Yes, I am that Nanny who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.
I assure you, I am not anti-Santa.
I just don’t believe in a Santa Claus whose only concern is to find out if you are naughty or nice. I don’t believe in a Santa Claus that sees you and knows you whenever, wherever you are.
Yes, we want children to be good, and well-behaved. It is not wrong having such an expectation of them. But, have we ever thought about the message we are portraying?
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Sinterklaas. … Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.” (From Wikipedia)
The original story of Saint Nicholas, A.K.A. “Santa Claus”, was one of loving, selfless giving, mercy, compassionate, and accepting. However, we, culturally as a whole, have given Santa a bad name. He has become a judgmental, conditional, and manipulative jolly old man, burdened with materialism, and domination by the media. Here, Santa carries more in his baggage than toys alone!
I am not anti-miracle either.
I just don’t believe in fairy tales, or say, fantasies. Fairy tales and fantasies are made-up stories to illuminate moral values, and sometimes, to manipulate certain points of view.
Telling children there IS a Santa Claus like a “truth” discourages healthy skepticism in children. This is how my father delivered who Santa Claus is:
“Santa Claus, and everything you heard about him are fairy tales people made up. Though, there WAS once a person named Saint Nicolas, who was generous and loving. He gave his fortune to those in need. After he died, people continue to do what he did–an active love and generosity.”
Did my father’s straight-fact-Santa-Claus make me less of a believer in miracles and magic? No. I hear magic in children’s giggles. I am present to magic every time when a plane is in the sky. I experience miracles in relationship with others. I encounter miracles when I am moved to tears by community goodness. Magic and miracles exist in real life, not in fairy tales.
As you go on with preparing the holidays, I invite you to explore and ponder:
Who is Santa for you?
Who are you for Santa?
What is Santa for?
What single (new) practice could you take on for the holidays that would transform them for you and those around you?
Have a magically vibrant holiday season!!