For the past several years I have had the esteemed honor of taking Mackenzie and Macy to see Santa…the real Santa. Seriously—this guy is the real deal right down to the long white beard and a kind, gentle smile and personality.
This year, though, while we were waiting in line to see him, Mackenzie said, “Nanna, he’s going to ask Macy and I if we’ve been good, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” I said, “he is. And when he does, you can both tell him you are very good girls because you are two of the best girls in the whole entire world.”
She listened to what I said, smiled and her sweet smile with a look of relief in her eyes, hugged my leg and turned back to the displays next to us meant to keep the kids occupied while they waited to meet Santa.
Mackenzie’s question wasn’t asked with a great deal of anxiety or dread, but it bothers me that we (we, meaning society in general) have placed the thought in our children’s minds that Santa’s goodness and generosity is performance based. We’ve demoted Santa from the giver of love and good cheer to one who rewards only the ‘good’.
How sad is that! What’s more, if a little child is worried about what a stranger in a red suit and beard thinks of them, what do you think goes through their heads and hearts when you make them feel like they’ve disappointed you and let you down? What impression are you leaving in their tender little hearts and impressionable little minds when you give the impression that your love and respect have to be earned?
Our children don’t ask to be born. We make that decision for them. So the very least we can do is to let them know they don’t have to earn our love any more than they should have to be good in order to have a present or two under the tree on Christmas morning.
Our wait to see Santa was relatively short and both girls climbed up in his lap ready to tell him what they wanted. And you know what? Santa didn’t ask if they’d been good. Instead, he smiled at the girls and said, “I can see you are both very sweet (not good) little girls, so tell me what you’d like for Christmas.”
See, I told you he was the real deal.
Merry Christmas,Momma D