Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Santa Struggle

Call me a Santa hater, a Grinch, a Scrooge... but I don't want my daughter to meet Santa. 

There I said it.

I am surprised at how much I'm struggling with knowing that today at daycare, my daughter is going to have someone dressed up as a creepy old dude hand her a random something that she doesn't need. 

I honestly don't know what it is exactly that has be so bothered by this. I just know that I am. Is it because we're perpetuating the myth of Santa? Encouraging the commercialism of the holiday season? That I don't want someone passing along a tradition to my daughter that doesn't fit into my own personal belief system? 

It's not that we don't "celebrate Christmas," we just don't really celebrate it as most North Americans do. And it's not that I hate Christmas and everything associated with it. While I've chosen to celebrate the Winter Solstice, rather than the Christian holiday of Christmas, I'm still a huge fan of one gift being exchanged between two loved ones because you want to honor the light within them. I love sitting around a table with family and friends, sharing food and wine to celebrate the days getting longer. I even enjoy cedar and holy decorating the mantle with candles burning. I can handle and even like a few holiday/winter songs. 

This is my Yule. 

My partner is impartial. He grew up celebrating both Christmas and Channukah but hates the commercialism of Christmas and has chosen not to participate in Jewish religious traditions as an adult. He also has no desire to celebrate the seasons and participate in a Solstice celebration, although won't object to me doing so with Penelope on my own.I respect and admire him for this as it's not easy to separate yourself from the traditions you grew up with, and to not be pressured into celebrating what you're partner does. But we don't just have a baby, we now have a toddler and it's impossible to simply ignore this time of year. So, it's up to us to create our traditions. 

This poses the question - how in the world do we celebrate? 

This looks fun:

A celebration of dance? I know that I don't want it to be a celebration of 'stuff'. I'm more inclined to give gifts on birthdays, when you're celebrating the actual person who is on the receiving end. I know I don't want it to be about lying to my kids that there is a guy from the North Pole breaking into our house once a year to bring toys. I want to share with her the North American myth of Santa and the correlations with Norse mythology. Hell, I even want her to learn of Krampus, the anti-Santa who punishes bad children during the Yule season and hauls him away in his sack. I want to decorate the house in holy and wake up to toast the sun on Yule, I want to share these stories and traditions from around the world and dance to silly songs with my girl. I don't want our celebration to be about lies and what she gets. When we live in a society who witnesses a man being arrested for telling children the truth, that Santa isn't real, how is this possible? 

When I shared my reservations of letting our little girl participate in the Christmas celebrations at daycare, my partner replied "she's a baby, it doesn't matter." While another person I confided in remarked, "Just let her go along with it, she'll feel left out..."

This could possibly be a big part of what's wrong with our society? That we all just go along with it. What if ... WHAT IF we all gave up on the Santa myth? The lying, the good vs. bad with coal and gifts story, the mass commercialism and mounds of debt acquired this time of year, and just celebrated each other, the sun or Christ or whatever/whoever you worship and remember our image of Santa Claus was indeed taken from images of old Pagan gods, but mostly from a Coca Cola campaign.

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