After an in-depth discussion yesterday at the Yummy Mummies group, we’ve decided Santa Claus and the belief thereof is peer pressure. Pure and simple.
We all agreed that we didn’t want to lie to our children and make-believe in a character that doesn’t exist, but then did we want our children ostracised in the playground for being the only non-believers and having parents raging against us at the school gates? So what choice do we have? Hubs and I are going to tell Archie that Santa Claus brings his presents over from the UK, end of. We’re not going to do stockings for him, we’re also not going to buy 100s of presents for him either.
What I’d also like to do when he gets older, and what his cousins could seriously do with doing now, is to carefully go through his toys that he’s outgrown, doesn’t use or play with and pack them up to take to either a children’s hospice or hospital. I say this with all seriousness, particularly after watching his male cousin rip open presents, complain ‘I’ve already got that!’ and throw it over his shoulder to rip open another one. By the time we’d got to open our presents, it was gone six o’clock, we’d been at three different houses, Archie hadn’t slept much all day and had had a late night the night before, so admittedly I was tired out, but I still found it horrifying.
What was, if possible, harder to watch was the enormous pirate ship he’d been given, (opened first because it was the biggest present), being assembled by his dad as he’d demanded that he play with that first, for him to drop all the toys they’d given to him altogether and play on his new Nintendo 3DS. He’s five years old. This was after he had to be told three times not to open the presents Hubs and I had brought round to open with them.
And people wonder why I don’t like Christmas? It is no longer an amalgam of feast days and festivities across Pagan and Christian traditions, it is all about buying stuff. Stuff for people who don’t need more stuff. Stuff that unless you get rid of other stuff, will carry on cluttering up your home. Stuffing yourself on food, because we all have to have mince pies, and pudding, and chocolates, and nuts. We all have to push trolleys heaving with food around the supermarket because they’re going to close, and we’ve got this siege mentality. Shops are now shut for ONE DAY, and hell, if you really have run out of milk, practically every petrol station we drove past was open on Christmas Day anyway. Shops used to shut for days, so you had to stock up. Nuts and sweet things, mostly dried fruit, were brought as a treat because they were expensive, so people looked forward to having them all year, it truly signified a special time.
Now that we can get fruits, nuts and even strawberries all year round (not that they taste of strawberries); a wheel of dried figs, a tray of dates and a bowl of nuts to crack open doesn’t seem that special any more. Christmas Carols being sung outside started because Churches forbade Carols to be sung indoors. Lanterns were a necessity, in the northern hemisphere it can get dark at 4 o’clock, but covering your house with animated reindeers isn’t. The whole meaning behind giving thanks and being grateful for your blessings for the past year, bringing in a Yule Log that would burn for nights on end, lighting candles and sharing tasty treats has been lost entirely. Which saddens me, and is why Hubs said that Archie when he’d been given a present Archie would thank who’d given it to him, and we’d also give him a chance to actually play with each toy at a time. If that means saving up presents so he only opens one or two a day, we will do it.
Now before I get completely Grinch-like on you; this is my second vent about Christmas, I’ve got thank you cards to write, for a family giving us hospitality, particularly during a trying time, and also for the presents we’ve received.