-1-After Wednesday's pictures of Peter opening some belated presents, a friend asked me if we "do Santa." The short answer is, "Not really." We didn't take Peter to visit Santa at the mall, write letters, or leave treats for him to eat on Christmas Eve. We didn't imply that our stockings were filled by Santa. We almost exclusively play religious Christmas music at home and in the car, so he wasn't familiar with Rudolph or the other Santa lore passed on through song.
-2-He still knows about Santa. One of his Christmas books is The Night Before Christmas, narrated by his Grandma. His Grams sang secular songs to him. We weren't hermits during December, so he heard secular songs in stores and saw Santa at the mall.
|Stealth picture while he listens to his book.|
And yes, he prefers no pants. Just sweatshirt and diaper.
-3-At this point, we just haven't talked about Santa. Peter didn't seem particularly interested in him, so the topic never came up in conversation. People would ask, "Are you excited about Santa coming?" Peter would just look confused and say no. Since we hadn't emphasized Santa as a gift-giver, Peter didn't see why people would get excited. I mean, there are songs and pictures of snowmen, too, but we're not enthusiastic about them. :-)
-4-I assume he'll be more curious about Santa as he gets older. We've decided to explain (when he asks) that Santa represents the spirit of generosity. He is a legend, originating from St. Nicholas (bishop of Myra), but nothing more than a fun teaching story. That being said, many people like to believe he is magical and real, so not to criticize if others talk about him like he is real. And if Peter wants to pretend Santa is real, that's fine too, but he will know that it is all just pretend.
-5-One thing we won't do is compare Santa to God. I know there are Christians who say Santa represents God's love... but given how our culture portrays Santa as rewarding the good and punishing the naughty, I think that's a lousy image of God's love (see Matthew 5:45). None of us are good enough to deserve what God gives to us.
-6-It's been interesting to see how others react to Peter's lack of interest in Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman. By not actively exposing him to that part of Christmas, we have made some people defensive. I've been surprised by how annoyed these folks have seemed, even though we're not anti-Santa. We're just not teaching it. Most people have been surprised/confused/curious, which makes more sense to me.
-7-We'll see how he approaches Santa in the following years. For now, I'm happy that he can sing all three verses of Silent Night and don't mind a bit that he looks up blankly when someone asks him to sing Rudolph. What has your family done with Santa?