We Don’t Do Santa, But You do. And that’s OK.

You are not less-than if you use Santa. You are not less-than if you don’t.There are two types of people in the world: Those who think people can be divided into two groups, and those who recognize that we are all varying shades of gray. This comes into play often in topics related to parenting: There are those who breastfeed, and those who formula feed; those who co-sleep, and those who crib-sleep; those who use a pacifier, and those who don’t.

The difference in approaches becomes divisive. A line is drawn in the sand, creating a false dichotomy, and parents are left in a mindset of Us vs. Anyone Who Does It Differently, and we can become quite defensive about our choices, feeling as though anyone doing something differently undermines the validity of our reality.

And this time of year, one of the most divisive scenarios involves Santa: Those who do, and those who don’t.

Full disclosure: I am Team Don’t.

Now, before Team Santa folks get out their proverbial pitchforks and begin advocating for all the incredibly valid and important reasons for using Santa Claus as a part of their holiday tradition, let me first say that I agree with you. One hundred percent. Incorporating Santa as a mythical creature into your yearly routine adds a sense of magic and wonder, a fantasy that seems so integral to childhood. The mystery and faith seem like the oxygen of innocence, which we so badly want to preserve and protect in our children for as long as we can until they are faced with the reality that much of life isn’t fair, magic doesn’t always show up when we need it to, and sometimes the good kids get coal while the naughty kids get all the good stuff.

I get it. I celebrate it. I am so excited for your family to have found something that bonds you and strengthens you and gives you joy this time of year.

I could list all the reasons why we chose not to use Santa in our family traditions, but those reasons don’t especially matter. There is no need to convince anyone of why my family celebrates the way we do, just as you should not have to defend your traditions to make them valuable. The divisiveness comes from a place of feeling like we must defend our choices or we admit that what we are doing is less-than.

You are not less-than if you use Santa. You are not less-than if you don’t.

Happy Holidays.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway.

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