So it occurred to me for the first time tonight that it is entirely possible that Monkey (never mind Bun) doesn’t actually know about Santa Claus. She knows who Santa is, culturally; when she sees a picture of Santa, she exclaims, “Santa!” We have a couple of Christmas DVDs (notably, “The Year Without Santa Claus” with the Heat Meiser and… what was his name? Ice Meister? Snow Meister? I don’t recall at this point).
But I don’t think I’ve ever gone through the whole, “Santa Claus is this guy who makes toys up in the North Pole — well, actually, his ELVES make the toys — and then he flies around on Christmas Eve delivering them to all the good boys and girls.” As Wikipedia puts it, “the mythical gift giver”. The fat, jolly guy dressed in red. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
She knows about St. Nicholas, and Mary, and (of course) Baby Jesus.
In her life, then, Santa Claus is just some guy whose imagery shows up around Christmas. She has never been to visit Santa, to tell him what she wants; we haven’t written a letter to Santa. He is neither an icon of wish fulfillment or a creepy Big Brother figure who knows when she’s naughty or nice.
I haven’t deeply examined this, but obviously I’m primarily motivated by my desire to keep the birth of Jesus in the forefront. And I’m not a grinch; Monkey and Bun are going to get plenty of loot, some from us (and labeled as from Mom & Dad, not Santa), more from grandparents and other relatives.
What to do? Should I introduce the myth of Santa to her? How? Should I use Santa as a motivator to be good, as so many people do this time of year? Should I wait another year? I have my own mixed feelings about the whole Santa-myth and secular “holiday” time as it is.
At the same time, I don’t want Monkey to be the kid in kindergarten telling all the other kids that there is no Santa Claus.