Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yes, Ann Peyton, There Is a Santa Claus

Sarah Denley asked me to post about our decision regarding Santa. Now for those of you who haven’t followed the blog much, we’ve had some, um disagreement, about this issue. And by disagreement I mean Rob, her dad, saying that Annie would be mentally ill if she wasn’t led to believe Santa existed. This isn’t quite something I’m so worried about, and obviously Rob was exaggerating; but we’ve definitely had some heavy discussion about this issue. Why you may wonder, or if you know us fairly well, you may not.

The way I see it, there’s a clash between childhood developments here: 1.The need for wonder and imagination and 2.The need for trust and a slow introduction to reality. We develop this wonder in childhood around things that inspire us and are larger than life. Some would argue that God is in this realm, but we all agree that we like to escape reality into new worlds from time to time. We do it through books, movies, and our imagination on its own. Think about your favorite childhood book. Your favorite movie. Will it come true, does it exist? If it’s something like The Lord of the Rings or Cinderella it certainly won’t.

Den and I both want Ann Peyton to love these worlds we can escape to in our imagination. They’re magical, and they give us glimpses of the divine; glimpses of what true beauty can be if we can attain it. So what’s this have to do with Santa? Well, for Sarah Denley, Santa is part of this wonder. He’s a man who can do unbelievable things, good and noble things- beautiful things. And for me, well, his former beauty falls victim to the American marketing system. I feel that we’d commercialized him so much that his noble deeds and good spirit are no longer around for Ann Peyton to see. Really I never saw them growing up. On top of this he kinda starts to take away from the real celebration of Christmas- you know that Jesus guy?
I worried that he’d (santa) be the main guy at Christmas, plus I just felt dirty lying so much to Ann Peyton about something that’s just a marketing tool anyway. I worried that she’d lose trust in me when I fill her with a bunch of B.S. about bunnies, santa, etc. Or worse, if santa’s a fable…who’s to say God’s not similar. So. We went back and forth about this until we reached a compromise.

And probably the part you’re more interested in, the compromise. Sarah Denley convinced me that my image of Santa was not close to hers. She still has a noble vision of him that didn’t revolve around her presents. He’s still kind, generous, good, and a beautiful example of generosity. So we’ll be giving Ann Peyton many of her presents. They’ll be from her parents. Some will be from Santa, but many from us. Also I don’t plan to encourage her imagination too much about his myths, but I’d love to fill her in on his true history, and I’m sure Denley will love to build up the myth. She’ll figure out that Santa is bogus, but I have a feeling that she’ll be glad she had the myth when she looks back on him. He’ll give Rob and Sarah Ann chances to fill her eyes with wonder and Rob does love him some Santa! And as our friends Patrick and Haley affirmed, if Ann Peyton is in a house surrounded by the love of Our Lord, she will not forget that Christmas is when Jesus is born. For this is why St. Nick can afford to be so generous- he, like us, has been given the greatest present he could hope for, so it is not difficult for him to give of himself.

* This is one of the pictures that led to our modern illustrations of santa as the jolly big guy with toys, it was from the 1860's.

Merry Christmas!

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