The Reason for the Season

I gotta say that when this post first popped into my head it was originally going to be about the ever popular Santa vs. Jesus debate. And while I will still share some of my research with you all, I’ve changed the focus a bit.

When I started to look into this topic I posed the question on twitter:

twitter jesus santa

I got one response. From @CrayonWrangler who actually ended up writing about this same topic on her own site Coloring Outside the Lines.

And although I really enjoyed her response, one person wasn’t going to give me the insight that I wanted for this piece. So my next stop was to ask a blogging community that I belong to created by Amy Bellgardt, Mom Spark Media.

Now I was a bit apprehensive about posing this question. Religion and beliefs can be a controversial topic. In the words of Sammy Kershaw just don’t talk about “Politics, Religion, and Her.” Perhaps in this scenario “her” could be replaced with “Santa”.
I mean we all know the quickest way to start an argument amongst people is to question their beliefs. I knew I was sort of putting myself out there to become the leper of the blogging community but this was something I really wanted to hear all sides of.

Do you know what happened? A group of 13 women, from different backgrounds and beliefs came together and civilly discussed this topic. We had people who were atheist, Christian, Catholic, Pagan, and even Jewish weigh in on the topic. Interestingly enough, even though some of these ladies provided back story to why they had the beliefs they did in the subsequent responses no one told the other they were wrong or screwed up or wrong. 🙂

Since I began Mad Hatter Mom I have witnessed countless attacks on women bloggers from other bloggers. And I mean full out attacks where one blogger posted something not meaning to be controversial but it gets construed into a firestorm and they take a beating on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media outlet that is available. When really what should have happened is the person who took such offense calmly voicing their observation to the writer, offering to provide more insight, and going from there.

Watching these events has literally killed a little of the faith I had in a group of women, with motherhood in common, coming together to create a community. Mom Spark Media and the ladies who responded to my question made a little of that faith come back. They proved that some of us can put our big girl panties on and respect the differences we all have while embracing our commonality of being women, mothers, and writers.

So here a few of my favorite responses:
@CrayonWrangler from Coloring Outside the Lines : “We are religious. Our children believe in Santa in age appropriate terms. As they grasp reality we will encourage that too. I allow them to take the lead based on what they see but keep Santa to a minimum in decorations and stories. Focus on nativity. Santa is highly publicized so kids can’t grasp the fantasy vs. reality. We try to “keep it real” while still allowing magic. It’s a balance but one that is possible. If your home reflects Christ all year then Santa is fun but not the focus.”

Lisa Thompson from Simplified Saving: I’m Christian and have no problem with Santa. When we adopted our girls from Ukraine, they were 9 & 12. I really hoped they’d still be young enough to believe in Santa. During their first Christmas, I went through the normal Santa “hype” and I tried to convince both of them that Santa was real. My youngest said “If Santa is real, then how come he doesn’t bring gifts to kids in orphanages.” There went my argument for Santa being real. Since then, we treat Santa just like any other super fun made up character. My main concern is that my children realize the true meaning of Christmas and to explain that the reason we give gifts is to remind us of the very first Christmas where God gave us His son as the best gift of all!

Candice from Fashionably Organized: I am Jewish. So of course I always kewn that Santa didn’t exist. However, I learned at a very young age that I should not disclose that to the kids who did believe. LOL!
For me I think it has to be so much fun when they (kids) are super young to have a tooth fairy type person to believe in. We love so much that the children truly believe in the tooth fairy, and we know it won’t last forever. There’s an innocence about it that is wonderful to me.

Amy from Mom Spark (and many other sites as well!): Amy actually wrote about this a couple years ago. You can read her post in its entirety here. “We think investing, believing and hyping something to the point of calling it real, but is in fact not real at all, isn’t necessary for our children. We think that a child’s imagination and wonder can still be stimulated without these beliefs…Our nine year old still gets just as excited as any other kid on Christmas day, even though he knows we bought the presents. Presents are pretty darn cool all by themselves. I think Santa is so buried into America’s traditions and way of life, that we do not question why we do it and feel obligated to partake in the experience.”

As for me and my family. We view Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. For us it doesn’t matter that he really wasn’t born in December. It’s just the day that has been set aside to honor him and the sacrifices he made. It’s similar to recognizing the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January. His birthday is not the 3rd Monday of January each year but that is the day that has been set aside to honor him. Am I saying that the two are the same? Of course not, but in the fact that each has a day designated to celebrate their life, yes.

That aside, my kids still believe in Santa Claus but he takes a backseat role. Essentially, he is responsible for the stockings and maybe one present that is left unwrapped under the tree. The rest the kids know, are from mom and dad.

This of course works for us but each family is unique and rich in their own traditions and really when it comes down to it, it’s the traditions that surround this holiday that our kids will treasure the most.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Great post! I love that you had a diverse perspective. Delicious and very interesting.

    We’re have a Christian household and like you, Jesus is the main event, but we still have Santa. Right now, we treat him as if he’s real, because the experience excites the children. And, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the fantasy a little myself. When the cat is out of the bag, we’ll still believe in Santa as an idea. The embodiment of love and good will.
    Jessi´s last blog post ..Five Things I’m Giving Myself This Christmas

  2. Great post Tina! We are also Christian. We believe in Santa and the magic of all of it. Although like Amy said, my 11 year old doesn’t believe but she is just as excited. I think it’s just another tradition. We do tend to focus more on Jesus’ birth. This year I am trying to figure out WHY Santa if we are celebrating Jesus’ birth. We have decided to bake Jesus a birthday cake and the girls can sing Happy Birthday to him. Because I am still a “new” Christian, we are working our way around things. 🙂
    Gena Morris´s last blog post ..My favorite Christmas song is the Little Drummer Boy- what’s yours

  3. Thank you for mentioning me! It was great having the civil conversation and hearing all sides. Great post and topic!
    Amy´s last blog post ..A Long Distance eBay “Unwrap Attack”

  4. We are just enjoying the time of the year, mostly. People of all faiths seem happier (except in line at Bed Bath and Beyond at lunch time) when they are out and about.

    We have spent some serious time talking about Saint Nicholas – the real guy and the reason that he helped out children in need. We have met Santa three times. Abby thinks it’s fun, but is not focused on the gifts in any way. We started when she was born on pulling the focus off of the gifts.

    Come to think of it – Santa gets a bad wrap because people are focusing on the GIFTS, not on Santa. Poor guy. :o)

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, and for being willing to put yourself out there like that.
    RobMonroe´s last blog post ..Abby Tells the The Story of Baby Jesus

  5. Lauralee Hensley says:

    Wonderful that the women all acted like adults and didn’t slam each others beliefs.

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