Jim Mondry found himself talking with another father about how were going to tell their kids about Santa Claus and realized they had very different takes on the subject.
Another dad and I were talking about Santa and our kids. He explained to me that he wasn’t “telling” his daughter about Santa. He had clearly thought this through. He wasn’t denying the story—when she asked about Santa, he happily explained the St. Nicholas story and the origins of the celebration. His siblings all happily tell their children about Santa, making him uncomfortable taking a different path.
He was most concerned about being honest and truthful with his daughter. He wasn’t trying to prevent the magic of Christmas. If anything, for him, the magic of Christmas has always been in spending time with family over great food, being generous in giving gifts, and being thankful for receiving gifts. He found a way to be honest with himself and his daughter, and do the best job he could parenting his daughter in a way that honored his vision of Christmas.
I shared with him how my wife and I told our daughter about Santa. For us, it’s about the metaphor where someone loves you so much that they will give you a gift for no “reason.” Our idea of Santa is not about earning gifts by being good, and not about appealing to an elf who is watching over your shoulder trying to catch you doing something wrong. We want our daughter to feel special receiving gifts, because the myth is beautiful to us.
This is not about the presents in a materialistic way—in our house Santa only brings one gift. We see the presents as a symbol of an unearned gift that you cannot repay, and have no need to repay, with the sole goal to teach our child about receiving gifts graciously, thankfully.
What I enjoyed from the conversation was that I believe both of us have the same intention—we want to share the magic of Christmas, while honoring our own values, and working with our children’s personalities. We want our children to learn to be generous, and gracious, to feel loved and respected. We want our children to have great memories of the Christmas season knowing that its greatest value is in sharing special moments with those that we love and who are closest to us. We just have two unique interpretations of that, both of which are correct.
Credit: Image—US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District/Flickr
Enjoy what you see on Dads and Families? Go “Like” the Good Men Project Dads and Families Facebook Page here.
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up? Get the best stories from The Good Men Project delivered straight to your inbox, here.