Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The New Santa Claus

We tend to shy away from the norm in our family, and holidays are no different. When a story doesn't resonate with us, we change it.

Before my husband and I even had children, we discussed many of the decisions we would have to make as parents. Even then we knew that, though we LOVE Christmas time and all that comes with it, not being truthful with our children did not sit well with us. (Also: we are selfish and want all the gift-giving credit for ourselves.) So, we looked to the history of Santa Claus to decide how to tell his story to our future children. It wasn't very hard to see that the origins were as simple as a man (saint or god) who was generous and giving. Caring for the poor and children. So, this is the story we tell.

Santa is real. He is the spirit of giving for all those in need. But, we are blessed to have the means to create our own Christmas. So, it is our charge to collect items that we no longer use: clothes, books, and toys. Then Santa Claus comes to collect our donations on (or around) December 5th to redistribute to those in need on Christmas. We make it clear that he does not bring us presents. Our family is full of uncles, aunts, grandmas, papas, and more that enjoy showing some of their love through gifts this time of year. So we are happy to help Santa provide for others (save the elves some work and Santa some time on his Christmas Eve adventure.) When we write letters to Santa, it is to thank him for the work he does.

What do we hope to achieve with the alteration of common cultural beliefs? We don't do "Naughty or Nice" in our home, instead choosing to do our best to honor that a child is HAVING a problem, not BEING a problem. We strive to reduce a consumerist "I want, I want!" ideal by including them in taking responsibility for caring for others. No need to look to a stranger to fulfill wants or needs, our family is there for us. All the while keeping with the magic of Santa.

I know everyone does the holidays a little different, how do you or do you even do Santa?


  1. I love your family's take on Santa! We don't "do" Santa, either, but I really like the idea of explaining what Santa represents and how we can do our part to foster the spirit of giving during this (often greedy) time of year.

  2. I love this! This seems like an awesome twist to make the story work for you. I would love to move to something more like this for our family but am not sure how, since the traditional story is what our kids now connect with and remember from years past.

    In our fam Santa is not based on behavior at all (I love your grinch alternative to The Elf!!!) and he doesn't bring all the presents, just one per kid. But still. I wonder if I can work on changing things for next year...? I think I could work it if I had more time to talk to them about it....

    I do love the magic of Santa and have really fond memories from my childhood, so I want to keep some of that for my kiddos as well!

  3. I absolutely love your version of Santa! We don't do the traditional thing either, but I could absolutely get behind the Santa who visits your house.

    Our personal philosophies have led the husband and me to reject many parts of this holiday altogether and, as our children grow, that's starting to feel kind of ridiculous and a little sad. I'm really inspired by the ways you've found to rework these traditions in a way that is authentic for you.

  4. I love the way you have re-worked this tradition from being totally driven by consumerism back to the true origin of Santa, and how you are teaching your children about giving rather than receiving. My son is only two, so whilst Ive know we are not going to go with the traditional Santa story, I have avoided thinking what exactly we are going to do until now. I really like your version and may adopt it :)

  5. I love this idea! Mikko loves playing "elf," so we might have to adopt this one.

  6. We struggled with the idea of Santa, the lie, and the over-abundance ever since our daughter was born 5 1/2 years ago.
    I absolutely love what you've done and created. I'm so grateful that you shared it.
    We will be adopting much of it as well.
    You know this whole idea/story would make a great children's book.
    Just sayin'.....