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Cookies for Santa

11/30/2008 04:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

What do you do when your holiday traditions collide with your spouse’s? That happened with my family and Christmas early on in my marriage. I grew up in a household that never mentioned Santa Claus, and my wife grew up in a household in which Santa Claus was a primary part of the family in December. So, then we get married and all Christmas breaks loose. The debate only heated up when we had children five years later.

The first year, our daughter was only three days old, so I got a pass, but by the time the next one rolled around, she was ready and alert. At first I joked with my wife about “Satan Claus” just to chide her and told her that I would never encourage a fable as fact. But, to be truthful, underlying the joking was a very real fear. As a Christian pastor, I teach my kids that there is a God that they cannot see, so why in the world would they not get unhinged when they finally realize that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus were complete fabrications purported as fact? Honestly, as silly as it sounds, it was a concern.

But then my wife launched her barrage of well-thought-out arguments. She cited the fact that she grew up being able to differentiate between the two and that Santa Claus was a wonderful part of her childhood, which was filled full of wonder and joy. Then she threw a low blow by asking the rhetorical question, “You want our children to have joy and wonder at Christmas, don’t you?” What am I supposed to say to that? “No, honey, I don’t want any joy and wonder for my children. In fact, I hate joy and wonder and will see to it that every ounce of joy will be squeezed out of this Christmas.”

My wife was not amused and it was not many months later that I wore down and caved. Actually, now is the time for me to confess that my fear in all wars with my wife is that she will ultimately win (since I want to be a nice guy). But sometimes, I can actually stick to my guns and remain a jerk.

But, we decided to “compromise,” which, in my marriage, means my wife gets what she wants with as little damage to me as possible. Our compromise was that we would not only include Santa in our Christmas tradition (with him bringing gifts to the kids, us setting out cookies, and my oldest trying to capture him), but also talk about him slightly different than usual. We would not speak about him on the same level as our religious beliefs and we would highlight Jesus on his birthday. However, on a bad day, I allowed the Easter Bunny in the back door, so he’s in our family portrait too. Ultimately, my wife and I found that as long as we were on the same page with our intentions, things worked out well. Sure, most Christmas’ we argue about how many presents Santa will bring the kids (I will not be outdone by a fat guy with no fashion sense), but for the most part, things are great, and our two differing traditions have come together to form a single tradition that is doubly rewarding. I guess we live and learn.

Lance Hahn is the senior pastor at Bridgeway Christian Church in Rocklin. He can be reached at 916-791-8341 or via email at lance@bridgewaychristian.org. 

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