The Santa decision is a big one for families that celebrate Christmas. There is no one best approach. I’m not going to begin to suggest what I think is best for your family. That’s something that only you know. Instead, I will share what our family has chosen, hoping to inspire a thoughtful choice for others.
I am on Team No-Santa. My husband is on Team Santa. So like any good marital disagreement, we compromise.
Our house is officially Team Santa Lite.
That’s not actually a thing so don’t try googling it; I just made it up. It is what uniquely works for our family.
We don’t go see Santa or leave cookies out on Christmas Eve. We talk more about the shepherds and wise men than the elves. But we also don’t quash the magical excitement that bubbles over for the man in the red suit.
We just kind of let it play out.
He fills the kids’ stockings with practical things (new markers, a light-up toothbrush, some hair flair) and brings one item for my two kids to share. It’s a carefully thought-out item that they can use together – a board game, a hand-me-down play kitchen, or the elves busiest year…a twisty slide off the back porch.
In addition to the one present Santa brings, we give each child one present from us and the grandparents each give one present. That’s it.
I don’t want Christmas to be about the stuff.
Presents are an intentionally small part of our Christmas celebration. I want the focus in our house to be on the manger and the transformational hope, joy, and promise that comes through Christ’s birth.
My kids don’t write Christmas lists of things they want. Practically, they aren’t going to get most of the things on their list as they only receive a few presents.
But bigger than that, I want their focus to be on gratitude for what they do get instead of disappointment for what they don’t.
Last week, my four-year-old got in the car after preschool and stated that one of her friends asked her what is on her Christmas list for Santa. Oy. No matter what our approach, I don’t want to have “that kid” that blows the magic for someone else. I took a deep, hard breath in and asked her what she said.
“I told her that in our family we don’t write lists, it’s a surprise. And I’m grateful for the things I do have and spending time with my family.”
I couldn’t have summed up Christmas in our house better, my dear.
This year, our church is hosting CARITAS the week of Christmas. I am excited for my family to spend part of Christmas Day with the guests.
We prioritize giving to others, gratitude, and our faith at Christmas.
Our approach on how many presents to give and how big to do Santa doesn’t mean we love Jesus more or less than another family. Our approach to Santa reflects what works for our family, just as I hope that your approach will reflect what works for yours.
And in light of all of the above, don’t think that I am above anything frivolous for Christmas. I may not be Team Santa, but I am certainly Team Matching Pajamas!