Why Parents Need Santa Claus
A few years ago, my great-aunt mailed me a Christmas card with an extra special letter. She wrote memories about my mother as a child, especially her first Christmas spent in a hospital room. My great-aunt spent many hours tending to my mother, still a baby, during that Christmas season, and her wisdom about Santa Claus touched my heart. In her letter, she wrote about the importance of Santa Claus – for the parents. Why do parents also need Santa Claus? Keep reading!
Santa Claus Teaches Parents About Humility
In my great-aunt’s letter, she wrote about a hospital janitor, whom she often talked to about Christmastime and gifts. The janitor was a single mother, and she reported that she did not teach her children about Santa Claus. She wanted them to know that everything they had came from her hard work. At first this message seems to make sense. A single mother? Obviously finances would be tight, especially back in the 1960s. But my aunt cautioned me to remember that Santa Claus teaches humility. It is a sacrifice for parents to give gifts that they don’t receive credit for. Seeing a child’s eyes light up and hearing cheers of excitement that you can’t claim credit for requires humility from parents. When I was growing up, the super-duper awesome gifts came from Santa, not Mom and Dad. Even as a teenager, my amazing presents were surprises from Santa! That’s a tradition I still follow with my own kids. My husband and I give the small, practical gifts to our kids, and Santa brings the fun toys.
Santa Claus Teaches Parents About Magic
Yes, magic. Something exciting and mind-defying. Something unexplainable, yet exciting and rewarding. Why do we love the Christmas movies that talk about Santa Claus, even though as rational adults we know the secret? My husband loves the Elf movie with Will Farrell. I love Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause. Both show doubt and belief in a magical Santa at Christmastime.
The belief of something larger than ourselves is exciting. Believing that some magical and powerful force for goodness abounds on Christmas Eve is good for our souls. The legend connects us with millions of other parents around the globe, in countless languages, who believe that good people can do great things. Whether you are inspired by the goodness of St. Nicholas, a Turkish man who secretly took care of the poor in his city, or St. Basil, who also gave away all his possession to the poor, our modern day Santa Claus is a symbol of goodness. Ancient legends and Saints may have inspired the red-suited, chubby, gift-bringer we sing about today, but the idea of goodness prevails. The magic of the Christmas season is what encourages us to be kinder, more generous, and more service minded this time of year.
Santa Claus Teaches Symbolism
Sometimes parents worry about the dishonesty of Santa, and I’ve pondered on that topic as well. But I’ve concluded that letting my children believe in the magic of someone who does good is not a destructive belief. As they get older and realize the truth, we will remind them that Santa is the symbol of goodness and love. Santa is a symbol of gift-giving, just like the wise men that visited baby Jesus. Santa is a symbol of love who shares his bounty with us, just like God loves us. Santa encourages us to be aware of our choices, so that we choose to act kindly. Choosing love and service are in accord with Jesus’ commandment to love one another. After all, the many Saints I described above, whose images have collaborated into our modern day Santa Claus, served the poor and gave all their possessions away because they loved God. Their saintly acts were inspired by their love for God. So, doesn’t that make Santa Claus is another symbol of Christ? Someone who gives their all for the good of others? I think so.
As church leader has Thomas S. Monson said, “To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the Spirit of Christ.”
As my great-aunt said in her letter, “There will always be a Santa as long as people are willing to give and let someone else receive all the praise and thanks for it. I hope I am the kind of person who doesn’t’ care who gets the credit.” I hope I can also be that kind of person throughout my life. Merry Christmas everyone, and may your days be merry, bright, and full of love towards your friends and family.