Saturday, September 20, 2014

Personal Views On Santa Claus Have Mom At Odds With American Traditions

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a devout Catholic woman, and the mother of a three-and-a-half year old daughter. I have taught her the story of Christmas, but not of Santa Claus; rather, I have shared the history of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (the man upon whom Santa Claus is loosely based).

This year, "Jillian" started attending pre-school/day-care a few days a week and I have noticed that many of the children are started to ger excited about a visit from "Santa". At three-and-a-half, I realize that my daughter is too young to spill the beans to these children that Santa Claus is not real, but I am concerned about what to tell her if she starts asking me about Santa Claus. Furthermore, I am concerned that she will repeat whatever I tell her to her classmates, and I do not want other parents to be upset with me or Jillian for ending the tradition for their children. However, I simply will not have my child believing in such nonsense!

My husband says that I am worrying about a bridge that will not be crossed this year, but I know that by next year Jillian's speech will have developed enough that she will be better able to voice her thoughts. I would like to nip this whole Santa problem in the early stages, before the materialism that has taken over Christmas takes a hold of her; my husband says to let it go for now. What do you think we should do, Tazi-Kat?

Mary, Mother Of Jillian

Dear Mary, Mother Of Jillian:

Although it is admirable that you seek to teach your daughter the true, religious meaning behind Christmas; you must understand that not everybody celebrates with the purity that you celebrate. You call the tradition of Santa Claus "nonsense", and you are well within your right to an opinion; but many would disagree with you. I fall somewhere in between, taking the Willy Wonka view that "a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men".

At three-and-a-half, your daughter is very impressionable, so I can understand your concerns that her views on Christmas will be warped by the materialism that Santa Claus has come to represent in our American society. Should your daughter express confusion over Santa Claus, explain to her that not all people believe the same things as you and her Daddy; and that not everyone celebrates their December holidays with Santa Claus. This should be enough to convey to her that Santa is not a part of your celebration, while preventing her from ending the tradition for other children. If your daughter's pre-school is a secular one, she probably has classmates of various, non-Christian faiths; so she will not be the only one who does not celebrate with Santa, and should not feel singled out of the crowd.


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