I’ve realized lately that there are a lot of families who don’t do the Santa thing with their kids. They celebrate Christmas, just not emphasizing that a Big Guy Dressed In Red brings you presents, so YOU’D BETTER BE GOOD. The reasons are varied- not wanting to lie to the kids, the idea that good behavior is rewarded with material things and bad behavior leads to punishment from some strange, made-up character who lives at the North Pole.
And you know what? I totally get it and respect it. It’s a very personal thing, deciding how your family will ‘do’ Christmas and what traditions you’ll have. I honestly never gave much thought to it when Maggie became old enough to understand what was happening at Christmastime, so we just went ahead with the ruse of Santa and the reindeer and even the Elf On The Shelf.
And I’m happy that we did- I love it. We don’t really use Santa and the threat of ‘No presents! Coal in your stocking!’ as a behavior modification tool (though I’ll admit, we DID employ it a little bit last year because OMG WE WERE DESPERATE AND THREE YEAR OLDS ARE INSANE, DUDE.) Santa really just adds a little bit of magic to their Christmas, something I remember fondly from when I was a kid. We ‘do Santa’ right along with teaching Maggie about the birth of Jesus and what Christmas is really about. At this point a lot of that is over Maggie’s head but she loves playing with the ceramic dolls in the little house!
In past years, we’ve gotten kind of into Playing Santa. One year, Dan even nibbled a carrot and left it behind, pretending he was a reindeer.
We are dorks.
The first time we took Maggie to see Santa at the mall, she was almost two years old and petrified. I can’t blame her. She cried, but I was able to sit next to her and we got a cute picture.
The next year went much better- she wouldn’t do it alone, but she was all smiles.
Last year, she was finally brave enough to sit on his lap by herself!
This year was the first time Audrey was added into the mix. I was 100% sure I would be in the picture too, so I got all dolled up in my red sweater and red earrings and put on my best I Love Santa Smile. And then… Audrey sat there next to her big sister, totally fine.
(There was also train-riding. Because DUH.)
So it was a success, all around. Seeing both of my girls together, and watching Maggie practically GLOWING with excitement… yeah, I’m pretty happy we do the Santa thing.