Chase Journey · Life

Pre-12 Days of Giving: Thoughts on Santa and the Christmas Spirit.

I am opening a {HUGE} can of worms with this post. I can feel it.

But I sort of want that because I am curious and craving others’ opinions on what I’m about to discuss: The Christmas Spirit and Santa.

I woke early (when I saw early, I mean 4 am early) with an overwhelming feeling in my spirit. The sounds super dramatic, but really I’m inspired. I felt a shift happen inside. It began last year when Chase was 2 and he was more into the holiday. I started feeling convicted and challenged in what kinds of things I am teaching Chase over the Christmas holiday. Now that he is 3 and is more aware of what’s going on around him, he has more questions, wants to be more involved, more imaginative, etc… and, I feel the conviction even more so: What do I want to pour into my kiddos? What do I want them to take away from the Christmas season?

This isn’t meant to be a “bah humbug” post or bash Santa Claus post. In fact, I absolutely love the spirit of Christmas: the life that celebrating Jesus brings, the traditions, the giving, the receiving, the fun music/decor, etc. – And, I actually really enjoy the idea of Santa Claus and the fun and imagination “he” brings. But there is something in my spirit that is really bothered by the ideas I feel that are becoming impressed upon my little 3-year-old’s heart and mind.

Saturday mornings are usually my ‘Thrifted Treasures’ mornings. I drop Ted off at work around 8:45 and then the boys and I head to local thrift stores, mostly just to look and if I stumble upon a treasure, hooray! This past Saturday I decided to venture into an antique mall that I had never yet been to: The Brass Armadillo. When we arrived I saw a sign that said Santa would be there today with free photos and gifts. Chase has never really seen a Santa in person but I thought this could be a fun opportunity. It was actually quite eye opening. I liked the IDEA of Santa and the fun and imagination involved… like Halloween for example, we don’t celebrate evil things and participate in the creepiness of it, however – I do love dressing up my boys and letting them have fun and hanging out with friends in costumes. Pretending and fellowshipin’. When we saw santa, that was kind of where my heart went, “Hmmm…” First, my boys REALLY didn’t like him. Shailo was screaming and Chase kept hidden beside me and saying, “I’m being shy, momma.” But mostly when Santa asked him, “What would you like for Christmas?” I felt just so odd in my spirit. Is this what we wanted for our boys? And the answer is: I’m still just not sure what I think.

The part I don’t like is that it feels like Christmas = Santa = getting gifts or even getting {specific} gifts.

That is the part  that I do not want. I do like the imagination and the fun of Santa and Christmas without the feelings of “I’m owed something” or feeling like he should be given something rather than give something away. These are obviously not solely to blame on Christmastime or believeing there is a Santa. No. But I just wonder if I am teaching him things that aren’t lining up with how I believe and how I would want him to grow. To feel gratitude, to want to give rather than receive, to use his imagination with what he already has, etc.

I struggle because I am beginning to see things begin to rise up in my sweet boy that break my heart and we are currently in the thick of trying to work through these things: expectations and disappointments,  feelings of ungratefulness, unappreciative for the what he has, sometimes demanding, etc.

But how do I help him work through these very things that are taught and portrayed during the Chritmas season? I hope I am making sense. I just feel so torn.

I guess my question isn’t Santa or no Santa? But instead how to implement the true story of Santa with some bits of fun, imaginative ideas AND the true spirit of Christmas: He (Jesus) came so we could live and I want more than anything for my son to know that and to GIVE life and love instead of feeling owed or believing this time of year is for presents alone. My oldest is 3! Shouldn’t I have this decided my now? Well, I haven’t! Haha… Hence this post.

I actually feel they really could go hand in hand. The “real” Santa Claus is derived from a man called St. Nicholas (this is a story I heard growing up, so the facts…it could be so wrong haha) who wanted to bless the poor and needy!! “Santa” is known for his generous spirit but when did it become about {us} being on the receiving end? (Hi, I love giving and receiving gifts so I’m really not bashing gift getting! Just have a hard time when it becomes the main focus). As I am writing this post I feel some things beginning to really resonate within me. I can teach my boys that yes, Santa was real and is real in the spirit of GIVING and also, that Christ came to GIVE life. They really CAN go hand in hand… right?

What kinds of things do you or your family do to inspire the true Christmas spirit? To bring forth things that are good for your kiddos to learn? What kind of traditions do you implement in your Christmas holiday that encourage giving rather than just receiving? What are your thoughts on celebrating Jesus and Santa?

I recently stood in a long line at the Dollar Tree with both my boys in tow.  A second clerk opened up a register and said, “I can take the next person in line!” Before the elderly woman next in line could even react, I watched as a woman from the very back of the line rushed forward and took the spot. Others quickly following. I felt so sad (and shocked) and I watched this happen. Really? You’d take a spot from an elderly woman who had waited her turn in line. I witnessed a very similar thing at Old Navy only a day later and had a moment of “Oh, that’s right. It’s Christmastime.” How sad!

Does anyone feel the spirit of Christmas tends to bring out the most selfish side of people? Even in me personally. I remember last year, my sweet husband went out and bought me gifts he thought I might like. I remember feeling disappointed with him because it wasn’t what’d I asked for. (How’s that for honest? He knew unfortunately.) REALLY Jami?

I’m just so over it. Over the spirit of selfishness that comes along with Christmas. So this morning I had an inspired thought and today, I decided to write on here and make this official and see if there is anyone who would like to join in with me? I decided to start a small blog series to inspire giving and to keep my heart and my kiddos hearts in check.

12 Days of Giving beginning December 1st. This can look however you would want it to! I wrote down ideas of my own and then hopped online for more inspiration early this morning and made a small list. Here are the things we will be doing if you’d want to join us. (Or make your own list. Please let me know if you will be doing this! I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.)

12 Days of Christmas Giving:
1.Bless clerks/servers (that we come across during errands) with Christmas candy and a sweet note
2.Text encouraging message and picture to friends/family who need them
3.Make bird/squirrel feeders and put them out
4.Leave a treat for our mailman
5.Make Christmas/winter wreath for a busy friend
6.Make treats for Ted’s coworkers
7.Take a few friends’ a treat while they are working
8.Make/take Christmas notes and treats to neighbors
9.Leave Christmas treats/notes on carts at a busy store
10.Bless aquarium workers with a candy cane and note of encouragment (we are going to the aquarium that night)
11.Chalk kindness for neighbors/mailman (chalk note on their sidewalk and one in front of the mailbox)
12.Buy and Gift Christmas gifts for a child in need
I am also being SUPER DUPER ambitious (encouraged by my rad hubby who loves when I blog) and going to do 12 days of Crafting alongside of this! I have DIYs coming your way :)
Thanks for reading this ridiculously long blog post and please, please, please comment with your thoughts!
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6 thoughts on “Pre-12 Days of Giving: Thoughts on Santa and the Christmas Spirit.

  1. Jami- I love your heart! I teared up a bit at the part where you said you were annoyed with the gifts your hubby bought you, because I too have been there and it feels yucky!!
    My boys are 5.5 and 3, and I’m STILL figuring this out too!! Mason passed away shortly after Christmas, and for the next 2 years my husband and I were seperated for the holidays, and 2 yrs ago my mom was diagnosed with cancer and has been in treatment during the holiday season…so this time of year has been really hard and we haven’t celebrated the way I’d like. We are slowly easing back into the spirit of the season and figuring out what we want it to look like, and what we want to focus on. I’ve seen some good ideas on Pinterest…there’s the 3 gifts that go in line with what was given to Jesus (gold, frankensence, myrrh) which are a want, something to help them grow spiritually, and something to wear/for their body. I think we’re going to implement “a want, a need, a wear, a read.” I struggle with fitting Santa into this because my thought/desire/part of my childhood was that he brought one big thing and left it set up, unwrapped. Like a train table, or something really cool for the whole family. But only one thing. And then there’s stockings…I never know what to do with those!!
    God is REALLY working In my spirit on THINGS…the value/significance I place on things, keeping things that aren’t necessary/used. So I am currently getting rid of TONS of stuff, and I don’t want to replace it with tons more in a month. We are really moving into a minimalist/simplified season!!
    Another thought is to spend each day of December focusing on what Christmas is about- reading books, doing crafts, making your advent/countdown calendar based on Truth and scriptures rather than candies and toys. I saw one that had something to do each day, like your 12 days idea. I think with balance and emphasis on the right things- the giving/Santa thing are ok. But the main focus should be on Jesus, and blessing others, and creating memories for your family that you will feel good about as they grow!! (Really long response- not proof reading!)

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    1. OH MY GOODNESS, thank you so much for your comment. I loved your input. I absolutely love what you shared about the gifts for Jesus and how you can implement even the symbolicness of that into their lives over Christmas. Thank you for sharing honestly with me about you and what you’ve walked through. I love how real you are. We’ve still gotta get together like FOR REAL! haha

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  2. We dont do Santa…or the toothfairy…or the Easter Bunny…or Halloween. But I’ll stick with Santa :) I LOVE imagination and creativity…but I also like reality. I want my kids to be able to ‘pretend’ and ‘imagine’ themselves to be things like superheroes and princesses and robots. It’s a VERY important part of being a child…and it’s an outlet for their creativity. But I also want them to know truth and the difference between what is real and pretend. So in relationship to Santa, I want them to know about Saint Nicholas and the WHY behind what he did. I want them to understand what it means to give and expect nothing in return, and to help those who need it (Speaking of Saint Nick…Veggie Tales has a great ‘Saint Nicholas’ episode and its free on Netflix). But I dont want them to think that Santa is real. Because he’s not. They can pretend all they want to about Santa, reindeer, sleighs, just like they can pretend to be Dora, Batman or Sleeping Beauty. But I’m going to teach them that we give gifts to them and they give gifts to each other and to family. I also have a few other hang-ups about Santa. Like you said, I don’t like the “what do you want santa to give you for christmas’…I dont like that it teaches my kids to focus on ‘what i want’ instead of ‘what can i do to give/bless mommy/daddy/gramma/brother/sister”. I don’t like that he has become what Christmas is about to the majority of the western world. Because it distracts from the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not bad to pretend in the story…but to me distracts from the REAL story of Christmas. And there is SO much I want to teach my kids about that. I want them to understand the GIft of Jesus. And how his gift to us is why we give to others. I want them to experience the gifts he still gives…life, peace, joy, hope, etc… I dont think that believeing in or celebrating Santa means you can’t celebrate Jesus, but to me…I just like to keep it simple. I also get so hung up on the “if your good he brings you good gifts but if you’re bad you dont get gifts (or you get coal)” concept. To me that goes against the message of Jesus and the Gospel. Because the Bible says “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’. He ‘gives good gifts to those who ask”. And “he saved us while we were still sinners” Our works/our abilities, they don’t determine his love for us. In addtition we are often asked to give of ourselves (time, money, resources, love, etc) to those who we may not feel ‘deserve it’. His love and generosity are not linked to our ‘goodness’. they are linked to his love for us. And that is a VERY important value to me to instill in my kids.

    My heart also echoes yours in terms of ‘the spirit of Christmas”. We aren’t doing the exact 12 days of Christmas giving like you are but We are doing our advent themed as ‘random acts of kindess/giving’. I want to instill in my kids at a very early age the JOY of giving….how Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and I want them to learn to recognize and meet the needs of others. Our somewhat-selfish-independent-me-focused western culture doesn’t often emphasize the Golden Rule (do Unto others what you would have them do to you) or the Great Commandment (Love your neighbor as yourself) but those are among the highest values I want to live and teach to my littles.

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    1. I haven’t had time to reply back until now. I looked up the video and put it in our Queque on our Netflix. Thank you! I was brought to TEARS reading your comment because it was SO PERFECT for where my heart is. I was so thankful to hear someone put my overwhelmed thoughts together – like a puzzle – and lay it out perfectly. Thank you so much. I am so thankful for you, friend and your wisdom and input. Thank you beyond words. Xx, Jami

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  3. This has been on my mind, too- so much. I’ve wrestled with how to instill an unselfish spirit in my kids, and I have no answers. Since Seth is only a little older than Chase, this is truly his first year of being really aware, too. He has already talked mostly about gifts and Santa. Last year, we bought the Elf on the Shelf book and Elf, and I was planning to go all out with it this year, but I’ve felt so uneasy about telling him that he needs to “be good” because the elf is watching and if he isn’t he won’t get gifts. I don’t like the bribery, or the focus on Christmas being about getting things. I have a lot of thinking to do, for sure. I love this post, and I love the way you’re thinking these things over. The 12 days of giving is great (and so is your awesome decor by the way!) xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much for your input, Hannah! I totally agree with you. It’s hard because a part of me wants to fun but as soon as I hear myself saying things, like what you’ve had to do with Elf on the Shelf… I feel SO ODD saying it. Because it really doesn’t resonate with who we are. It might with some and that’s totally okay. But within us, it just doesn’t. Love you and thank you so much for writing. And for your sweet encouragement! Thanks!

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