I’ve had quite a headache trying to explain this whole “Christmas” thing to my son.
You see, I’ve never believed in Santa Claus. And honestly, I don’t particularly want my kids to believe in the commercialised concept of Santa and all that “be good, or you won’t get any presents” stuff.
However, I’m fully aware that it is particularly unfortunate to be THE parent of THE child who screams “MY MOTHER SAID SANTA’S NOT REEEEAL!!!” in the school playground these days.
So one afternoon, I sat him down and (re)told him the real story of Christmas – the birth of Jesus. He said, that’s nice. But what happened to the reindeers and elves? And do I still get presents? And why doesn’t it snow in Perth, because I want to make a snowman.
So I told him about Saint Nicholas. And how he gave presents to poor kids who had no presents.
Then he wanted to know why the kid’s parents didn’t sell their house, get the money, and buy their poor kid a present.
This went on and on for quite a while. I had to explain concepts like, being poor; some kids don’t get any presents for Christmas; that giving presents is just as wonderful as getting them; that when people get gifts it makes them happy; making people happy is a good thing to do; and every time we see a picture of Santa, it’s reminding us of Saint Nicholas and how we should give a gift to someone to make them happy. Blah blah blah.
Sigh. I ALSO had to explain the different weather conditions in the north and south hemispheres, and why there was no snow in Western Australia.
Anyway, he finally got it. He was satisfied, and there were no more question.
But I wasn’t convinced he fully understood. So to drive the point home, I decided to take him to the local shops. We found a Christmas tree with a Christmas donation appeal. I explained how it worked. I got him to imagine a family just like our family, and asked him to choose a little gift for each person in the family. We walked through the shops and he chose four items. One for a daddy, a mummy, a big brother and a little brother. We wrapped them up and we placed them under the tree.
He was so excited. He really enjoyed the whole process of selecting an appropriate present in hope of invoking happiness. He was also very cool with the whole “unconditional giving” part too. It was such an excellent activity. I fully recommend getting kids involved with Christmas-giving.
Truth is. I STILL have no idea if he actually understands everything I’ve been rattling on about, or if these “lessons” will stick and follow him into the future. I guess the more I keep at it, something’s got to sink in yeah?