I love the holidays and I really love the magic of Christmas especially through the eyes of a child...especially through the eyes of my children. It's always been fun to play into and "feed" the belief in Santa, the belief in something that we can't see. Children are a wonderful example of faith.
All of that said, I "ruined" Santa for my children. A couple years ago my young children asked some questions about why Santa's giving habits had changed for them. Did Santa like them less? Was Santa not reading his mail? How come Santa brought more gifts to other kids? And then last year as my children were another year older and starting to put the pieces together beyond themselves, they started asking why some kids don't get presents from Santa at all and others get so many.
I made an executive decision. Christmas is not about Santa. Christmas is not about how much you can buy your child. Christmas is about Christ and I decided it was time my children learned that Santa is not real but Jesus is. And even though you cannot see Jesus, he loves you and he loves every other kid just as much as he loves you. And that on the days when your friends at school are being mean and you feel sad, Jesus is still with you. I wanted them to know that no matter what they did, good or bad, that Jesus was someone that they could believe in who is for them and loves them...all the time.
I don't feel bad about "ruining" Santa. I actually think it is one of the better parenting moves I've made. This year, my children understand that Christmas is about giving and not getting (don't get me wrong, they all have wish lists...for me). They don't expect a huge pile of presents under the tree and they are much more receptive to experiences and to learning what Christmas is really about.
So this Christmas we are celebrating Advent as a family. Not like a calendar where you open the little doors and eat a little chocolate elf everyday for 24 days. Everyday is a reading and teaching and discussion. We are trying to slow down - with a house like ours, this is a necessity! We are learning to be more patient and believing God's promises for us. Christmas is so much more than a day to receive gifts...and I want my children to know that.