Santa Claus vs. The Buddha: What Am I Teaching My Children?

by , 12/22/11

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3 Responses to “Santa Claus vs. The Buddha: What Am I Teaching My Children?”

  1. Jennifer says:

    The lessons of Santa above aren’t lessons of Santa. All of those lessons are things parents teach or don’t teach their children. Santa is a fun story about someone who does give to others, but he’s just a story, much like princesses and other fairy tales folks. I.e fun to share with kids, but parents and society set the tone, not the stories themselves. I don’t believe that a little girl who loves princesses will grow up to be some weak person waiting for a prince and I don’t believe that kids who believe in Santa think stuff is all that matters and global warming is a good plan, not if parents raise their kids right.

    Parents allow holidays and other traditions to become over-saturated with stuff and greed or not, depending on how they discuss the holidays with their kids. I think blaming a historical imaginary figure for the commercialization Christmas is a massive oversimplification. It’s akin to blaming fast food for overweight kids or advertising for greedy, stuff grabbing kids, when in reality, parents who ignore food issues and leave kids alone to deal with advertising are to blame. Parents have the biggest influence on their kids, and we can sell holidays as we wish to our kids (i.e. make them more about giving and being with family) if we choose. I think if we call out imaginary people for turning the holidays into one big commercial mess, we’re just bucking the blame as parents.

  2. Interesting article Pamela – I certainly laughed and recognized a lot of my own dilemmas in the first paragraph. My son currently thinks that ‘there are lots of santas’ – and basically that anyone who dons a red Santa hat is a Santa. Do you guys have Santacon out west? Try explaining that to a 3 year old:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SantaCon

    “Don’t worry honey, all of those nice, over-friendly, loud, drunk people are Santa. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!”

    I do think that maybe some issues are being conflated in this post,though. What to say about Santa is one thing. I like Jennifer’s suggestion to treat it as a fairy tale, like any other fairy tale we read or tell. That seems to be the direction that we’re headed in here. My son doesn’t seem to mind the inconsistencies of reading about all different types of contradictory Santa stories.

    Then the other issue is the materialism and “too much stuff” issue of Christmas, which can be a problem with or without the Santa Claus story. I think the solution to this is to focus on limiting gifts to children (as you suggested), get children involved in the gift-giving (gift making?) procecss and also organize volunteer activities for your children. All sound suggestions.

  3. Jarmin says:

    Hi Pamela,
    Great article! This is Jarmin (I worked at Acrosports). I saw the picture of the boys on my facebook newsfeed and thought they looked familiar! Sounds like everyone is doing great. Happy Holidays!
    best,
    Jarmin

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