If you haven’t read Part 1 of the Problem With Santa, you can find it here.
Lest I am misquoted, misunderstood or placed on dart board targets across the land, let me just clarify something. I watch the Tim Allen Santa Claus movies all the time. I love Elf. Who could possibly not want to see Will Ferrell every year yelling “SANTAAAAA” like a cat in heat? I giggle at National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and I even have a Vintage Coca-Cola poster with Santa as one of my prized possessions.
I do not think Santa is evil and I am not looking to ban Santa from our language or traditions. There are families who love this part of their holiday festivities and they are very conscious of making it a small part of their Christmas. However, the greater part of our population has made Santa THE most important part of Christmas. And those of us in Christ, who seek a redeemed Christmas, have let it happen, participated and over-indulged.
I like statistics. Here’s some to consider:
- For the 2006/7 Christmas Season it was estimated that Americans spent $457 BILLION on gifts(avg of $800 per person)
- For the 2005 fiscal year Americans gave approximately $250BILLION to charities
So~ let’s just get this straight: DOUBLE the amount of money spent on Christmas gifts for ONE day than was given over the entire year to world wide charities
- after searching through several mommy/parenting blog sites I have found that parents buy anywhere from 1-4 gifts for each child from Santa
- some parents say that Santa gives the majority of the gifts in their home
- other parents say that Santa gives the major/large/expensive gifts and parents give the ” needed” or more personal gifts
I think I’m actually in shock. I had no idea.
You see, we never got gifts from Santa. We didn’t even know who Santa was. When we were very little and in town for lunch one December day, my older sister stood up on the bench seat and yelled ” hey look at all the Eskimos” (she was pointing to decals and window decorations on the windows of the restaurant. At the time she was probably 3 years old). She had no idea who Santa was. My mom said some of the patrons looked on in horror that a little child had no idea who the red-felted fellow was.
My kids don’t get ” Santa” gifts either.
Here’s some of our reasons why:
He isn’t real.
If I’m giving my kids a gift, then it is from ME and my husband, not Santa. Why should he get all the glory, praise and thanks for what my husband has earned and worked so hard to provide?
The fairy tales are fun for movies and stories but when they invade the personal space of family , I’ve come to believe that is overstepping big time.
We like to open our gifts on Christmas Eve which doesn’t really fit with the story of Santa.
If a parent is poor(as we have been) and can barely provide one gift for their child(ren), do they forfeit the privilege of giving to their child to keep the ” secret of Santa” alive? Or do they scrounge to give one small gift and leave the child feeling they must be bad because Santa didn’t give them anything? OR does Santa give them a cheap toy while their friends get something really fantastic?
I just really don’t understand how all of these things line up and work out. No wonder parents are stressed and miserable about shopping for their kids! And what does all of this teach our kids about Christmas and giving anyway? I really wish someone would enlighten me because it makes absolutely no sense.
Getting back to the spending…..what if Santa didn’t exist? What if there were no parents buying gifts ” from Santa” ? How would that affect the retail spending at Christmas? Would it? Maybe it would, and maybe parents would just spend more from themselves to their kids. However, marketing would change. Consider Christmas commercials that appeal to your inner elf. You want to help Santa don’t you? You want Santa to bring you the BEST gift, right? You want to be on the nice list? Retailers have you pinned against a wall and wrapped around every little finger they can manufacture. You are being lied to, schmoozed, tempted, bribed and pandered to. You’ve been had. The retailers are banking on YOU buying more than you can afford, more than your kids need, and they are helping you do it with credit cards, layaways and creative marketing.
Santa is a multi-billion dollar business. Santa is fake but he is rich and he is getting richer.
Perhaps part of redeeming Christmas for many of us would be to take the money we would normally spend on “Santa” gifts and put it into redeeming LIFE for others: water , food, medication , shelter…..that is a Redeemed Christmas! (if even a small percentage of the people buying Santa gifts for their kids put it into helping “the least of these” it could translate to literally billions of dollars…BILLIONS!)
For all of my posts on Redeeming Christmas, click the link at the top of this page.
And if you’d like to see some of the other bloggers who are blogging for 31days straight in October, go over here to THE NESTER and check some of them out. Such a plethora of topics!