Saturday, December 08, 2012

Our Very Controversial View of Christmas



I've been waiting a LONG time to write this post.

Mostly because I am seriously scared of the backlash. This is not gonna win me friends-trust me. I know maybe a handful of people who think like this, but I felt it was necessary for me to share with you guys.

So here is goes...

We don't do Santa.

GASP!

We also don't do Elf on the Shelf.

Double Gasp!

Yeah, I know. We sound like the most uncool parents on the planet. I've even been told we "take the fun out of Christmas".

Let me start off by saying that my kids enjoy Christmas just as much as the next one, but my kids have no idea what the hullabaloo is about Santa. They just know that Christmas is a big ol' birthday party for Jesus. If anyone knows my kids, they LOVE a good birthday party-even when its not theirs ;)

Well moving on, here is WHY we don't participate with those things.

We choose not to lie to our babies.

Now I know this seems drastic, but I can't get myself to tell my children this story and try to make them believe it. I catch myself falling into that trap of telling my kids a "little white lie" to get them to do something (if you don't take a bath, you're gonna get sick and have to go get a shot...) and I feel completely guilty afterwards. I just can't do it. No matter how innocent it is-it's just not the truth. This is a hard one, because it can be so easy-but we are trying as hard as we can to raise them up as the Bible tells us to. God has entrusted them to us, and we must do the best that we can.  

Melissa Deming of Hive Resources said it best, 

 "If you’re weaving fantastic tales to your children about how all those presents get under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, you might have crossed the line of moderation. Every parent should ask themselves how their Christmas traditions can and should highlight the story of the gospel rather than legends or untruths."

Check out her article about Santa vs. Jesus HERE.

We don't agree with giving Santa or Mr. Elf the power to be omnipresent or omniscient.

God is the only one who can "see you when you're sleeping, and knows when you're awake". I feel that instilling this belief in my babies, may cause confusion on who is the All Powerful one in their eyes. I won't risk that.

We don't agree with using Santa or the Elf as a disciplinary measure.

We want to teach our littles to be good because that's what Jesus has called us to do. NOT because they may get on the naughty list which means they won't get any presents.

We DO want our little people to know the true story of St. Nicholas. 

It's a beautiful story with a wonderful lesson- giving to those in need. That is definitely something to be celebrated! I would really like to know how St. Nicholas would feel if he saw what he had been turned into? Would he be pleased?

Jesus is the reason for the season, and that's what makes Christmas so exciting!

A friend of mine, who also agrees with not doing the whole Santa thing, said, "I have more Christmas spirit than anyone I know, and it's because I know the TRUE reason to celebrate!"

I couldn't have said it better. 

I get excited around this time of year, because it reminds me of what's important. It reminds me that a journey to change the world can start with a small child. 

I'm the one who cries each and every time I hear, "Mary Did You Know", because I can't help my excitement.

The bottom line? 

We choose not to do Santa or Elf on the Shelf as to not confuse or mislead our children. We teach them that Mommy and Daddy buy them gifts just because we love them, and that the ultimate gift is that of the love of Jesus. 

We still watch all of the Christmas classics, but we don't let those become gospel. We go see lights, we listen to Christmas music, and we bake and eat tons of goodies until mommy can no longer fit into her yoga pants.

We have a blast. 

There is no doubt in my mind that my children will not be scarred by this. They will survive, and we won't have to dread that day when they finally realize it was all a story. I just don't think I could handle such disappointment.


Isaiah 9:6-7
(6) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.






30 comments:

  1. I think this is awesome! I'm so glad you posted, I love reading about other viewpoints, and yours is incredibly valid! You have listed all very credible and valid reasons and I can totally agree with your stance on santa! I am sure your kids enjoy Christmas just like the next kid, and honesty probably will grow up with a better sense of God than most who only hear about Christ on Christmas and Easter. :)
    Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours! :)

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    1. Aw man! Thanks Kate! What an awesome and uplifting thing to say! I really appreciate that!

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  2. I find this a little interesting. Christmas actually began as the pagan holiday, Saturnalia, which had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. The bible does not even clearly state when Jesus was born, so why is it that Christians have felt the need to state that "Jesus is the reason for the season"? Saturnalia is a pagan holiday that gives praise to the sun - not the birth of Christ. Early Christians simply took the pagan holiday and labeled it as their own.

    "Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681." (via: "http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm" par. II, F.)


    I understand the whole aspect of not wanting to lie to your children, in fact that is rather admirable, but at the same time there are plenty of historical facts that do not coincide with December 25th as even being the birth of Jesus.

    With all that being said, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I just wanted to share that information. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and hope that is is in no way taken negatively.

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    1. I do know about the genesis of the holiday, and that's totally fine because that is NOT what the holiday is to my family. I also know that there isn't a definitive day that have for when Jesus was born-that's why I am completely okay with marking the 25th as a "day of remembrance". I will explain to my kids, once they can understand a little better, that although we celebrate on that day, we're not sure what day is his exact birthday. The same goes for Easter, our timeline is way off compared to the Jewish calendar, but I still choose to celebrate on that given day. I kinda look at it like my own birthday. Rarely, if ever, do I celebrate on my actual birth date, and that's okay.

      Regardless on what day people would have claimed that Jesus was born on, I would respect it just the same. The historical inaccuracies may abound, but it is still a reason for me to celebrate.

      And let me be clear with this, I do not condemn anyone for how they choose to celebrate the holiday, I was just sharing why my husband and I choose this way. Many do not understand why we don't do Santa, and I thought this would be a great way to explain.

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    2. I never assumed for a second that you were condemning anyone based on their choice to celebrate the holiday, nor am I condemning yours. I view this as a learning experience as to why others do what they do.

      I understand that you choose to celebrate his birthday on the 25th, but in what way does it make it correct to state that "Jesus is the reason for the season" when his real date of birth is unknown - which we appear to both agree on. It is just a (possibly mildly condemning) statement that has always rubbed me the wrong way, especially when the original holiday had nothing to do with him.

      I am just trying to understand where you are coming from.
      Is it your particular religion that dictates that you are to make the statement that "Jesus is the reason for the (Christmas) season"? Or is this a personal choice based outside of your particular religious doctrine?

      Again, I hope none of this is taken in a rude way. I am just interested.

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    3. I don't see how "Jesus is the reason for the season," could be offensive or condemning, since most people around the world recognize CHRISTmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ. That's why plenty of other religions do not participate in it. And although it may not be His TRUE birth date, it's kind of like science. Once a majority deems something as a fact-it is. Most look upon this holiday as a Christian holiday, so if you're a Christian celebrating as such, then the statement of,"Jesus is the reason..." would be correct.

      Now to address why I myself use the phrase, is as a proclaimed Christian- He is! I can't go around calling myself a follower of Christ and not look at this time of year as a time to celebrate one of God's greatest miracles. And no, I don't say this because of "religious doctrine" because I don't do anything based on "religious" purposes. My relationship with Christ goes beyond "religion". Anyone who has read my blog for awhile could tell you that we don't even attend church at the moment, because the ones in my area are becoming too saturated with man's doctrine.

      Like I've stated before, I celebrate this season because it has heartfelt meaning to me. It's an emotional time of reflection, but also a time to reevaluate what matters to me the most. It is as simple as that.

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    4. Thank you for explaining your point of view to me. There is a part of me that feels as though conforming to what everyone seems to be doing does not always mean that it is the right thing to do, and from what I have read in your comment you feel the same way. Again, I did not mean this in a negative way, just as a way to learn. I do find it inspiring that you do what you do in aspect of your beliefs and they are based on your own terms. You follow your heart and do not base your actions on religious purposes. My respect for you has grown immensely after reading this. People need to think for themselves and you are obviously one of those people.

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  3. To me, it doesn't seem controversial, but only because I was raised in the same way as you are raising your kids. I always got gifts from mom and dad, we knew the real story of st nick, but pictures with him or anything like that wasn't a big deal for us. We focused a lot more on the birth of Jesus than on presents or Santa.

    People who get offended when someone says Jesus is the Reason for the season really don't understand that this is why the holiday started, the tradition was started to celebrate his birth, even if its not his actual birthday.

    The people who get offended when we say things like Merry Christmas or whatnot need to give it a break, they obviously don't understand that people aren't trying to offend you, but rather wish you a happy Christmas holiday. They are trying to spread joy, and if you get offended by that, you really need to take another look at why someone spreading joy would offend you. I'm not going to get offended if someone wishes me a happy Hanukkah or Kwanza.

    I live in a town where a large portion of the population is of indian descent. One of the bigger holidays is vaisakhi. Don't care if they wish me a happy vaisakhi, and I'll gladly say it back to them. They are trying to be joyful, and I get that. I may not share the same religious beliefs, but I'm not going to get my feathers all ruffled over that kind of stuff.

    BTW, never even heard of elf on the shelf until last year, and it creeps me out. As a child, I'd be creeped out if a little guy was moving around my house. I got creeped out thinking about what if Santa actually came when I was little. So weird.

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    1. Miranda,
      I am a Christian and while I agree with you that saying "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season shouldnt be offensive - it just comes off as a blanket statement. With having the knowledge that roman catholics took the original holiday from the pagans makes me never want to say "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season" because in the historical sense he isnt. Its not the act of someone wishing another joy, it is making a blanket statement when all the facts are not known that makes me, as a christian, uncomfortable in saying "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season". Ill say Merry Christmas to everyone until Im blue in the face, but never the latter. I guess it comes down to personal preference. It is just two different things.

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    2. Wow. I had no idea how upset people can get over, "Jesus is the reason for the season." I don't see how it's any different than someone saying, "Happy Hanukkah". For a Christian who uses this time of year as a celebration of Christ's birth, why would you not outwardly recognize that? I don't feel any shame for celebrating the way that I do.

      And in all fairness, I know that the Catholics took away the pagan holiday, but the white man took my land (I'm Native American). Everyone is always taking away something from someone. But it's in the past, and none of us were apart of that. Even if the pagan holiday was still widely celebrated, and Christmas was still put on the same day-I wouldn't change how I celebrated my holiday.

      Like I said, as a Christian celebrating the birth of Christ-He is the MY reason for the season.

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  4. Loved your post. It was so thoughtful that it actually made me take a step back and reevaluate how my family celebrates Christmas. I guess the reason that I still incorporate Santa into my Christmas celebrations has more to do with the fact that it's a fond memory from my childhood and not something that I truly believe in or try to push on others.

    Now that I'm a bit older I have begun to notice how troubling the season is becoming. Instead of developing a closer relationship with the Lord and family, people are camping outside of Best Buy for weeks in advance to purchase a television that $50 cheaper. Not in my house. That is NOT how we celebrate Christmas. Christmas should not be a competition between who can buy the most expensive gifts, it's a day of celebration to honor the birth of Jesus.

    So yes, to me "Jesus is the reason for the season." I don't say this to try to push my beliefs on others, I say this because it's what I believe. If someone walks up to me and says "Happy Holidays" I don't get upset, I just understand that that is how THEY celebrate Christmas. Now as far as Santa, and Elf on a Shelf are concerned, I think they're cute and fun, and yes we'll probably continue to incorporate them into our celebration, but my daughter will also understand why we celebrate Christmas. I do completely respect and applaud your decision though. It's so easy to get caught up in the marketing madness that is quickly taking over Christmas.

    Reese

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    1. I love your thoughts on this, Reese! The whole point of my post was really to explain why WE don't do Santa, never to condemn anyone who does. Like you said, I just want people to look at their focus when this season comes around. Don't get me wrong, I love presents as much as the next person, but once you get caught up in that-you've missed the mark.

      And you're right, I don't get offended either when someone says, "Happy Holidays". I don't know anyone's heart, and I would never judge anyone based on that.

      Long story short, I just wanna celebrate Jesus people!!! :)

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  5. Thanks for posting! Glad you felt the freedom to use your blog to share your thoughts. I applaud your choice in keeping the holiday season about the perfect gift - God's Son!

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    1. Thanks so much! And you are soooo right- the holiday is about the perfect gift!!

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  6. Hi Dominique,
    Our family celebrates the exact same way as you. We used to do the whole Santa and Elf on the Shelf thing until I attended a bible study where we discussed how we teach our children to idolize these made up things they cannot see and lie to them all the while, and then turn around and expect them to believe in God.. also someone they cannot see. So, we sat down with our boys and told them. I have to admit, I was a little sad, only because I had such fond memories as a child of the excitement of Santa or the tooth fairy.
    I found you a few weeks ago via the Facebook hop, but will now be a google follower as well. I admire you for being God's light...no matter what. For loving God enough to step out on faith and share your heart. There will always be controversy over things like this, that's what Satan is all about, right? I have no doubt God is quite proud of his daughter! :)

    Hugs!!
    Claire

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  7. O my goodness... when I read the title of this post, I was bracing myself for some kind of "we hate christmas and refuse to participate" message lol. Then as I read on I realized you seem to have the same views we do! We don't do Santa or elves either... nor will we be doing the tooth fairy or easter bunny :P Great post & very awesome of you to share :)

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  8. No backlash here :) We choose to do the exact same thing. And to take one step further....we don't really think that Jesus' birthday is Christmas (our personal belief is that he likely was born in late spring/early summer). We do use the time to discuss his birth, and most importantly, his death. And that we give to others. We are donating toys to less fortunate the same week that we get new toys :) Thanks for sharing. I shared similar beliefs on my facebook page....and man, did I get some serious backlash! I actually shut down my facebook account...I got some pretty insane private message comments, and even had 2 people who decided they no longer wanted their children to play with my son! Good for you for sticking for what you believe in and not being afraid to be bold in your beliefs!!

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  9. Boy o boy am I glad I found your blog from the gfc collective hop! we have a lot in common sista! I can tell we're gonna get along great and by the way, don't worry about any flack you catch from this post...when you choose to do the right thing, the flack is gonna come - it's just a matter of WHEN and not if. haha. elf on the shelf is the most lame thing to get a child to obey - it's actually very sad - thanks for the post and I'm super excited to be your newest follower. you're going down on my daily reads little lady! haha.

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  10. I love that there is no condemnation in this post! So many post this time of year make you feel absolutely horrible if you should *gasp* celebrate Christmas!

    We don't stress Santa at all. We don't deny him, but we don't go visit him or make any big deal about him. We have nativity sets in our house and books that talk about Jesus' birth and 'candy cane' meanings. We do have stockings, from 'santa' but we've never pushed him. When my kids ask about him, we just say "what do you think" and leave it at that.

    We open our family gifts on Christmas Eve and that is when they get anything of importance....usually books or gifts pointing back to Christ. We are very practical when gift giving (clothes, shoes, etc that may be needed). Our stockings are done on Christmas morning before we go to my mom's house, so they are VERY low key. They get things like shampoo, candy, chapstick, gum, etc. I didn't want a big deal about 'santa' gifts and we don't have much time that morning anyway. They just pilfer through them while we are all getting ready to leave....no big "Santa brough this or that".

    I could totally do away with him all together but don't necessarily feel that it is harming my kids either. Choose your battles, I guess :) I feel that I grew up with it and as long as our main focus is on Christ, a few packs of gum from 'santa' won't hurt ;)

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  11. I had to read this post since I have seen it linked up on a few different links I am also linking with. (run on sentence=))
    I personally don't think how you are celebrating is shocking. Maybe because we are celebrating the same way. Not out of conscious decision per say. We have told the kids about Santa Claus. Their gifts are not from him or anything like that. But, he is kind of hard to avoid as you drive around this time of year. We also have told them about St. Nicholas. Wow! What a guy!
    I had never heard of Elf on the Shelf until this year. Seems kind of faddish, and fun. Fairly harmless.
    I think you took a very balanced approach in explaining your views. You aren't trying to bring people to your side, just explaining what you do.
    Yes, Christmas has pagan origins, but most people look at it as a time of giving, if not Jesus Christ's birth. In going in to the public schools, I am amazed by the number of kids who have never heard the Christmas story. Christmas is a great time to share Christ. Verbally and by our actions.
    Have a wonderful, Christ filled Christmas!

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  12. Wow. Your post - spot on. I adore it. The comments.... wow. I feel like we could be friends. :)

    Jesus is the reason for the season for us. Regardless of its historical beginnings, Jesus being born of a virgin is a miracle. Just as with Easter, His resurrection is a miracle. These two miracles in an of themselves (along with many other fulfilled prophesies) confirm that Jesus was who he said he was. He's the God I choose.... Jesus.

    He's not only the reason for the season, He's the reason for my Mondays, my Tuesdays, my Wednesdays, my Thursdays, my Fridays, my Saturdays, and my Sundays. As the day we celebrate his birth falls on a day that used to be a pagan celebration, I say Happy Birthday Jesus!

    If the world (even those that do not know Jesus as Lord) celebrate anything - pagan, santa, easter bunny - the one of two days a year some go to church, why would I pick those days to say no, it is factually inaccurate? Those are the two times a year people don't look at you as is if you grown a second face if you invite them to church? or if you bring up the name of Jesus? or if you drop the word Savior into conversation? or offer to pray with them? or wish them blessings?

    I'm visiting (and now following) from Time Warp Wife. We are both neighbors on there. :) This post has me fired up this morning. :) I find it fascinating that the absence of santa or an elf didn't spark debate, but a phrase regarding Jesus did. You held your position well. Hugs to you, dear. Merry Christmas!!

    Falen

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  13. I didn't know what to expect when I clicked on your link from Time-Warp Wife's Titus 2sdays Link Up, but I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with all that you have said here. Thank you for bravely stepping up and sharing your convictions, despite potential back-lash. It's amazing how many people {Christian people...} will divide over something as silly as Santa Claus, when God desires that we be unified, even with these differences of preference.

    http://www.domesticblissdiaries.com

    GOD BLESS!

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  14. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! And It's exaclty how I feel. I'm just trying to figure out how to get my hubby on board! How do we do this when there are other kids around...our nephews who believe? How do we keep our kids from ruining other kids Santa dreams...that has been my only hesitation. She's only 2 but I don't want to push the santa thing! She won't be getting any gifts from Santa this year and I don't want to start that tradition but how do I do that with other families around us doing it? Any suggestions?

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  15. AGREE! AGREE! AGREE!!! I have a post written that will be on my blog Monday (I think). I'd love for you to check it out: www.slowlynatural.com

    Thanks for taking a bold stand!

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  16. Hi! Thank you for sharing your heart on this! I actually got a lot of backlash on my post too (primarily from believers who thought I hadn't gone far enough in my removal of secular traditions from Christmas celebrations). But I love your heart in this post and can't wait to explore more of your blog! Thanks for sharing my post! Hope you have a blessed 2013!
    Melissa Deming, Hive Resources

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