Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Santa traditions

I was thinking about the whole Santa tradition today. My youngest daughter, who is 9, was discussing her list with a friend while I was driving them to gymnastics yesterday. She was explaining how Santa stopped bringing presents when you were 16, and her friend was saying it was not so - her parents still get presents in their stockings from Santa.
(For the records, my kids are more than 9 years apart and we provide gifts from Santa and from us. When our oldest hit 16, the 2 groups of gifts were getting so "small" - due to the cost of items that teenagers want - that we decided to clear the Santa slate. Most people who have a 16 year old may not be dealing with a 6-7 year old who still believes)
Anyway, I just got to thinking about how many times this type of thing has happened since I have had kids. Discussions about Santa result in comparisons of traditions. "Santa gifts aren't wrapped!" - "Yes, they are!"; "Mommy, why don't kids who have less than us get presents from Santa?"; "My parents gave it to me" - "Parents don't give Christmas gifts. Only Santa does!"; "Mom, what's the real deal with Santa?" - "Do you really want to know?" - "NO! Never mind" I have heard all these things, and many more. So, I ask myself - how are we able to keep this wonderful magic alive? It amazes me when kids believe past about 4 years old - with all the mixed messages from others and the inconsistancies. I guess there is something to be said for WANTING to believe!
Generation after generation - we choose to start new traditions and honor old ones. Our kids continue to enjoy the wonder and excitement of the season and many of us do everything possible to keep the 'secret'.
Now, I don't want to get too caught up in the gifts area - I try to focus on the spirit of giving and the joy of family. Like it or not, the gifts from Santa and all the details around them will end up as a vivid (and hopefully wonderful) memory for our children.
So, on we go - deciding what Santa will bring this year and what we will give. I always struggle with who should bring the most desired toy - Santa or me??!!


beenzzz said...

Kids believe past the age of four because they want to hang on to that magic. We told our daughter that 10 was the cut off age for santa, the easter bunny, and the tooth fairy. So, last year we did the half santa and half parent presents, and this year it's all from us. It seems to have worked. When she's gets mixed messages about santa, I just tell her that Santa treats every child differently. So, not all of it is set in stone. After all, he is magical............sometimes I feel like the world's biggest LIAR! :)

beenzzz said...

by differently, I mean their familial tradition, not that Santa is a huge biggot or something.