The holiday season is here. Much like everything else in 2019, it is filled with controversy whether it is using the term “Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” being commercialized, being recognized nationally, Black Santa and much more.
I love Christmas and I love the holiday season. Christmas music has been playing my house for months now. I love exchanging gifts Christmas morning with my wife. I love watching my son open his. I love having a Christmas tree in my house.
I am the epitome of commercialized Christmas. Quite frankly, I don’t care what someone may say about that. If you’re mad because I put presents, music and time with my family over Jesus during the holiday season, I am sorry. That is a you problem.
I am sure many of the people who may wag their finger at me for saying it probably have done the same.
One of my favorite commercialized traditions is the idea of Santa Claus. I wrote this column regarding the big guy a few years back about being an adult and believing in Santa. (Read by clicking here: Santa Claus.)
To summarize that column, I love the idea of Santa because it is one of the most selfless acts of the year. We, as humans, always seek praise for the rights of our lives. I posted a debate earlier this year about whether or not it is selfless to post acts of kindness on social media. We are attention seekers.
Santa or the idea of Santa is to do something for someone you love with no thanks or gratitude necessary. For the younger years of our children or other children we may love, we give them gifts from “Santa” because they don’t need to know we paid for it.
The idea of Santa is as pure as it gets in terms of unconditional love. Although we know the truth, my wife and I still receive gifts from “Santa.”
Before I dive heavily into what I want to discuss, let’s clarify a couple of things. I am by no means rich. I can assure you that my household doesn’t bring in more money than some of my friends. I can also assure you that I have had some favorable bounces in my life. I can also assure you that my household brings in less than some of my friends.
Like most people my age, I am doing my part to get by and live the best life I can.
My problems don’t hold the same weight as others. I wake up every morning to a child I love. I wake up to a wife I love. I wake up with a roof over my head. I wake up knowing when and where my next meal is. There are plenty of things I have others don’t. I try my best not to lose sight of that. I shouldn’t be punished because of the life I do have.
That being said, I want to talk about a controversial topic regarding Santa…buying expensive gifts for your children from Santa because of how other children may feel. Every year around Christmas, I have seen the posts of why it is wrong to tell your children that Santa brought these expensive gifts for them.
The root of the problem boils down to how other children feel from your child’s classmates to friends to your mutual friend’s children. They see that your child got something that they didn’t. Maybe they were better behaved or got better grades or did well in sports. So why didn’t they get that cool new gift?
On one hand, yeah I don’t want children feeling bad over gifts they didn’t receive. On the other hand, it is not really my problem nor should it be.
You’re also flirting with a fine line of what is appropriate and what isn’t. There are families who only have a $20 budget for their children. Where do you draw the bottom line? What about people who financially can’t celebrate with gifts? Santa just leaves them hanging?
As part of a previous job, we would raise money for a family or two every holiday season and buy Christmas gifts for their children. I am not diving into the personal story of them, but those children were not getting a whole lot for Christmas if anything. What about those children?
This is all part of the WOKE culture of not offending anybody.
I don’t want to stomp on a child’s feelings. I am not a grinch. I also don’t want to suppress my child’s happiness because of it. Whether the gift is from me or Santa is irrelevant. At the end of the day, one child may get that hot commodity item while the other doesn’t. One child may feel left out regardless of who’s name was on the gift (parent or Santa).
The solution to all of it is simple.
When I was 4 or 5 years old and I was told to go to sleep so Santa would come, I asked my parents why they didn’t go to bed too. Their response was that they had to pay Santa for the gifts he was bringing. That made sense to me. They bought all my other toys from stores. Why would Santa be different?
For the next 4-5 years believing in Santa, I never questioned it. That also solves the discrepancy of children wondering why they didn’t get more.
The reality is there will always be people more fortunate than you or less fortunate than you. Paying Santa is the easy way to resolve that disparity.
Now that I have said that, you may be questioning my stance earlier regarding Santa as a selfless act because now parents are footing the bill. Even though in the back of mind I thought my parents paid Santa, Santa was the one who still got the praise when I would open my gifts from him. The story is he had those presents made in his workshop just for little old me. My parents probably sat back and smiled when my face lit up seeing my gifts.
Did they get a thank you for Santa’s gifts? No nor did they expect one. So it is still a selfless act.
If and when your child does get upset, it could be a great teaching moment for them to understand to be grateful for what they have. I am sure there will be a time in my child or children’s lives where I have to have that conversation.
I still remember when my family faced financial hardship (after I knew Santa Claus, the man, didn’t exist), I told my parents I didn’t want anything for Christmas. I was around 11 or 12 I believe. It wasn’t important for me to get gifts when I knew money would probably be tighter. Of course, I received gifts that Christmas anyway.
That is not to say I haven’t had moments where I acted like an asshole about my gifts. I stated those times in the column above. When Dale gets hulk hands and I get a fucking rawhide wallet, how the hell am I supposed to feel? (Step Brothers reference)
At the end of the day, I am responsible for raising my children. Not others. If I want gifts for my child to be from Santa, they will be and they will be “paid for” by me or my wife. While kids will be kids and get excited to talk about what they received for Christmas, I hope they won’t do so in a way that makes them seem like a spoiled brat. I knew those kids growing up too. I probably at one time or another had a moment where I have done that myself. It happens. It is part of being a child.
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