In some ways I consider myself lucky that at 8 years old, LatteGirl still believes in Santa Claus. Â At least for one more year we can keep this charade alive. Â Reality and real life will seep in soon enough and take away some of her childhood innocense, and anything that can beat that back for just a little bit longer is fine with me. Â
She is already feeling a bit conflicted with messages from both school and Sunday school, being told the Christian mythology that Jesus is the “reason for the season.” (Please, stop the e-mails, I am not condemning any religion, but the fact is that the celebration of Jesus’ birth celebration was assigned to conincide with the Yule season. Â And besides, it isn’ t the point). Â Like many people, the holiday season this year will be cut back a bit as we tighten our belts and deal with economic uncertainty. Â But how do you explain and rationalize that with a child that believes in Santa Claus?
We have told her (as we have over the past couple of years) that the more expensive the gifts she asks for, the fewer in number she will actually receive. Â However, in the past, she just accepted this at face value. Â Now however, we have to balance reasoning and questioning. Â Why? Â Santa doesn’t “buy” gifts, he “makes” them, so why does cost matter? Â
The expense has also put a crimp in one other tradition I had started with her a few years back, where I get her to pick out at the store, one gift that she would “really, really, really” like to have, purchase that gift, and then she puts it into the Toys for Tots collection bin. Â It serves at a reminder to be kind to those that are less fortunate, and also (I hope) reminds that giving isn’t just about giving up what you don’t want anymore. Â (After all it is much easier to give a toy that she doesn’t actually want or like, but I try to stress to her if she would like it, so would some other child that perhaps wouldn’t get such a nice gift). Â This of course is not as easy since her taste has gotten a bit more expensive. Â Sure, I would love to buy a Wii a donate it, but I just don’t have that kind of money to throw around. Â Also, now she queries why Santa give less to poor children.
How do you do it? Â How do you instill good values, teach about being good to others, teach understanding of economic issues, stay on budget, and still keep it so that it doesn’t completely destroy the magic? Â I am open to suggestions.