out yet.

I found it funny how she kept telling us that the tooth fairy *still* didn't come each morning after she had placed her most recent lost tooth under her pillow. It seems that she groks the tooth fairy thing now, but isn't coming right out and making it obvious (perhaps to keep her siblings in the dark).

The whole Santa thing does feel dishonest and deceptive, I agree. One has to wonder what that does to a kid psychologically to learn that such a fervent and broad-reaching deception was placed upon them for so many years by those they trust the most. There are extreme camps on both sides of the issue, of course.

For me, now I am very careful to not be overtly deceptive and outright lie about it. I really don't talk much about Santa at all really. But if I do, I'm careful not to refer to a person or use absolute language that I would use in talking about a real person. Usually I'm just silent or turn it back around on them and ask them what they think.

I guess my thinking is that when the time comes that they figure it out and perhaps confront me about it, I can come up with something clever. Like you know, Santa IS "real", but not in the way you expect. Santa is an ideology about having some sense of justice in the world -- being rewarded for being a good person. The person or people who play the Santa part can vary widely -- a friend, a neighbor, a boss, a co-worker, usually a parent (for children). In explaining it this way, I could tell them that *I* was Santa (or their mother, or both of us, or their grandparents, other relatives, etc). It's an ideology of benevolence, kindness. You know, some shit like that. :)

I know, that'll be a weaselly way out, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. That's why I'm careful that if I ever do comment about Santa at all (which I probably haven't even done in a couple years), I do it in a non-committal or vague fashion to not give the impression of validating the myth in a literal sense.

Oops, now I've gone and rambled up your comment section. That's me. :)

Bishop Rick said...

I tell my kids that Santa is real as long as you believe in him. Don't know if that is being totally truthful, but it has uncanny parallels to religion.

The BOM is true if you believe it is. Jesus died for our sins if you believe he did. God answers our prayers if you believe he/she does.

I'm glad you like your job. That is more than alot of people can say.

Rebecca said...

Mattman, if your eleven-year-old hasn't figured it out by now she's not as bright as you think she is.

La - Yeah, that sucks. I STILL feel sad that I don't believe in Santa Claus. My advice: let her sleep in the living room and get Eric (or someone else, which might be better so she wouldn't recognize him) to come down the chimney dressed as Santa. Get some animatronic reindeer and a real sleigh to put on the roof, just in case she checks. Have some hallucinogens ready in case she INSISTS on a trip to the North Pole.

Just one of many said...

My daughter asked if I believed the Reindeers could fly...I asked her "Do you think they can?" She said yes! I just said 23 days till Christmas.
Too soon the magic will be over and they will now the hard reality of life! I say, let them enjoy the magic for a little while longer!

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Yeah, do you feel any residual problems emotionally from when YOU found out that Santa was really your parents? I don't think so.

I always have said what Bishop Rick says: He's real as long as you believe. Or is it, "Santa only comes if you believe in him." This makes them claim belief much longer than they otherwise would have.

And when the know for sure, I pull them into the game by saying that we need them to help keep the illusion alive for the younger siblings. This puts them into a new frame of mind immediately as they start plotting ways to make Santa even more special this year for the youngest. I have no idea what it'll be like when my youngest figures it out. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to tell a child about Santa Clause. I like the story of St. Nicholas and told them that Santa Clause was anoth name for St. Nicolas (see: He is all about love and understanding and giving and his spirit is hard to see if you do not practice what he taught about love and giving. Good Luck! Problem is, that the other kids tell the younger ones in scholl that Santa doen't exist and they become inquisitive. To each of us Santa has a different meaning and that is what we accept. The spirit of Santa lives in each of us, or we would not be the people we are.


Bull said...

And I thought I'd solved that problem for you this summer :)

Simeon's Peep Stone said...

I think Santa is pretty safe. I used to think that it was misleading and that it distracted from the real meaning of Christmas. Now, that's all that is really left for me. I figure if Santa is good enough for all of the other non believers, he's good enough for me.

shiree said...

Yeah...SML pretty much said what I was going to say. I think when my kids find out we'll just act excited that they figured it out and now they get to be "in on it"...and help keep the magic alive for the younger sibs...I remember doing that for my younger brothers when I was *in the know*

I don't remember feeling deceived...or lied to...or tricked when I found out. In fact...I don't even remember the specific moment of finding out! It wasn't a big deal to me.

Eric said...

Kids had been spreading the "Santa isn't real" rumors for years before I learned for myself. By the time I put two and two together, it was no big shocker. I simply had to fit in by making it look like I'd known all along.

Kids figure these things out.