When I was a child growing up we were not allowed to believe in Santa... in fact we were told quite often that if we just moved the letter N to the end then Santa became Satan .... kind of a freaky thing to tell a child!!
As I said in my last post I know my parents loved us very much and were doing what they felt best for us.. the ruler of the day in church was predominately Fear!! and that dictated so many decisions! But keep reading ... :) this is NOT a slam on how I was raised :)
In my house we had a Christmas Tree, we had a stocking that was mostly filled with fruit and nuts, 1 candy cane .. my mom fed us as little sugar as possible!!, and 1 toy ... we knew that the stockings and all the presents under the tree were from our parents! the house had lights outside but nothing overly decorated on the inside until we were older when they got a train set that went around the bottom of the tree! we did get to spray white "snow" on our windows as well!!
We went to Church on Christmas Eve, but not religiously... we knew what Christmas was really all about!
We were NOT allowed to go sit on Santa aka Satan's lap in the malls however... and I remember one time we were at the mall and my sis Shash and I broke away and made our way to Santa... we sat on his lap and my sister started telling him he wasn't real... I even remember her pointing out how fake his beard was... I remember a sense of feeling really bad as we walked away.. like somehow we had embarrassed the man... I just felt sad.
I remember loving the mall decorations and the excitement that WAS Christmas! we have a big family so it meant lots of people over and the house always smelled amazing!! one year our dinner table stretched through our dining room and into our living room .. it was squashed and it was loud and I remember the love and joy and general excitement being all around!!
I have always loved Christmas! I have never felt cheated on any childhood experience of it except the small feeling that I missed some of the "magic" of it all... but nothing I have ever lost sleep over or had to go to therapy for :) to this day my mom still will not put anything up that is a Santa ... and that is her prerogative!! my dad however now dresses up as Santa to give toys to children in need for their Charity Christmas Dinner at their restaurant!! they have come a LONG way :)
In my hubbies home growing up there was NO tree... there were NO stockings ... and there were NO presents ... they went to church where he remembers having to wear itchy wool pants :) ... they had a big meal but there was NO commercial Christmas in his youth!
The first year we were together he was a bit lost with the whole gift thing... he didn't realize he was expected to fill my stocking and last minute Christmas Eve he ran out to one of the last stores open to buy me gifts... which I thought was pretty cute .. he seemed a bit timid about the whole thing explaining over and over .. we didn't do this in my family! All the decor that I put up and the tree going up so early in my house! yes I am a Nov 1 tree putter upper and I STILL RESPECT Remembrance Day!! he thought at first it was a bit silly... this year being the 3rd Christmas together he didn't make 1 comment about it being silly and said the house looks cozy and nice! ... it's growing on him :)
For my girls I didn't really make a big deal about Santa .. mostly cuz as the youngest child in my family I am a big observer and my oldest nephew is only 8 years younger then me ... I remember the year he found out Santa wasn't real... he cried.. he looked at my sister and said I can't believe you have been lying to me all these years.... that stuck with me BIG TIME!! he believed so heartedly in something that was all make believe and he was crushed to find out it was not real... that it was a big lie! I remember that so clearly that I never wanted to do that to my own kids! I wanted them to experience some of the "magic" that I felt I had missed out on but I didn't want them to ever feel that I had tricked them or lied to them ... so where was the balance?
I took the girls to see Santa and they had their yearly picture with him... they had stockings and I don't think I ever said they were from Santa or from me ... I did wrap a present under the tree and said from Santa but I never used different wrapping paper or tried to hide my handwriting ... I just kind of left it up to them to figure out I guess.. until my youngest... Faith BELIEVED ... she was the only one who really grabbed the concept and fully had the Faith! she once said to me in her broken little language she spoke.. I am going to sleep on the couch so I can see Santa when he comes ... it was so cute!! the older girls eventually told her and she was a little upset that it wasn't true but the not the deep devastation that my nephew had felt and I was so relieved at that.. I think maybe due to the fact that I didn't really encourage it so much! now if I had gone to the extreme effort of doing the Elf on the Shelf .. oh my I think that would have changed things! honestly I am SOOOOOO glad that Elf on the Shelf was NOT around when my girls were little ... just the sheer effort alone of that exhausts me!! I cannot imagine having to come up with something naughty every night and blame it on the Elf .. really ... I don't get it!! but that's just me apparently cuz it is sooo popular! Its safe to say I will not be doing that for the new baby!
All in all when it comes to Christmas I think while the whole telling us Santa was Satan bit was too extreme :) ... just a tad!! uh hem ... we over all had a great balance and we knew that we knew what it was all about! We knew it was about Jesus and we gave gifts in the spirit of celebrating the ultimate Gift ever given! I tend to think today it's harder to teach that .. with Christmas Holidays now being called Winter Holidays and most public schools having to keep Jesus far from any theme or mention... that is sad to me .... people go into debt at Christmas to spoil their kids and loved ones .. that is sad to me ... kids turn into these green goblins of I want I want I have to have cuz Johnny has one and I want one too ... it's sad to me ... it has turned into the season of receiving instead of the season of giving ... and that is so terribly sad to me.
My hope in my house as the girls get older and we bring in a new child in the New Year that we can keep teaching them the true meaning... that it is better to give then to receive and Jesus is the Reason for the Season :) it's more of a challenge these days but probably more important than ever!