A Christmas Quandary

The holiday season has arrived with it’s insane holiday shoppers and annoyingly catchy music.  Even so, I love it.

My grandmother LOVED Christmas.  She went all out – and now I do too.  Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, I put up my tree and start playing the Christmas music.  (I’m a stickler for traditions)

Growing up my parents gave me the best Christmases.  I never went without and I always felt loved and happy.  And trust me, the blessings therein are not lost on me.

Also growing up, I believed in Santa Claus.  I watched all the movies and was convinced especially watching Polar Express.  My parents never told me that Santa didn’t exist – they never thought I was “too old” to believe anymore.  And as an older sister, I did the same with my little brothers.  I wanted them to experience the magic of my childhood too.

Recently I was talking with some friends who suggested that the notion of Santa Claus was a silly and potentially damaging one.  Their reasoning?  That the belief would make their children behave due to blackmail and that it is teaching them to believe in something other than the reason for Christmas or Hanukkah, or whichever holiday is celebrated.

I can’t help but disagree.

Besides the fact that I had some sort of tangible magic in my life (my parents were amazing at it) believing in Santa Claus taught me a lot about faith.  I believed that if I did well and was kind that I would be rewarded (which is a psychological technique good parents use called “positive reinforcement”).  It brought me closer to my family and was an exciting part of the Holiday season before I really understood the true meaning of Christmas.

The other day I was walking in the mall and I made eye contact with the man dressed as Santa Claus.  He gave me a wink and a wave, and despite the cognitive knowledge that that figure was just an imaginary part of my childhood, I couldn’t help but smile as my heart filled with excitement… Even after all these years.

chriskringle

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