Father Christmas....

Jemma - posted on 01/07/2009 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I have recently become a mother and was able to celebrated our first Solstice my with my little girl this year (she is 7 weeks old :) However I do not celebrate Christmas and am not sure what to do about the whole Father Christmas thing... I don't want her to go to school and be bullied by the other children for knowing the truth or feel that she hasn't been good enough for FC to visit her...
All thought's would be welcomed, thank you :)

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Cassaundra - posted on 01/08/2009

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It's almost impossible to raise a child withoutn them being indoctrinated with the  Santa belief. (or Father Christmas, you're british yes?) I went through this for the first time when my 16 yr old was born. I came up with a middle ground that may or may not work for you. I have never taught the children about Santa, nor have i ever signed a present from Santa. I discovered very young that it was my parents buying the presents and it made me sad that they didn't get credit for what they gave me. I also had MANY friends who felt betrayed, like their parents lied to them, when they learned the truth.



The problem is, the kids are CONSTANTLY bombarded with the Santa message by media and everyone they meet. They even get it at school. Even the school crossing guard asks " did Santa bring you anything?". So I tell the children that Santa is a spirit, not a person. That the stories are real like a myth is real, likePersephone going to Hades, or the Sidhe folk riding out from the mounds. I tell them that when people give presents, they are doing it out of a spirit of  generosity, INSPIRED by the spirit of Santa Claus.



Asking Santa for a gift is like a special kind of prayer or spell. This gives them the opportunity to DECIDE if they CHOOSE to believe. My eldest did decide to believe and it worked out really well. Now she helps teach my younger kids the same way she was taught.



 



 I hope that helps!

[deleted account]

Found a book that would be a great story to tell and poen up a conversation with your child/ren about The Winter festivals. It's called "The Winter Witch" by Clay Bonnneyman Evans and illustrated by Robert Bender. It's pro- Pagan in my eyes and deals with issues of divorce, step familiesd and inter faith issues. ISBN:0-8234-1615-1.
I've already read this to my daughter and plan toi get a copy for myself. Worst thing about this book; I have to return this book to my local library.

Cindy - posted on 01/09/2009

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Jemma & all,

I am glad this site is here because I was confused my first yuletide too which was a while ago. We also lived in NC for three years and being in the bible belt was sticky, my kids got many sermons and not just from kids. I haven't figured all this out yet, but I have takes on Jesus and santa.
Santa comes to our house because I believe he is a positive myth and agree with Dawn and Cassaundra. All of the Yuletide songs and customs that have been co-opted by Judiasm,christianity, and many other beliefs are too many to let them keep them. Red and Black are goddess colors, the birth of the sun is the reality for yule, so they adopted a "son" who was not even born then, but only since the 4th century when the pope decided he couldn't fight it anymore he co-opted yule and the christians do not even know the truth. The Sun is the reason for the season I like to say!! I always ask why all of these other traditions are connected to the return of light or the "son" in some way. I see this fact as the biggest affirmation of yule's power. And as for jesus, I am so sorry they have pinned this all on him. I used to have a problem with him until I disconnected from christianity and got to see that Jesus of Nazareth would not have had much in common with all who do things in his name. We had a joke in my woman's spirituality group that Jesus would roll over in his grave, that is if he were in his grave.

I love father christmas and have to say one of my favorite holiday songs is by the kinks who sing to father christmas.

I studied at the university of reading in the 80's, anywhere near there??

Aimee - posted on 01/08/2009

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I personally never liked santa even as a child so I haven't yet brought him into our Yule celebrations.  But it is traditional to give presents at this time and since Yule is earlier I think the jump start on presents can balance out the lack of santa.  And I agree with Heather that keeping Jesus out of it will be much more difficult

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Dee - posted on 01/01/2010

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Okay, at the risk of sounding greedy, we have no problem observing ALL holidays! Our holidays revolve around family and fellowship, not so much on gift giving (although that is fun too!) We like to celebrate the solstice with ritual and a potluck following with family and friends, the UU fellowship had a gift exchange and caroling (which I missed because I had surgery :-( Then we all had Christmas dinner with few friends on Christmas day. We also take time on each holiday to honor those who celebrate it and what the meaning/story behind each holiday. This allows us to celebrate our family and friendships as well as teaching our sons and friends what diversity is all about :-)

Jennifer - posted on 11/16/2009

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We do Santa (also called Father Christmass and Old Man Winter in my house all interchageable). The hardest thing we have had to deal with was last year we did Christmas with my Inlaws as they got all thier kids and all but one grandkid together. The hard part was we lived close anough to drive over the morning of so we opened our presents before going there. We have the "rule" that you only ask Santa for one thing as he has so many children to give gifts to, but when we got there my oldest who could read saw that her cousins seemed to get a ton of presants form santa while she and her sister only got one each and the stocking stuffers. When we got home she asked me if they had been bad that year or done something wrong to make santa mad. I told her no that sometimes people give presents to children and put santa's name on it because they are giving it in the spirit of santa. I don't know how well that worked as she does not want to talk to santa this year and just told me what she wanted from him. But she does not tell her sister he is not real and even encorages her to talk to him so she could know the truth or not. Maybe the problem is she still believes but did not believe me! LOL It will work out and you will find your way of dealing with everything as it comes. Funny side Old Man Winter is Native American god for sharing and giving. My youngest (girl) is named Winter and last year told us she was NOT an Old man her PAPA was!

Amy - posted on 09/29/2009

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Quoting Rebecca:

I intend to tell my daughter that the ol'fella in red is one of the many spirits of the season. Maybe doing some reseach on christmas tradions world wide and if they had Pagn origins would help.


I have two boys, and I'm handling the jolly fat guy in a similar fashion. There are so many "Old World" style Santa's available that he is pretty diverse in his imagery. I introduced him as the Holly King and my son knows that he is called Santa by some people. I've also explained to him that he represents the winter time, love and the spirit of the season (joy, giving, and being with family).



 



 

Amanda - posted on 09/23/2009

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We are blessed enough that a friend of the family *my sons Goddess mother* also celebrates Yule. And with a LARGE family dinner at that. I have a goddess son now, so my children *pregnant* and her son will be able to grow together on the old path.

Amanda - posted on 09/23/2009

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I have a two year old and we celebrate the solstice with mother winter. She blesses us, and she delivers a gift to each person regardless of their behavior. Each gift is a blessing of sorts. *he still got toys*. The rest of my family celebrates Christmas and Santa/Father Christmas visits grandmas house and leaves the gifts there because we always spend christmas at grandmas. Hope this helps. We also focus on the "little people" we leave out empty birdhouses and offerings of our solstice dinner for the fae.

[deleted account]

my husbands family and my own are all christian (of one variety or another) and are BIG on christmas, though more as a social holiday, fortunately.

my SO and i have a 3yo and an under-one, and our practice so far is that we have Chris Kringle as the spirit of winter and yule that comes to our house on the solstice, where we have both the tree/presents/feast but also the altar/fire ritual...

it means my daughter has gotten 2 big piles of gifts each year, which she loves... she hasn't been indoctrinated to any christian stuff yet, but does seem to understand that the 25th is for christians, which include the inlaws etc, but the solstice is a special holiday Just for us....

even with prior thought about the topic before she was born, it still seems very 'seat of the pants' whenever she starts asking questions (so, frequently!)

Katrina - posted on 09/17/2009

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In our house Santa comes, we call him Father Christmas or Santa interchangably as my husband is English and we live in the US...but he's a magical fairy that works with the elves. The whole religious angle is totally devoid. Santa only comes to the kids here as well. My kids all know the whole religious part of the year, we talk openly about every religion. I have 3 kids-8,5 & 14wks. My second son was born on the Winter Solstice.

We thought about all of this with our first but decided that the joy we get from all those "mythical creatures" is worth it. We also have the Easter Bunny(call him the Spring Bunny most of the time), Tooth Fairy & somehow got talked into The Great Pumpkin (as in Charlie Brown & the Great Pumpkin LOL) for Halloween. He leaves something for the morning after trick-or-treating, books or something like that...none of ours leave candy, or like one special lollypop perhaps.

The short is we do it for the fun the kids have.

Lyndsay - posted on 09/01/2009

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Maybe give her presents during Yuletide, rather than on Christmas Day. I think every kid should get presents because the majority of them do, and the ones who don't will feel left out. And they're too young to understand the religion behind it.. it's a fun holiday where they are rewarded for being nice throughout the year.

Jennifer - posted on 08/31/2009

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We do Santa, and on the traditional Christmas Eve. That's when all their school friends expect him, after all. We don't emphasize the Christian aspect of it, but rather the secular Santa/Tree/Reindeer/Presents aspect. It's a social holiday, about appreciating friends and family and demonstrating your love for them.



For us, Yule is a separate thing. A solar thing. Since we haven't got a fireplace, we celebrate with a big red pillar candle with a sun carved in it and painted gold. We light it in the evening and let it burn until midnight (by which time they're long in bed anyway). In the morning, we go out and welcome the sun. They love the Circle Round song, "The Sun is Born Again Today" and we sing it together.

Lydia - posted on 05/29/2009

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Our family is big on Christmas (myself included) so our little girl will have her Santa etc. However it has never been a religious experience for us - rather it is a time when you make that extra special effort to show your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them. I believe that Christmas (like everything in life) is what you make it so make it what you want.

Vanessa - posted on 03/17/2009

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You have alot of time to prepare for the school years ,  Its been a long time since I have had to deal with such issues as my children are just getting through their teens now and my oldest is 20. Speaking from my own past experiences, my children new right from the beginning that father christmas was just like a fun story. Most of the children in our area are from christian families, being rural and deep in mennonite country. All I can tell you is speaking the truth to my children from the early years and letting them ask lots of questions helped. I always let my kids make a wish list, not a christmas list, which kept them excited for the season. They have grown up to be happy, well adjusted young adult and never worried about bulliing, they were comfortable with their own beliefs. You will know what to say and will guide your daughter well.

Lin - posted on 03/12/2009

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What my Christian hubby and I have decided is to expand on the Santa myth (so that we can celebrate both holidays).  According to our idea of Santa, there is a "little know fact" that Santa visits many children who celebrate Yule on the winter solistice, delivering presents and stocking contents, under the deal that children whom he visits early may open their stocking on Yule as long as the presents are kept wrapped until Christmas Day - after all, it will make it easier for him to deliver gifts Christmas Eve with some of the gifts already delivered.  This is also meant to keep the baminos from opening presents should they find them early.



Hope this helps!

Casey - posted on 03/12/2009

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I'm still pregnant with my first child and I don't want him to have a fake Santa, I wouldn't do Christmas either, but my whole family does it not for any religious reason but out of the popularity.  So, I figure I'll just have my baby celebrate the Christmas thing with the family and when Santa pops up, I'll call him a spirit of the season like Rabecca  and just tell him the truth of what other parents do.. I wouldn't want him thinking someone else got him all those presants I worked hard to get anyways.  He'll just have to deal with it at school, separation of Church and State anyway.  I'm still not exactly sure how I can put the whole Christianity thing down on him softly, but if Jesus comes up I'll just have to talk about different religions.  Luckily, I won't have to deal with my boyfriend's family whatever traditions they have, because his folks live over in Laos.

[deleted account]

I intend to tell my daughter that the ol'fella in red is one of the many spirits of the season. Maybe doing some reseach on christmas tradions world wide and if they had Pagn origins would help.

Carla - posted on 01/17/2009

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Having come to the path after my children were born, we have come up with a sort of hybrid. I was never a Christian, but my husband's family is Catholic, and quite devout. To honor our beliefs while still celebrating with the family, we have a Yule celebration on the 21st, but wait to open presents till the 25th. I have talked to my children about the meaning of xmas, what my beliefs are, and that we should respect our family's beliefs, even if we don't share them. I have also told them that the reason we open presents on the 25th, instead of the 21st, is to show respect for our family's traditions, even though we don't necessarily agree with the religious aspects.  Santa comes on xmas eve simply because that's when he makes his flight. The kids are amazingly accepting. They love having two Yule celebrations, a small one on the soltice, and the big family one on xmas.

Mandy - posted on 01/17/2009

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Hi, I'm British too! I have a 6yr old and a 4yr old. I am not a christian, I lean towards paganism but nothing formal. This year my two have been asking about baby cheeses (!) and christmas, but I just told them that it is something that some people believe in but that I don't. With father christmas I love them believing in him, footprints from the chimney to the tree and all sorts. I sell them christmas as a time to celebrate the end of the winter and the return of spring. It's all pretty pagan anyway when you think about it, the holly and the ivy a green tree decorated with offerings etc, mistletoe, so a magic spirit who comes to reward good behaviour is not so odd. I have friends who celebrate both, and a sister in law and niece and nephew who are Buddist who all join in with Christmas with no problem. Congratulations on your little girl, enjoy her as she is now, and don't worry about what to tell her just yet, you will know what to do and what to say when she is older. Sorry for going on so much hope it helps! :)

Cassaundra - posted on 01/09/2009

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Cindy, i have just the book for you! It's by Tom Harpur and it's called Recovering the Lost Light. The Pagan Christ. It will put everything in perspective and make you realise how right your intuition was.  He outlines the history and the scholarship of the truth, that christ was never a historical person, the church took a long held belief, embodied in the myth of horus and mithras and others, and foolishly turned it into a historical person.



It's a fabulous, well researched, well written, scholarly book. By a former anglican priest. Tom fiorst had his eyes opened to a wider range of thinking years ago, he interviewed our high Priestess Tamarra on his television show. He is a well respected person of faith and author. He is beginning the new age of tolerance and spiritual convergence. Paganism really lies at the heart of that future.



Enjoy!

Cindy - posted on 01/09/2009

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oh my god, I can tell I had caffeine today and normally don't. please forgive the wordy responses!!!

Jemma - posted on 01/09/2009

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lol yep I'm British, you caught me....
Thanks for all your replies they have been most helpful....
Emm I don't think the religious aspect will be a problem for us as we have multi-religious family and friends. So my daughter will see it as part of someone else's religion..
Thanks once again :) J&S

Dawn - posted on 01/08/2009

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Yes, keeping Jesus out of the equation has been difficult. There is a little girl in my Kindergartener's class that preaches to him quite a lot. This Christmas was the first year that we had to deal with Jesus at all because he's never been exposed or even heard of Christianity. So, he comes home saying that Jesus is our "Father and Savior" and that if we don't believe in God, we will go to a bad place. He was very upset and it kind of made me mad. But then I just tried to explain to him that different people have different beliefs and though she's welcome to believe in God and Jesus, our family doesn't believe in that and we absolutely will NOT be going to any bad places when we die. It was a battle a week with a five year old I've never even met.

Heather - posted on 01/08/2009

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HI,



I celebrate Yule with our little girl. the difficult thing for me is NOT st Nick but trying to explain to  her that is it NOT jesus' b-day. My little girl is 7 now and we beleive in st Nick. When she is old enough I will tell her about the spirit of St nick and why it lives on. She love it because technically yule come on the 21st and not the 25th, so santa visits early and she gets to open everything early.

Dawn - posted on 01/07/2009

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I also was a little torn about how to handle the whole season and I chose to just go with Santa. He has nothing to do with Christianity, and he embodies everything that we love about the season, plus, he's fun and jolly and has Rudolph lol. It has worked fine for us, we celebrate Yule on the 21st and Santa comes on Xmas eve and it works wonderfully.

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