Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less: How We DON'T Do Santa...

Monday, December 22, 2014

How We DON'T Do Santa...

How We DON'T Do Santa...

Originally posted December 2012

Today I wanted to share what we do to make the Christmas season special and how we share the gospel principles behind it. For those of you who are of a differing faith or belief, I ask that you be kind. I try to keep things light and fluffy here on Blissful and Domestic, but today I want to share something close to my heart. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know my Savior lives and loves me. This post is for those Moms who were once like me, wanting to find a way to make their Christmas holiday more Christ filled, but not knowing how to go about doing it. This post is for my 20 year old self. 

Read on lovelies......

Santa Claus....That big, jolly man with his white beard and rosy cheeks. He is everywhere this time of year. We see him in commercials, in store advertisements, in Christmas TV specials, and even on food packaging. Santa Claus and Christmas go hand in hand every holiday season. As adults we can remember being a child and waiting to hear Santa and his reindeer on our roof tops. I can remember sneaking into my parents room and snuggling up to my Mom. I had to be around 5 or 6. I swear I heard hoof steps on the roof. I nudged my mom to tell her, but she grumbled for me to go to sleep and rolled over. I listened for more steps. My six year old self was just beaming with excitement. I knew I had heard Santa. He had come and brought presents for my brother and I. Santa is a part of all of us. He is a part of our youth. Eventually we get older and either learn for ourselves or from our friends that the jolly St. Nick is not real. I was dropped the “Santa Bomb” by my friend Stevie. Yes Stevie you crushed my Santa dreams with one phone call...haha :) Eventually I got over my No-Santa shock and moved on with my life. I still always loved Christmas, even though no more hoof steps would be heard on my roof. This is true today as well. Christmas holds a magic for me. It is like a big ball of glittery fun, which just has to be shared. I LOVE Christmas. The wrapping of presents, the jingle bell carols, the treats, and of course all the family gatherings. It just puts my heart in overdrive, happy mode.
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When I had children I knew I wanted to pass this love for the holiday on to them, but how would I do it? I wanted them to know the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Christ is the reason for the season.

After having my son, I talked to mother after mother. I wanted to know what they did to make the Christmas holiday special for their little ones. How did they teach them the true meaning? One sweet mother told me that they didn't do Santa. I was astounded. What? You can NOT do Santa? I didn't even know that was allowed. How does that even work? Well she enlightened me. Her children were hardcore Santa fans, until they decided one day to pray to him. Their little selves understood that they had been told that Santa could see them when they were sleeping and when they were awake, so he must be like God....Right? Well this Mother knew she had to do something fast. She sat those children down and dropped the “Santa Bomb”. You know the “He isn't real” bomb. The thinking of her little ones made sense. We teach our children the gospel everyday, and the holidays should be no different.

After hearing her story I decided what I would do. I would not discourage Santa, but I wouldn't encourage it either. Hubby was on board with my plan. We would do fun holiday things, string Christmas lights, give presents, but we would teach the gospel principles behind everything we did.

Anytime I discipline my children, I do it through the gospel. When they have made a wrong choice, I remind them that those are things that make their Heavenly Father sad. By learning how little things can be unpleasing to the Lord, they are able to understand how bigger, poor choices can be just as bad. They begin from toddlerhood to realize that everything has an eternal, spiritual consequence. We continue this teaching at Christmas time.
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Every year we do a countdown. When my kids were toddlers we used the Alphabet to help us countdown to Christmas. For 26 days we crafted, created, baked, sang, and skipped our way to Christmas. This was such a fun way to get my then 3 and 18 month old into the spirit of the season. We started off slow with the gospel principles we taught. We mainly focused on a cliff notes version of the Christmas story. We wanted to make sure they knew who Christmas was for.

As it gets closer to Christmas we start The Twelve Prayers of Christmas. We get out our book and the nativity. We read a poem each night and add one piece to the nativity. On Christmas Eve is when we read the whole Christmas story again and add Christ. I love this book because it breaks down the nativity so simply for us. We are able to talk about why we give presents. We do this when we add the wise men. We give presents to remember how the wise men brought Christmas gifts after he was born. We bake star cookies when we talk about the new star that shone in the sky. We make every moment count. 
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We still have fun with Santa. We make Santa crafts, Santa treats, and watch The Santa Clause Movies. We do this because it is a fun, magical part of Christmas. I get to have fun with my kids and be one myself for the whole month of December. I look forward to it. By not “doing Santa”, you're really just taking the focus off the man in the red suit and putting it back on the Savior. Because after all, you can't have Christmas without out Christ.

Thank you all for always being such amazing supportive readers. I would love to hear what you do to make the season brighter for your family. How do you focus on Christ during this season?

XO Danielle

4 comments:

  1. Well, in our family we DO Santa. We love Santa around here. However, we have always taught that he is a symbol of Christmas... just like wreaths, candy canes, trees, stars are all symbols that point to Christ. We teach that Santa is a symbol of Christ's un-selfish service that never expects a 'thank you' or praise. Every night we read a scripture about the Savior's birth, sing a Christmas hymn, tell about the good that we do that day as a gift for Savior (lining a basket with yellow hay), and read a Chistmas book. On Christmas Eve we act out the nativity, along with leaving cookies out for Santa. On Christmas morning, before gifts, we read I Believe in Santa Claus, which explains how Santa is a symbol of the Savior. We pray, and then madly open gifts. ;) I love it!

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  2. Our children write letters to Santa and get their picture taken with him each year. Whenever they ask questions though we turn it back to them and ask "what do you think/guess?" etc. They come up with their own ideas about Santa. Our family gets stockings from Santa each year but gifts are from family members.

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  3. Danielle, you are such an encouragement! This is my sons second Christmas...he is 14 months old. I have struggled with the same things. As believers, we are striving to make sure our children know the truth. Why would we confuse them with Santa? I am taking the same exact approach that you do. It can be light and fun at times, but we keep the true meaning for the season at the heart of it all. We will not purposefully mislead our children in the name of fun and games. Thank you again for all you do, you are such an inspiration to me. Merry Christmas!

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  4. I love that you do this! I knew with my first child's first Christmas that I didn't want to do Santa (I had to convince my husband to do Christmas at all, as he strongly dislikes the commercialism of it, and would prefer to celebrate Christ's birth later, but I won the argument, thankfully) so we discussed the things we would and wouldn't do, as parents. Santa, the tooth fairy, and Easter Bunny bit the dust. We both remembered how believing, then discovering they weren't real, caused us to question our parents' word (you know, if the tooth fairy isn't real, what else isn't real?) and we never wanted our babies to question our faith over something that could be better explained with truth. It also helped us to redirect the focus from Santa or the Easter Bunny back to the reason we celebrate those holidays, Christ. We made sure we explained the history of Santa to them (couldn't really find where the Easter Bunny came from), and that other families believe differently, so they wouldn't drop the bombs on their classmates. We also label many of their gifts as being from Jesus, because we try to always give God the glory for what we have. They may not get the latest, greatest toy or gadget, but they know that what they do get is carefully thought out, and provided by the Lord, not us (they know I'm a thrifter, so anything new must be a God-thing! haha)

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