Wednesday, December 9, 2015

There ain't no elf on my shelf!

No, we don't celebrate santa.
Yes, we do celebrate Christmas.
Do we care if you celebrate Santa? Nope.
Do you care if we choose not to? Yes.
- Anonymous


Before you gracefully ::eye roll::, allow me to explain. 

I grew up in a Santa believing home. I was around 7 years old when our parents confirmed his fictitious status. I was extremely devastated and dissapointed. So much so, that I ruined it several years later for my little sister. Something she has never let me forget to this day.  My husband grew up in a home that was Santa-less and he doesn't have any regrets. We decided that when we had children, we would forgo Santa. It wasn't until a year ago, that I now see why that decision was the best one for our family. 

Why are we lying to our children? 
A little over a year ago a new foster child joined our home. Prior to us, his most pivotal years were spent in complete uncertainty. He blocked out his past so much that he truly believed he was living in a fantasy world. He lived each day in total confusion and needed reassurance over what we know to be the simplest things. We have spent the last year on alert to what he watches, hears and is influenced by; it is physically and emotionally exhausting. Helping him relearn these things was a process that was not fixed overnight and is still a battle. This is a child who can't afford to believe in something that doesn't exist. His overstimulated imagination has caused him more harm than good. Before you get all Judge(y), we absolutely encourage using your imagination in our home. We just make sure there is a healthy balance between reality and fiction. 

We spend the better part of a childs adolescence instilling values of trust in our children, but why is Santa the exception to the rule? In our home, we treat Santa Claus like we do Spider-Man, Buzz Lightyear or Cinderella. They are all fictional characters in movies and stories. I mean, no one goes out of their way to lie to their children and tell them Mickey Mouse and Simba are real. Believe me, Christmas spirit is not lost at our house. We still watch Christmas movies and read stories that have Santa in them. In fact.m, Elf and Polar Express are very popular in our home...gasp! 

Don't worry, my kids won't tell your kids. 
We may not believe in Santa, but we certainly aren't bitter. So we can still hang out. 

Shouldn't we expect good behavior all year long?
We have three rules in our home:
1. Listen the first time. 
2. Everyone gets to be safe. 
3. You can say anything, with respect. 
These rules are posted, can be recited upon request and apply 365 days a year. Christmas presents in our home are not based on behavior. Truth is, behaviorally, December is probably the toughest month in our house. Transition is a daily struggle for our foster and adopted kids. Holidays and special events tend to bring up both good and bad memories from their past. The trauma they've experienced has affected the way they deal with their emotions and acting out is their coping method. 

I'm selfish. There, I said it.
We work incredibly hard to give our boys a great life. So if its ok with you, we would prefer the credit for their priceless smiles on Christmas morning. 

The Nativity
If Family Feud surveyed 100 people for the top 5 answers related to Christmas, I predict this is what the board would look like:
1. Santa 
2. Presents
3. Lights 
4. Stockings 
5. Jesus
Our culture has completely shifted from the values that America was founded on. I want my children to grow up knowing that Christmas isn't just what society has commercialized it to be. Its about our Savior. I want my kids to remember Christmas as a time that we focused on the birth of Christ more than just gifts. 

It's not popular but it works for us. 

Do you do Santa...why or why not?