Still Magical.

2011 brings a Christmas first for our family.

2 of 3 Diehl boys no longer believe in Santa. If you remember, we told Luke last March. And based on the way it all went down with Bennett, I really don’t think Luke told him, as Bennett figured things out one (Easter Bunny in March) by one (tooth fairy in July) by one (Santa, in about September, I think).

Each time, when Bennett asked me if they were real, my question in return was “What do you think?” I always knew that I was never going to lie to my kids when they asked me this question, but I also didn’t feel like I needed to just come out and say it if there was uncertainty. His immediate response was “I don’t think so” followed by a reasonable explanation every time.

For me, there wasn’t another choice besides the truth, even though he was younger than I hoped he’d be when he figured this out. And I get that there are parents that want it to go on as long as possible, and I know that there are people who don’t do Santa at all, and I’m not judging, trust me. But for our family, this was the right choice.

Santa is just not a very big deal in our house. He brings a couple of small presents on Christmas morning, but the bulk of the gifts come from Matt and me on Christmas Eve. Honestly, part of that, from the beginning, was to avoid the “I want a million things for Christmas so I’ll just ask Santa if Mom and Dad say no” mentality. And part of it was to help keep the focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas: the miraculous birth of our Savior.

I did wonder how it might affect this season, having not one but two of them not believe. I can honestly say that it’s been no different: the wonder of Christmas is still very much present. I get cute little winks from Luke and Bennett when Jack Henry talks about Santa, and the boys have done a good job of protecting the secret. They still get excited about all of the traditions we have. There’s still lots of anticipation about the gifts they’re getting. It’s no different.

More than that, though, I think that their service work took on a whole new meaning. Our church participates in the Angel Tree Ministry, where people buy gifts for children whose parents are incarcerated. Several churches in the area do this, and last Friday night, all of the gifts needed to be delivered to a local school, where on Saturday, children would come to choose their gifts. Understanding that there’s no Santa to swoop in and make these kids’ Christmas dreams come true really changed their perspective on the (very fun!) work they were doing.

At this point, I’m not at all dreading Jack Henry someday figuring it all out. I mean, I’m not going to hurry him along, and I definitely don’t want to wish time away, but it’s not a sad prospect for me. I hope that as the years go on, the boys’ sense of generosity and realizing that they can really do something to make someone else’s Christmas special will grow. I don’t expect the wonderment to go away.

—–

We’re doing our best to balance Advent Conspiracy ideas…

[AC] Promo 2011 – International Justice Mission from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.

…with the fact that we love to give our kids gifts at Christmas, because we don’t ever just buy them something just because. Sara at Are We There Yet? wrote a post that I loved called “In Defense of Gift Givers” where she referred to giving gifts as her love language…and I can totally identify. I love thinking about/making/buying things that I think people will love.

Thoughts??

8 responses to “Still Magical.

  1. Your post is SO. GOOD.!!! We “did” Santa, but the fact that I can’t remember anything about when/how each of the 3 kids found out the truth, it was obviously not traumatic/crippling–for either them or me/us!! I’ve probably been told this when we’re all together, but I’ve forgotten if Matt &/or Heidi told whoever was younger!! No offense to any readers, but I really don’t like how some people continue to perpetrate the myth on & on, beyond reason. Some may insist that they don’t think their kid/s “know,” but it’s hard for me to believe that any kid past mid-grade school has not had some kind of revealing conversation w/ peers! I’m pretty sure they continue to “play dumb” for the benefit of their parents!

    I watched the video clip again; I’d seen it earlier this season. Excellent. I also read Sara’s blog entry, which I thought was SUPER. At my age, as all of my kids know, this whole issue is STILL a struggle. I have no idea how so much of my self-worth got wrapped up (pardon the pun!) in gift-giving and not wanting to disappoint anyone–it’s certainly NOT b/c my sisters & I got lots of gifts; on the contrary, our gifts were modest–but memorable!

    You’re doing such a good job in your family–I really love how your boys have learned about service & giving. They will always remember these things they participated in!

  2. Found you via Aimee over at Everyday Epistle and subscribed and linked to your blog.. Love your blog and looking forward to future posts. Come visit me sometime at RodneySouthernSays if you get the chance!

  3. Great post, Nicole. I couldn’t agree with you more. I love the magic of Christmas and I love playing Santa. I love buying my children gifts, particularly because we don’t just buy them stuff at random throughout the year. I seeing their eyes light up when the walk around the corner and see the gifts Santa left. It’s all just so magical and fun.

    That said, Santa plays a very small role in our home and always has. While I think some of the little online videos you can do for your kids of Santa in your house or Santa talking to your kids and showing them pictures of their past year (I have actually seen that video) are funny, I’m not into taking it that far. If you think about it, that’s a tiny bit creepy!

    I do, however, read them the legend of St. Nick every year so they know that St. Nick truly did want to bless those who were less forunate and we should do the same. Focusing on Christ’s birth is the number one desire of our hearts and I think our kids get it. This year we’re doing things much, much differently. Our Christmas is going to look very different. I don’t want to share the details of it online as I feel like it should be personal for us, but it will require sacrifice on the kid’s part and so far they are totally on board and I am very proud of them.

    I think it’s very possible to have a balance at Christmas and the balance is, obviously, Christ at the center and everything else in the shadows. 🙂 Love you guys. Merry, Merry Christmas to you!

    • Merry Christmas to you, too 🙂

      I’ve got to read the kids the St. Nick story. Thanks for the idea! Growing up catholic I heard it a lot but I know I’ve never told them.

  4. My biggest issue at this time of year is with teaching first grade. Some kids have been told (from day 1) that there is no Santa (but obviously not told to try to keep it quiet). I try so hard to protect those who do believe from finding out otherwise. I try to avoid the topic as much as possible, as I don’t want kids to find out on my watch!

    Growing up, we didn’t get any presents from our parents…everything was from Santa. We give a few to our kids on Christmas Eve morning from us, and then they get gifts from “Santa” on Christmas morning. I just feel that my kids get soooo much as all of their aunts/uncles, several of my friends, grandparents, cousins, etc. buy them gifts. It’s so much more than we ever even dreamed about, and I worry that they don’t appreciate things like they should.

  5. I admire the values and traditions you are teaching your children, Nicole. While they are basically the same values that I have always thought part of our family, too, it is the way you are doing it in a quiet and beautiful way. I hope that many others who read your blog will learn from it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! With our love!

  6. Pingback: The Elf on the Shelf Returns After 1-Year Hiatus. Read All About It. | Here's the Diehl

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