Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Christmas

  1. #1

    Default Christmas

    So we celebrate Christmas in a secular way, and plan on teaching our daughter Santa is pretend. We plan on emphasizing the view that his story is about giving, which is what we celebrate this time of year, and that's why it is so important. I guess people view Santa as a "secular" part of the holiday but I'm not sure I agree. People believe in him and he is imaginary, so I see him as similar to the religious aspect of the holiday.

    My question is this: what are some ways you celebrate Christmas in a secular way while emphasizing the importance of giving and having fun with the legend of Santa without trying to pretend he is real? Also, how do you explain/incorporate the Christian part of the holiday?

    I'm just curious. Our child is very young but our family will be breaking new ground here as everyone else is Christian/believes Santa is real, etc. in our family and teaches their children the same. I guess I'm worried too about being around them as their kids grow and theirs believe and mine does not. How do some of you handle those situations?

    Thanks!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    14,661

    Default

    I don't think that Santa and religious aspects are the same really. Kids believe in Santa, not adults. But adults believe in god.

    I'm no help because I do plan on doing Santa, it's fun. And I don't really like the major gift giving aspect of the holidays...some gifts but I think mostly it's insane how that has gotten.

    I also do put up a nativity. I do believe that there was a historical Jesus and he was an important part of history.

    I am absolutely not christian. But I do think that you can enjoy and have fun with the holidays.....I actually really love my nativity set....it's a collectors set and the little baby and animals are so cute. And pretty much all my favorite xmas songs are the religious ones. I don't believe but I enjoy the traditions.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  3. #3

    Default

    I am atheist and we celebrate Christmas. We are really into history right now in our homeschooling so I've been reading to them about the history of mankind and how Christmas really started and it's pagan roots that have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus at all. I am in the process of making a sort of advent calender which is colorful envelopes strung on a rope with clothespins. Each envelope has a daily activity or act of kindness. We are going to make cards for children in the hospital and soldiers. 3andMe posted a link on here for ideas on giving during the holidays and how you can do it. Also we will collect toys that we don't use (that are in new condition) to donate, as well as bringing canned goods to food pantries. Some days we just watch a xmas movie, or make cookies, or listen to xmas songs. We will celebrate winter soltice as well as it's my (deceased) grandma's bday, whom I adored and miss very much, so we always make a cake and the children get a small gift and we read stories about the first soltice celebrations.
    Oh, and we also do not believe in Santa. I never planned it that way but it's just become our family culture to be totally honest about things so when my daughter point blank asked me if he was real or not, I told her the truth. We still pretend he's real and leave cookies but we know it's pretend. We have also read Bible stories so my kids know about the Jesus being considered the son of God and that is what Christmas means to most people (everyone we know irl) but to us it is a story just like mythology from other ancient civilizations.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks, ladies. Those responses help. I like the historical approach. I, too, have a nativity set up. We also have a menorah as my husband is Jewish by heritage, secular also. I love the pagan aspects of Christmas and Easter, and we celebrate the solstices too.

    Can I ask Bridget if you run into any "problems" with your kids and school? My family is so shocked that I would be truthful about Santa and feel bad for the kids at school my kid will be telling Santa isn't real. I'm not sure how to approach that. It feel weird to tell my kid "not to ruin it for everyone else." Kind of like asking her to lie, in a way. Again, we have a while before these types of issues surface but I like to think them through and get input if I can.

    Thanks!



  5. #5

    Default

    I have asked me my kids not to tell other kids that Santa isn't real. I explain that they belive he's real and their parents want them to believe that. They don't have to lie but can just say nothing. Savana gets it but Kai has busted out with the truth during daycare days and I've just quickly said that some people believe he's real and some people don't. My sil was pissed and asked me to make sure my kids didn't tell her kids that easter bunny isn't real so I told her that I hoped that wouldn't but really I onlyl have so much control. I mean, I don't get upset when her kids tell mine that they have to pray to god every night. Such is life if you are going to be around other people, it will be discoverd that everyone is different. I'm fine with that and I think people try to have an "open mind" about differeing religions but, in my experience, the non-believers are met with a different reaction.
    I will say that the most awkward moments for me have been when Kai says God isn't real or that we don't believe in God. The other kids are plum horrified and will tell him he is wrong. I've always been really nervous and waiting for a phone call from other parents but so far nothing has happened outside of heated discussions between my kids and their friends. I think those discussions are ok, personally, but I also don't want any other families to think that I am trying to push my beliefs. I'm shocked how often it comes up in our lives. I guess we are in a pretty Christian area because there was only one family in my daycare in all the years I did it that wasn't openly christian.
    Last edited by Bridget; 11-29-2012 at 01:49 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    14,661

    Default

    Don't most kids stop believing around school age? I was four, or maybe it was five when I told my parents I didn't think he was real but I didn't tell anyone else. They agreed with me that he wasn't real and it was fine. But we kept it up because my sister was a baby.

    And my mom said if we wanted Santa presents we have to "believe".

    Might also be fun to look into various world santas. My boss was just telling us yesterday about the German santa having a counterpart named Krampus (or something that sounds like that). Talk about a creepy creature!

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  7. #7

    Default

    The school aged kids I know still believe. Or at least pretend to so they can still get gifts! I did that for awhile. lol

  8. #8

    Default

    We don't really emphasize Santa. Both my kids just heard about him from others. DH told Ky point blank that there was no Santa, but Ky believed in him anyway, probably until he was 8 years old. I thought it was cute. Ky has a very magical, imaginative, positive view of most things (until recently, he is becoming more "teenagery" IMO now) so I let him believe in Santa all he wanted. We still set out cookies for Santa and I even make footprints with baking soda on the floor and stencils for Elle because she gets excited about it. I think she knows Santa isn't real either, but she pretends anyway. Kids like pretend and being imaginative and I see Santa as a fun, magical, imaginative part of Christmas.

    I am an atheist. My DH is Christian but he really is not involved in a church on a normal basis. Both of my kids know the stor of Jesus' birth. I empahisize family around this time, being loving, giving, and kind to others is something I emphasize on a daily basis (I try to anyway) and so I don't see this as being a special time of year only for that, mostly just as a time to spend with loved ones - friends and family. We don't get to see our extended family often but during Christmas we usually get to see somoene from out of town and we make sure to appreciate that moreso than other things.

    Erin

  9. #9

    Default

    I love all this perspective, thank you ladies. It helps me so much. Especially with lots of family time coming up. Can I also ask how do you deal with other relatives telling your kid the gift is "from Santa." I think we will be running into that as well.

    Thanks for letting me pick your brains everyone.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,870

    Default

    The proper to response to a gift, regardless of who it is from, is a "Thank You". So, I don't think there is any need to bring up belief in Santa at that point. It's kind of like responding when someone says they'll pray for you, or says 'Bless you' when you sneeze. You accept their good intentions with grace.

  11. #11

    Default

    My kids always just say thank you when a gift is pegged from "santa". It's like our special little secret. Last year a woman was cutting Savana's hair kept going on and on about Santa and Savana just played along. On the way home I asked her how she felt about that conversation and she said she didn't want to hurt the woman's feelings by telling her Santa wasn't real.

  12. #12
    3andMe's Avatar
    3andMe is offline Every day is a gift. It's just... does it have to be a pair of socks? Hopelessly Devoted
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    21,486

    Default

    Growing up with non-religious parents, we always had presents from various animals ("from the gerbils" and "from the birds") as well as from Santa and Christmas was a very flexible holiday. It was not always celebrated on December 25th if we had other things to do, and sometimes we had a juniper tree or used a saguaro cactus if we were camping out in the desert. We often used the winter break to do a long road trip.

    I always just assumed that having presents from Santa was about as likely as having a gerbil buy a present and wrap it for me, so I think I grew up knowing that Santa wasn't real. It wasn't a big discussion. Likewise, I haven't made a big point of telling my children what the holiday is all about. There are so many other things I would rather have them learn first, and they have the attention span of gnats when I'm trying to talk to them sometimes. They know what Christmas is, they know it's a holiday in the winter where people celebrate with giving and family get-togethers and food and there are several religious holidays and many songs associated with that times of year. A few years ago they would have told you that Santa wasn't real. They realized that when Santa visited their preschool to bring presents and cheer, it was actually the director wearing a costume. They nudged me and whispered that.

    I don't tell them that Santa isn't real. I ask them what they think. I might ask them if they think it's possible for a man to travel around with a sled and reindeer and give presents to everyone in one night. They used to say no. They have actually been indoctrinated by their friends to believe in Santa Claus, and they believe for now. I'm not interfering with it. I'd rather let them make their own decisions, and they really are excited about it.

    I can't think of any presents they have ever gotten at Christmas "From Santa" so I think they are going to have a hard time maintaining that belief. And our fire place is baby-proofed.


  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Suja View Post
    The proper to response to a gift, regardless of who it is from, is a "Thank You". So, I don't think there is any need to bring up belief in Santa at that point. It's kind of like responding when someone says they'll pray for you, or says 'Bless you' when you sneeze. You accept their good intentions with grace.
    Indeed.

  14. #14

    Default

    Thanks for the perspectives from the kids point of view, Bridget and 3andme. That's kind of what I was asking about. I love the idea of vacationing over the week of Christmas rather than carting ourselves all over for numerous family gatherings, but that's another issue altogether. Lol. Thanks again everyone for the peek into your holiday traditions. If anyone else has more to add I'd be delighted to hear more.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    In a van, DOWN BY THE RIVER!
    Posts
    8,430

    Default

    My 4 year old believes in Santa. I never did as a child and dh did. I'm glad that ds does believe.because it makes Christmas seem more magical to me. He is learning about. Jesus now that he's at school (we live in England so no separation of church and state) and they teach it very much like history. When my boys get a bit older, we'll discuss more in depth about the history of Xmas but for now, it's all about.presents and Santa. When I was growing up, my high school band used to play Christmas carols at nursing homes and I'd like the boys to get involved with something.like that. I really want them to have a sense of community and to be thankful to have the life they have.

  16. #16

    Default

    As of now I am so torn and confused about religion but, it will not be something I put on the kids' shoulders ( I want them to decide for themselves). James is moderately religious and I am okay with it. I am still okay with going to Church though we haven't gone in a long time. As far as Christmas goes regardless of where I sit religiously we will always celebrate Christmas. Christmas in general (as an opinion) seems to get more and more secular. Right now Cody believes in Santa and God which is fine. Sophia doesn't really understand because she is only going to be two in three weeks. Christmas is still really important to James and I don't want to damper it for him at all. Its a hard Holiday because I've had family issues (outside us four) particularly with my biological mom that's now out of the picture. She added drama to everything when it should be a peaceful holiday no matter what. Anyways the kids are going to have an amazing Christmas and I think I might have a better Christmas because of our new home, fresh start, the construction crew said there is no reason at all for us not to be in before Christmas. I hope its closer to Thanksgiving but, its behind so it might not happen. I just really hope we don't have to be here into December. Regardless the new house is really going to keep my mind busy and it will be easier this year.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •