We’re so curious how other people celebrate the holidays in their homes. For those that celebrate Christmas, we’re interested to know how/if you deal with Santa. Do you wrap presents from him? Does he just fill the stockings? Do you open family presents at the same time? Do you have your kids write Christmas lists? How do you decide what comes from Santa? We really want to hear from you. Either email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or write it on our facebook page…and we’ll come up with a really good giveaway! Below, read contributor Juliana Sohn’s way of dealing with Christmas and Santa.
At the risk of receiving hate emails, I’ll confess that we do not do Santa at our home. I grew up in Korea and moved to the States when I was 5. The first time I ever heard about Santa was at school in New Jersey, when I was 6. I was dumbfounded that my fellow classmates believed such a fantastical story. I knew instantly that there was no way a character like Santa could be real and was confused as to why the grownups were so insistent on making us believe. It made me feel uncomfortable that I was disappointing these well-meaning teachers. Growing up, Christmas in my very traditional Korean home was always a happy and amazing time of year. My two sisters and I never felt we missed anything by never believing in Santa. When I had kids, my English husband and I discussed how we would approach the Santa issue. We decided to celebrate Christmas as a special time of year for friends and family but to be honest about Santa with our kids from the get-go. I had heard way too many stories from friends of how devastated they were when they found out their parents had been lying to them for so long, of how they had heard something at school from an older child, of how as they got older these nagging questions based on logic would pop up, leading them to question their parents honesty. I’m a horrid liar and I knew I’d feel extremely uncomfortable trying to convince my kids of Santa, especially as they grew older with their questions more based in reason and logic.
When I was younger my family would go to midnight mass, come home and open our presents, often staying up till 2 or 3 in the morning. We’d go to bed happy and sleep in! Now, we celebrate Christmas at my parents home so we bring all the presents to their home and place them all under the tree on Christmas Eve, along with all the other presents for all the other cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It’s quite a mound. The kids open their stockings first thing Christmas morning but have to wait till their grandparents get back from Christmas morning mass (they are too old to stay up and go to midnight mass anymore!) to open all their proper presents. This means they wait patiently till 1 or 2pm.
As the kids got older we started to let them pick out their own birthday gift. We’d take them to Toys R S or FAO Schwartz (or Toy Tokyo or Kinokuniya) and let them pick anything, within reason, from the store. This year my kids asked if we could go back to FAO Schwartz to pick out their Christmas gifts (they have their eyes on a couple of stuffed animals). We’ll pick out some other gifts ourselves that will be surprises for the boys, but I get the feeling that this is going to be a new Christmas tradition.