Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I have failed...but I'm OK with it!

Scott and I work very hard to teach Sam that Christmas is about giving to others, not about receiving all your heart desires. It is my intention to never ask Sam what he wants Santa to bring him, but rather to ask him what he would like to give others. It is so important to us that Sam never believes that the world and Christmas revolve around him (even though our world does!) We never want him feeling entitled to anything, but rather thankful and blessed for everything. So we make a conscious effort not to go overboard with Christmas gifts. Each year, we arrange everything we've bought him and then I step back and say "Gosh, we hardly got him anything." And Scott says, "Exactly." and I'm brought back to our goals and away from the credit cards! Don't get me wrong. I could buy him a truckload of fun new toys. But I am pretty sure that God charged me with nurturing his precious angel into an unselfish, thoughtful, empathetic servant who will grow up to care more about others than about how much he has. He will value the memories that we have created as a family, not the goodies we gave him. He will feel like the most loved child in the world not because he has more toys than he can handle, but because we play with him from sunrise to beyond sunset.

That rant out of the way, I have to tell you that I have already failed!

A few weeks ago, Sam's grandmother started asking him about Santa and what he wanted Santa to bring him. Sam had never even heard of Santa before that. We didn't "do Santa" his first two Christmases. So I realized that Scott and I had come to the point in time that we were going to have to talk about and make decisions about Santa. All of a sudden, it became a really big deal to me and the question of whether or not Santa would be visiting our house this year got me thinking. I grew up believing in Santa and he was still visiting my home during my college years. But, with our goals in mind, I wasn't sure if I wanted that for Sam. How could we merge our desire for him to be a giving child with this perfectly wonderful tradition that focuses on receiving. On the other hand, I didn't want to be the one to deprive him of this cultural, commercial rite of passage, either. So, in the end, we decided that we would indeed introduce Sam to Santa this year. (Not what I consider to be my failure.)

And boy, am I glad we did! It has been so much fun watching Sam figure this whole Christmas thing out. He loves decorations and lights! I've been watching him with a teacher's eye. He's hearing so much talk around him about Christmas and Santa and you can just see him putting the pieces together to form this new schema that grows everyday. In the last three days, he has started wishing people "Merry Christmas!"

My failure you ask?

We decided to have Christmas morning at our house on Monday morning, before all of our travels. (I'll blog about our wonderful, special morning later.) A few days before "Christmas" we started really talking about Santa and noticing him all around us. We explained how Santa was watching him and would bring him something special for being such a good boy. And then, because I was so caught up in the excitement, I did it. Before I knew it, I went there. I actually asked Sam what he wanted Santa to bring him. (Gasp!) I know, I shocked myself, too. But, it turned into a sweet (if not crafitily guided) conversation and Sam only asked for one thing. Trains. What luck! That's exactly what Santa was planning on bringing him!

I guess my reason for asking him was to prepare him for waking up the next morning and finding the small pile of loot waiting for him. If we were going to do this Santa thing, then I wanted him to experience the magic of Santa. Plus, we had lots of fun Sunday threatening Sam every time he started acting up, that Santa might not bring him any trains if he wasn't a good boy! At one point, Scott and I looked at each other and he asked "Why haven't we used that all year?" It turns out that Santa makes a good threat! So maybe my failure wasn't so bad...Anyway, I'll try again next year!

Well, that's what's on my mind this morning. And it has been a long morning! I've been up since 3:30, wide awake, wrapping gifts and playing on the computer. I can't believe that this is the first night in a week that Sam has slept all night and now I can't sleep!

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that your Christmas will be as fun, magical and wonderful as ours was!

Here's a sneak peek at our Christmas morning:


Jennifer Juniper said...

We have always gone the Santa route with our kids, but they are to ask for only one thing and santa brings one thing plus a surprise - the rest are from mom and dad.

Now that my 10 year old is wise to us, we explained it by telling him Santa is a euphemism for Jesus who gave to others. We explained it helps little kids understand.

We always write a thank you to Santa the next morning that he sends an elf to pick up for him.

Merry Christmas!

Brightfish said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I love the idea of limiting what Santa brought to one thing. That's really what we did. We made sure he knew the other things came from mom and dad. The only problem was my MIL. In her head, everything he was given during the week came from Santa, even her gifts. So, while we were at her house, and after coming back from my family, she is constantly asking "what did Santa bring you this year?" It is most annoying! Thank God, Sam always replied the same thing. "Trains!" You would think she would get the hint, but I guess not! So, I think we have the Santa thing figured out, but I'm not so sure about her!