Please help me process through this.
I was raised Catholic by a very strict and rigid family. Christmas was a huge consume-y extravaganza with a lot of Church. And a lot of "Santa is watching you. Be good." I believed in Santa for a very long time, loved the stories and TV specials. I started questioning my religion as a teen, and had rejected the Catholic Church by High School, much to my mother's dismay. Now, I would say my beliefs are a blend of New Age and Humanism. I also am big on ritual and tradition, and DH and I have spent 15 years together creating family rituals specific to us - we have plenty of Winter traditions, we do put up a tree for example...but not having a child until now ...we never really sorted out SANTA.
DH was one of 3 non Jewish kids in his entire Elementary School, so Christmas obviously was not a big part of his community and he says that he can't remember ever believing in Santa. He says he would have been laughed out of school. His family celebrated Christmas, sans church - and he equates Santa with a fictional character...."like Elmo" (his words)
DS is 2. We are trying to figure out how our family will handle the Holidays. Our community is diverse, but most of his friends (the children of moms that I met in pre-natal yoga mostly) "do" Santa. Now that I think about it, all but one are Christian! So guess, not that diverse.... We are one of the few AP families that I know. We are the only vegetarian family in our circles. I mention this stuff, because in many ways DS is already the odd man out socially.
Here is what I am struggling with. It feels really weird to lie to my son. As much as I love Christmastime, it just. feels. weird. But. (And it's a big but) he just turned 2 Oct 7, so in so many ways, he is a baby, attached to me; maybe I am too close to see him as the little boy, excited about the magical holiday that he will be soon....but he is a citizen of the world and more specifically of his community and 1. Do I want to deny him of the magic? 2..ESP when we operate left of the mainstream in so much of our life - am I taking away something kind of Universal about childhood? 3. OY. Our families will pitch a fit.
I kind of like DHs experience. Santa wasn't a huge thing - just something his family did among other seasonal stuff, kind of acknowledging that it was all pretend, and all going along with it....but I think he had that experience in part because he was growing up in a Jewish enclave. DS is not having that experience.
For the life of me, I don't know how to NOT do Santa, if that makes sense....my own experience is so limited.
If we do "do Santa" there will be one gift on Xmas morning. We will talk about the story of Jesus' birth, as we will talk about lots of stories from lots of religions all year long. Perhaps we will celebrate Solstice and exchange family gifts then, and make the season about giving more than receiving....
I am sorry for the ramble. I could really use some insight. Can we discuss the pros and cons of doing Santa?