I have never mentioned the name Santa Claus in my house. My older daughter is four years old and she knows nothing of a jolly man, with a big belly coming down the chimney to put her Christmas gifts under the tree. My girls have never taken a picture at a mall sitting on Santa’s lap, and I don’t ever plan on doing it.
I know what you’re thinking. My children will be missing out on their childhood and having something to believe in. I just believe Christmas can be magical without the concept or belief in Santa Claus. It is just as special without me getting them to believe that receiving a gift is dependent on how ‘good’ they are throughout the year.
Here is the thing. I grew up on an island where the idea of Santa Claus coming down a chimney, couldn’t remotely be part of my reality, because we had no chimneys. It’s not even real for so many kids in the United States, because even right here in my tiny Brooklyn apartment, there is no chimney.
I didn’t enjoy Christmas for many years after I moved to the United States, because it didn’t feel as special as it did when I was a child. I remembered my grandmother changing the curtains. Doing a deep cleaning to the house. There wasn’t heavy decorations, but some lights to signify the holidays.
On Christmas Day I woke up to the smell of freshly baked bread and meats stewing in the pot. Later came the family sized portions of mac and cheese, rice and beans and an assortment of foods for dinner and dessert that the adults in the family helped prepare. I don’t recall gifts, but I remember waking up to this amazing day just knowing it was special.
The only thing that made it special before children was me being addicted to watching all the Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. I watch Miracle on 34th Street and the hilarious Bad Santa. Since having my first daughter, I’ve gotten a tree, decorated the house, bought gifts and made time to watch Christmas movies that both my girls have come to love.
I am also going to focus more on giving this year and moving forward, because this is really what the holidays and Christmas are about. It’s about family, community and giving. Even though this should already be happening throughout the year, the Christmas season reminds us to not forget that.
This is the kind of Christmas I want to pass on to my daughters. Whether you choose to incorporate Santa into your holidays or no Santa at all, let’s focus on the true meaning of Christmas.