Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy Walked into a Bar
It’s that time again… Time to answer another “Ask Me Anything Question!” I LOVE reading the questions you all have and think it’s a blast writing about topics I wouldn’t necessarily think of otherwise.
This time an anonymous reader asked “Do you and Nate plan on doing Santa with your son?“
SUCH a great question! As Christian parents this is certainly something Nate and I have thought long and hard about. We think we have come up with a way of going about “Santa” that we think will work for our family and we feel lines up with keeping Christ at the center of the holiday.
Even though it’s nowhere near Christmas I still wanted to answer this question now so I figured I may as well tie in the Easter Bunny (and Tooth Fairy and other traditions like that while I’m at it) with this answer.
While I totally respect parents who choose to not expose their children to the mythical parts of holidays AND parents who go all out with Santa, the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, etc, Nate and I have decided on more of a middle ground with our children. We’re totally going to play up the traditions of all these fun mythical beings while keeping honesty and open communication about the fact that a fun tradition is all it is. We are expecting that our kids will never believe in things like Santa but will still have fun playing up the tradition. I feel as though my parents did it right with me – we always got gifts from Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy – but I never truly believed in those beings. I knew they were just undercover names for my mom and dad and yet still loved pretending.
Here’s some of the things Nate and I have thought through in coming to this conclusion…
Honesty is key in every relationship
Just like Nate and I feel that it’s important to us to be completely honest with one another in our marriage, we feel as though it’s important to remain completely honest with our children. Yes, there will be times when the honest answer in a situation is not age appropriate or not something they need to know and, in that situation, we will modify the answer to fit what the child can/should know but we will still remain honest. We have decided that this will cover every and all topic – sexuality, religion, arguments in the household, Santa, and so much more. We realize this is going to be hard and sometimes awkward but we want our kids to trust us in every circumstance and hope this will allow them to feel safe to be honest with us.
Holidays should have deep meaning
The two characters that show up during the religious holidays – Santa and the Easter Bunny – definitely tend to steal the spotlight away from the real reason for the holiday. Nate and I feel as though the religious holidays are extremely important and want our kids to understand the true meaning and sacredness of the holidays. Both the birth and death/resurrection of Jesus are imperative to our faith and no tradition should undercut that. While including the Easter Bunny and Santa into the holiday is fun it should never overshadow our focus on Christ and what He has done for us.
Santa should not be confused with Jesus
“He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!” Sound familiar? That sounds a lot like how some people view God. He’s the big guy in the sky watching down making sure we’re not messing up. If we do mess up we’re going to pay for it. Firstly, that is WRONG! That’s not the gospel at all. The gospel is all about Grace. It’s all about Jesus taking on the penalty for what we did wrong and God viewing us as perfect. We’ve been washed white as snow. Secondly, I know quite a few people my age who viewed Santa a lot like Jesus. When they found out that Santa wasn’t real they questioned whether or not Jesus was real. If their parents lied to them about one being how could they be sure that they weren’t lying about the other being (see point #1). I NEVER want my kids to struggle with either a moralistic gospel or questioning the reality of Jesus.
What about other kids?
Since my kids will know that Santa/the Tooth Fairy/the Easter Bunny aren’t real they may very well ruin it for other kids. I don’t like this but it’s true. This past Christmas I talked with my pregnant sister and sister-in-law about what they were planning on doing with their kids. They both are choosing to do the whole Santa thing with their children (which I totally respect). Unfortunately, since our three little ones are going to be within 8 months of one another, Caleb may be the one to spoil Santa for his cousins. Nate and I are going to try to be open with him that some kids do believe that Santa is real and he shouldn’t tell them otherwise but we know as a three or four year old he may not really get this. We have to do what’s right for our family, though, and will profusely apologize to anyone our kids ruin it for.
Traditions are FUN!
All that being said, traditions are fun!!!! When our kiddos loose a tooth we want them to be excited to get a little something from the “Tooth Fairy” under their pillow. When Christmas morning comes we want our kids to be apprehensions as to what “Santa” left in their stocking. On Easter morning we want to see our kids light up when they check out the baskets the “Easter Bunny” left them. We feel as though there’s no reason to ban these traditions from our house. We want to have fun with our kids and feel as though this is a good, safe, and honest way to do it.