Posts Tagged ‘Santa’

Convincing My Kids Not to Ruin Santa for Everyone Else

Friday, December 16th, 2016


It was in the thick of the holiday season last year when our little family decided to do some shopping. We went to an outdoor shopping center, and I was browsing in the store with my littlest one in the Ergo when my husband volunteered to take the other three out to explore the holiday décor outside. They found a sign advertising Santa’s Workshop, and went to explore. A woman with her two daughters, who seemed to also be interested in seeing Santa’s Workshop, arrived at the same time.

“Santa isn’t here yet,” said the older daughter to my oldest son.

“Santa isn’t real,” my oldest responded with confidence.

The daughter’s mother stared angrily at my husband, her face communicating an insistence that he correct the situation.

The final words were barely uttered before my husband scooped them up, shot a look of apology at the mom, and scurried away from the scene of the crime.

It’s no secret amongst my friends and family that we don’t do Santa with our kids. We went into this strategy with an intention of cultural sensitivity, but realized quickly that we had failed to convey this attitude with our children. As parents, and as people, we were on board with the parenting choices others made when it came to Santa—but how could we convince a five year old to get on the same page?

I thought about the things I wanted for my children. I wanted them to grow up to be compassionate, brave, and strong. All of those things come from experiencing conflict, whether it is conflict in a relationship or confronting something that is different than what you believe. They need to be in situations that feel uncomfortable, and they need a safe space to sit with that discomfort and understand what it means. This uncomfortable encounter at Santa’s Workshop was a perfect opportunity to teach our kids these things in an age appropriate way.

“What do you know about Santa?” I asked. After my oldest explained what he knew about the story of Santa Claus, I added, “And some people believe it’s real instead of pretend, right?” When he nodded, I continued, “And that’s okay. Some people believe different things. And when people believe things that are different than us, and those things don’t hurt other people, it’s okay for them to believe those things. Believing Santa is real doesn’t hurt people. So when your friends at school talk about Santa, it’s important to be respectful of what they believe, okay?”

We didn’t have any more incidences after that, and we keep having refresher courses. We talk about things that are happening in the world around us, about how people treat others poorly because they believe something different. “Is that kind, or is that mean?” we ask.

“Mean,” the kids answer.

“Do we want to be mean, or do we want to be kind?” we ask.

“Kind,” they answer.

“How can we be kind?” we ask.

With all parenting decisions, we often go in with altruistic intentions. In that regard, sometimes it is about both the “what” as well as the “why.” From there, they are more likely to understand the “how,” and from that, perhaps we can nurture a more compassionate generation.

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. 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.12.24 AM‘Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the house
A mother was pacing
Her heart filled with doubts.

The stockings hung empty,
Filled with despair
And she wished that St. Nicholas
Her burden could share.

The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
While innocence, hopes,
And dreams filled their heads.

As Mama gazed in
With the moonlight so pale
At those sweet little creatures
She felt she had failed.

For in spite of her efforts
Cash had been tight
And the space ‘neath the tree
Would be empty tonight.

She pondered the goodness
Of her boys and her girl
Did she deserve to be “Mom”
Without giving them the world?

She looked at the cupboards
Full as she could keep
And tried to be grateful
They had a warm place to sleep.

But try as she might–
Knowing things could be worse–
Her heart throbbed with sadness
Her soul filled with hurt.

Though she felt so alone
In her feelings of woe
Many of us relate
Though we don’t let it show.

In a world full of ‘shoulds’
Others’ lives seem complete
When you don’t measure up
When you try to compete.

When the world seems to say
You don’t have or you lack
When you feel like you can’t
Get the weight off your back.

In the eyes of your child
For each boy and each girl
There is no disappointment
For you are their world.

So amid all the hurt
Through the guilt and the grief
In the love of your child
You will find some relief.

Don’t buy into the hype
It isn’t the stuff
All they need is your love,
You are enough.

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.



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

Monday, December 21st, 2015

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.