I like Christmas, but Santa Clause is bothering me - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 12-20-2010, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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We celebrate St. Nicholas Day.  On December 6th, St. Nicholas visits our house with some combination of oranges, gold coins, a tasty treat, and something useful to the recipient.  Santa Clause does not visit our house on Christmas.

 

But this doesn't stop nosy strangers.  Usually, I respond to the question, "Is Santa coming to your house soon?" by stating, "St. Nicholas already came on December 6."  Some people, though, just don't get it, and they persist, telling my daughter to "be good for Santa (which annoys me on so many levels) and insisting that Santa will be there soon as if I have no say in that.

 

I'm also concerned about cousins when we celebrate Christmas together.  Last Christmas, DD was 9 months old and quite oblivious to the Santa obsession around her, but that is changing quickly.  I don't want her to ruin the fun for her cousins, but I don't want her to get sucked into that either.  It's hard because the Santa Clause myth states that Santa Clause visits the home of every child all around the world, which, for those who believe that, includes us.  For some reason, the presumption is bothering me.

 

Gosh, I feel like a Scrooge just saying it.  Really, I am quite excited for Christmas.  I'm excited about our menu.  I am excited about the birth of Christ.  I am excited about seeing family and friends.  I'm excited about starting family traditions and teaching my daughter the value of giving.  I love how she is excited about baby Jesus.  St. Nicholas was a great guy, and we do celebrate him... on his feast day.  Christmas for us is about Jesus, not St. Nick.

 

I know I'm not the only one.  Many non-Christians don't celebrate Christmas at all, and we can't possibly be the only Christian family who doesn't "do" Santa.  Have you found anything that works to be polite but demand respect for your beliefs without getting upset about it?  For the people who continue to persist, what do you do to explain to your young children?

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#2 of 17 Old 12-20-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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My kid was upset when leaving the play area at the mall and someone told her, Santa is watching you, you better be good.

 

I wanted to tell her off in the worst way.  In my effort to maintain composure, I scooped up kiddo and left without saying anything.

 

I don't really have an answer for you.  I need to have some standard answers too.

 

I have said this, she doesn't know who Santa is, yet. 

 

She just turned 3, so it's all new this year.  But really this is avoidance.  I am torn with this:  Should I just avoid when possible, or do I have to sort of state my belief in a matter of fact way.  I don't look for opportunities to spout my opinion of Santa, but I don't want to be a coward either.

 

Right now, I tell her that some families celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus and some families don't.  Momma and Daddy have decided that we don't celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus, but it's fine for others to do it.

 

I'm not a total scrooge.  If she like something, I may validate that it is pretty or whatever and change the subject.

 

Another thing I was considering...most people ask dd the questions.  They aren't even addressing me, but I feel this compelling need to step in and 'explain'. 

 

An example,  the nurse at the ER was asking dd if there was a tree at her house.  DD just shook her head no and the nurse dropped it.  In that case, I thought, well, that was just fine.  Question asked, and answered, no big deal and I kept quiet.  Maybe it's okay in some situations to let the children answer and we step in if it's getting out of hand.

 

I just wish this wasn't a big deal!


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#3 of 17 Old 12-20-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JMJ View Post

But this doesn't stop nosy strangers.  Usually, I respond to the question, "Is Santa coming to your house soon?" by stating, "St. Nicholas already came on December 6."  Some people, though, just don't get it, and they persist, telling my daughter to "be good for Santa (which annoys me on so many levels) and insisting that Santa will be there soon as if I have no say in that.



Honestly, that would confuse me too.  Politely but directly saying that your family doesn't "do" Santa would be much more clear, and likely more effective as a result.

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#4 of 17 Old 12-20-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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I have no trouble telling people we don't do santa. If they persist I start lecturing on the finer details of why etc.  They usually get bored and drop it.


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#5 of 17 Old 12-21-2010, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Maybe it's that my daughter is still so young, or maybe it's that I'm not great at lecturing strangers, but when I tell people that we're not doing Santa, I tend to get people arguing with me about depriving my child of a beautiful childhood fantasy.  It's not completely accurate either because we do celebrate St. Nicholas, the original Santa Clause, on his feast day.

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#6 of 17 Old 12-21-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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I think with strangers it is usually best to just smile, nod, and move around.  Why get into a long explanation with someone you are never going to see again.

 

With others, I would just be upfront with people and say that you don't do Santa.  I know some people "do" both St. Nicholas and Santa, so I think you will have to be more explicit.  Maybe something along the lines of "We choose not to do Santa in our house in order to focus on the birth of Christ.  But don't worry, she still gets presents / has a special day / gets to do fun activities / whatever." 

 

In my religious community it is about 50/50 for those who have Santa and those who do not.  We do, but I usually try to ask parents discretely if Santa comes to their house before talking about it with kids. 


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#7 of 17 Old 12-21-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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Maybe I am way off - but Santa Claus is St Nickolas - that is what Santa Clause means.  THe same with Father Christmas, or Pere Noel.  They are the same guy.

 

I would just tell people that you celebrate earlier in the month in line with your family traditions. They will prabably assume it's a different cultural tradition. I had Dutch friends growing up and they always had  Sinterklaas (and Black Peter!) come earlier in the month.  Lots of people will have encountered that idea or will at least get it.  I don't see any reason to confuse them by saying St Nick when you are basically talking about the same figure.

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#8 of 17 Old 12-22-2010, 07:11 AM
 
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It's perfectly fine that you choose not to "do" Santa Claus, but I feel that if you you want respect for that then you should give equal respect to those who "do" Santa.  After all,

 

 

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Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post

 

Maybe I am way off - but Santa Claus is St Nickolas - that is what Santa Clause means.  THe same with Father Christmas, or Pere Noel.  They are the same guy.

 

I would just tell people that you celebrate earlier in the month in line with your family traditions. They will prabably assume it's a different cultural tradition. I had Dutch friends growing up and they always had  Sinterklaas (and Black Peter!) come earlier in the month.  Lots of people will have encountered that idea or will at least get it.  I don't see any reason to confuse them by saying St Nick when you are basically talking about the same figure.

 

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I'm also concerned about cousins when we celebrate Christmas together.  Last Christmas, DD was 9 months old and quite oblivious to the Santa obsession around her, but that is changing quickly.  I don't want her to ruin the fun for her cousins, but I don't want her to get sucked into that either.

 

 This is going to be tough, and will only continue to get more difficult IMO.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but if you are adamant about your child not "getting sucked into that" then you may need to consider not spending Christmas with the cousins.  Kids get excited about Santa, you can hardly expect them to suspend that belief/excitement for the sake of your own beliefs/traditions.

 

 

Quote:

 

Gosh, I feel like a Scrooge just saying it.  Really, I am quite excited for Christmas.  I'm excited about our menu.  I am excited about the birth of Christ.  I am excited about seeing family and friends.  I'm excited about starting family traditions and teaching my daughter the value of giving.  I love how she is excited about baby Jesus.  St. Nicholas was a great guy, and we do celebrate him... on his feast day.  Christmas for us is about Jesus, not St. Nick.

 

Have you found anything that works to be polite but demand respect for your beliefs without getting upset about it?

 


 

 


Honestly, I don't think that there is any polite way to demand anything, paricularly in the context of holiday/religious traditions.  Again, it's a difficult situation because children are involved; and, let's face it, Santa Claus is a HUGE deal for many children.  If it's bothering you this much you may want to reconsider your holiday plans.

 

 

And perhaps you could consider a nice "Kneeling Santa" figurine, prominently displayed in your home.

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post

I have no trouble telling people we don't do santa. If they persist I start lecturing on the finer details of why etc.  They usually get bored and drop it.

 

Sorry, persistenance on the subject is certainly rude in and of itself, but I think that "lecturing" is equally disrespectful.  Can't you simply disengage and walk away?

 

 



 

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. 

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#9 of 17 Old 12-22-2010, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post

Maybe I am way off - but Santa Claus is St Nickolas - that is what Santa Clause means.  THe same with Father Christmas, or Pere Noel.  They are the same guy.

 

I would just tell people that you celebrate earlier in the month in line with your family traditions. They will prabably assume it's a different cultural tradition. I had Dutch friends growing up and they always had  Sinterklaas (and Black Peter!) come earlier in the month.  Lots of people will have encountered that idea or will at least get it.  I don't see any reason to confuse them by saying St Nick when you are basically talking about the same figure.


That's a good idea.  I'm not meaning to confuse people or be confrontational.  I just want an easy one line to explain the gist of our different traditions.

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#10 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 10:28 PM
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This is something I really need to give some thought to too....  We don't do santa in our home either, but my oldest, now almost 4, is catching on to all this mentioning of santa. On top of that, apparently my husband's grandmother has forgotten altogether that we don't do santa, because she keeps bringing it up with my kids!  Asking my oldest how many cookies he is going to leave out for him and such.  I look forward to seeing others' suggestions for dealing with this.

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#11 of 17 Old 12-24-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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Honestly the only person who has ever gone on is my mom and if she doesn't want to drop it then I am more than happy to drone on.  Really people here don't make a deal out of it.  I don't know many people who actually do Santa.  Its more common than not to skip it or to treat it like a game .  

 

And I do not consider St. Nicholas and Santa Clause to be the same person.  St Nicholas is a holy saint, a bishop in the Ancient Church.  His feast stands alone, has nothing to do with Christmas, and it is also a time to celebrate all of our friends named Nicholas.  Santa Claus (Jolly old St. Nick) may have his roots in the this saint whose feast day is often swallowed up by the secular celebration of Christmas but they are not the same person.  And doing Santa, and celebrating the holy feast of Saint Nicholas, are two entirely different things.

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#12 of 17 Old 12-24-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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love this thread! I posted a similar one in the waldorf forum. It does seem a heated topic on both sides...what about ppl who celebrate hannukah or something else totally separate? I think OP has the right to expect respect for her beliefs and choices...I dislike the idea that a cultural norm deserves more respect or we should shrug things off. IMO everyone can be more open minded of everyone's else's traditions and all the various ways "christmas spirit" is expressed. North America includes so many faiths, cultures etc within it that it is silly this is even an issue. I don't know what you say, tbh, just stick to your guns and be kind and let it go. as a "minority" that is sometimes what you have to do.


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#13 of 17 Old 12-24-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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As a non-Christian with Christian relatives, it can be tough.  Heck, even if all of our relatives were Muslims, it would be tough.

 

My kids get a lot of Santa-related hype... in school.... outside.. everywhere.  On some level, they still think he's going to stop by their house tonight because Santa visits all of the good kids, and they've been good.  I tell them, we're Muslim... we celebrated Eid... we love Jesus, but we don't celebrate his birthday.  (Jesus? What does Jesus have to do with Santa Claus asks the kids.)  As much as I say, I know they still really really hope they'll wake up tomorrow to a house full of presents.

 

It's tough.

 

With strangers, even though I wear hijab, they still ask the kids about Christmas and stuff.  Depending on the question, they'll say, "We don't celebrate Christmas".. but if asked about Santa, they still expect to see him.  


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#14 of 17 Old 12-24-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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I simply tell people "we don't do Santa."  No explanation.  Most people will drop the subject. 

 

My son understands that Santa is a fictional character in a book and that some parents give their children presenta from "Santa." and that is OK.  He also knows some kids think Santa is real, and he should help keep the secret since he is a big boy.

 

 

-anj


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#15 of 17 Old 12-24-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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I grew up knowing that Santa was a story. We didn't do St. Nicholas or any other substitute either. One lady, who apparently would stoop to any level to keep up the facade, told me that the reason Santa didn't visit us was because I didn't believe in him. That really hurt because I knew the reason we had skimpy Christmases was because we were poor (my mother was a single mom of 5 kids, doing her best to keep clothes on our bodies, food in our stomachs, and a roof over her head). As I got older, we had gifts put out like a "Santa" would, but we knew it wasn't a big, fat elf doing it.

 

And I taught my kids that there was no such thing as Santa - and the children took turns "playing Santa" each year. Yeah, some other parents felt a little threatened and my kids did tell a kid or two that Santa wasn't real.

 

I know this is a thread about one figure versus another, but what I'm trying to say is just do what works for you. Others will be inconsiderate, thoughtless. That comes with being human. Deal with it, forgive it, move on.

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#16 of 17 Old 12-27-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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trigger: i don't see how the OP needs to forgo her feeling for the sake of a culture that can not see past it's own nose. things only change we we demand it. it reminds me of people getting all bent out of shape and sending letters to the editors of the news paper about going in to such and such store and they got a "happy holidays" greeting instead of "merry christmas" like every single person in america "does" christmas and santa. what on earth does santa have to do with the birth of christ anyway? and i don't like the whole "you better be good" crud this time of year from complete strangers to my kids either and we aren't christian and don't do santa or christmas. why do people assume that? plus why put all the freaking pressure on kids. if there is all this excitement going on and all this build up and all this music and lights and decorations and movies all of it all the time from thanksgiving to the 24th what kid isn't going to go into over load and freak out. they aren't bad, just over stimulated.

NOW i have told my kids to be respectful of other children and their belief in santa (my kids believe in things like fairies and dragons and not everyone does) but they will tell an adult that they don't and walk away. 

 

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#17 of 17 Old 12-29-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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very interesting thread.  My daughter, 8 y.o., was very confused this year with Santa.  "Isn't he St. Nick?"  "Where does the Claus come from?"  I'm not into giving lectures so I gave my answer: "I wonder..."  I wonder if this is not the perfect time of year while it's fresh in their minds to tel the chidren that next year we will celebrate more of Christ's birth.  They love baby Jesus, so maybe it will work for us.


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