Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Keep the Santa in Christmas!

This is less of a post and more a request for advice. As my Dad used to say, "The Christmas season is once again at our throats." It's a holly, jolly time that we actually do enjoy even if we don't celebrate it ourselves. Bambina loves visiting her Christian friends' houses so she can see the trees and the lights. She has started a nutcracker collection. So we're down with celebrating the joy with our friends who celebrate. But here's the dilemma:

How do I explain to Bambina that Santa does not come to our house because---well, Santa is imaginary--without ruining it for her Santa-loving friends? I told her that we don't believe in Santa. But I can't and won't tell her that Santa is real, because a) he's not and b) then why would we not allow him to come to our house and spread joy? So I told her that her friends who believe in Santa really deserve to have a fun Christmas and it's not for us to tell them otherwise. But then I sound like I'm saying her friends are stupid or something, like, "Oh they believe in Santa, but we know better, don't we?" Which I don't want to do either. So what do we do? If we did celebrate Christmas, the Santa thing would have been over by now because Bambina is too aware of her surroundings to go with that myth. She just BARELY still believes in the tooth fairy, on the theory that no fairy in its right mind wants some kid's nasty teeth...and besides, where do they keep them all and what do they do with them? So we'd have a similar issue with "the magic of Santa" even if we weren't Jewish because she would totally pick apart the entire story, like, Okay fat man is not fitting in our chimney, and why doesn't he just knock, and how come I give the list to you if he's the present man? And how do the reindeer fly?

You want someone present at a police interrogation to pick apart the logic of an alibi? Bambina is your girl. You want a lawyer in the courtroom who can decimate a witness with a well-crafted logically-sound takedown? Bambina is your girl. You want her to believe that a chubby dude in red drops gifts down a chimney? She's seeing holes in that story from word one. [This is why I am so tired all the time, btw].

So--let me hear your comments and advice. Soon. Before Bambina begins The Great Santa Unraveling for her kindergarten class.


St said...

Hmm, I'm still struggling with Santa's place in our family's Christmas. Would she get into it as a game that we help our friends play? That it's not telling lies if we are playing a game to make Christmas more fun for our friends? My oldest is 6 and while she wants to believe I think she even more doesn't want to be fooled. So I've decided that if she asks again I'll tell her the truth and get her to be in on the game for her sisters. She asked before, "is he REALLY real?" I was caught off-guard and told her that no one knew.
Let us know what you decide to do!

cocot said...

Far better than any creative explanations I can offer are what comes out of my son's mouth when I say, "You know, I am not really sure about that. Do you have any ideas of how that might go?"
The idea/explanation is then his own...with a little guidance. He wonders about Santa and how the whole thing works but he fills in the holes with some grand explanations. :)
If you are OK saying something like "You know, I am not sure if Santa is real or not, but he certainly brings joy to lots of people who believe in him. Some people don't believe in the things that we believe in, but that doesn't make them any less real for us." she may fill in whatever details you don't provide.

Or, maybe I am just a better liar than you are :)

AttitudeAdopt said...

My son was adopted from Kazakhstan, which is half Muslim and half Russian Orthodox. Interestingly, the kids there believe in a guy who looks exactly like Santa (white beard, red suit, etc.), but he brings presents to them on New Years and his name is Father Frost.
Anyway, I think this is a great model for having everyone enjoy a holiday together, rather than focusing on religious connotations attached to traditional pagen celebrations of the winter solstice.