I respect the desire to raise your child without Santa and the traditional Christmas. That’s awesome. I wish you the best of it.
That being said, children do not become selfish and greedy because they believe in Santa. That’s just stupid. Children become selfish and greedy because those are the values their parents model, no more and no less.
I love Christmas. I love everything about it. I love the decorations. I love the songs. I love wrapping special gifts for people that I care about. I love making all the wonderful goodies that taste like heaven. It is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
My kids are kind, compassionate, generous, selfless Christians, even though they were raised to believe in Santa Claus. They definitely aren’t greedy. They know that the magic of Christmas is in the giving, not receiving. They will help make food baskets for the poor and gather blankets for the homeless. They will play Christmas carols on the piano at the convalescent hospital and bake cookies for our neighbors. They will also craft special ornaments to exchange at our annual Open House. Everyone brings a wrapped ornament and takes one home. No gifts allowed. There are too many people to buy for. Yeesh.
But early Christmas morning the boys will creep into the living room to peek at their stockings and then sort out all of the packages. The elves are not very organized. When they are done they will wake us up so that we can open our gifts. They wait patiently while their daddy lights a fire and then puts the kettle on for me. My oldest passes out the presents, one by one. We open them by turn so that we can share in the joy that others receive. Then we will go to breakfast and come home to sleep. After midnight Mass and an early morning wake up, hubby and I are tired. The boys will spend the next few hours playing with their new board games. These traditions reflect the ones that hubby and I celebrated as kids. We shared them with our kids because they brought us happiness.
Whether your St. Nicholas wears a robe or a red suit, it isn’t just presents that he carries in his bag. He also brings love, charity and compassion. He teaches us how to give so that we might receive.
Children, raised with the spirit of Christmas, will one day ask why Santa makes so many toys for all the children in the world. Then you can tell them that making toys is what he does best. God gives us talents so that we might share them with others. By giving his gifts freely, Santa is being obedient to God. They will know that Santa lives in the hearts of every person who gifts the world with their time, talent and treasure. They hide behind the Santa facade so that only God will know their true identity.
If you have raised them right, they will want to be like Santa, who is generous and obedient to God. Afterall, anyone can make a donation to charity or help the poor. If you have been poor, you know how demeaning this can feel. Dear Santa doesn’t write a check. He takes the time to hand deliver his special gift and he makes the recipient feel loved in the process.
I’ll keep my Christmas. We’ll keep Advent, too. To those who think that the secular interferes with the religious, I say that God loves children and children love Christmas. Early Christians did not mock the traditions of others, they embraced them. They gave them a new meaning according to our faith. They used pagan history to bring people close to God. Imagine that.
As for your DH advent calendar, use it, change it or dispose of it as you please. Just remember that you reap what you sow. Your MIL made that calendar with as much love as you feel right now for the child you carry, if not more. The gift wasn’t just the calendar, it was the memories that go with it. However you use it, know that one day your child might marry someone who doesn’t embrace Advent the way you do. We like to think we can control things like that but God’s plan doesn’t always follow our plan. Expect that your child by marriage will treat your traditions and the beautiful things you will make the same way you now treat your MIL’s. Then go as you mean to proceed.
May the peace and love of the Christmas season fill your heart with joy that you can’t help but share with others.
and Happy Advent, too.