Author Topic: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief  (Read 4079 times)

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Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2012, 03:33:29 AM »
I never had any strong belief in Santa.  I didn't disbelieve, mind you, he just wasn't that important to me, in the grand scheme.  Being an only child, my presents were never addressed (after all, who else's Lego sets would they be?), so I never had a thought as to whether it was Santa or Mom that gave me stuff.  I can't even tell you at what age I stopped believing, but I can tell you this... finding out that the whole Christmas myth was made up (in my mind, to get kids to behave), I think that's what kickstarted my agnosticism.

If I had kids, I'd sit them down and tell them "Santa isn't a person, he's a tradition.  But it's not you place to ruin it for other children... the joy you feel at Christmas is the same as theirs, and how would you feel if someone took that away from you?"
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MindsEye

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2012, 08:13:16 AM »
In my family we did Santa (sort of) but he didn't come on Christmas Eve. 

We kids left out our shoes on the night of Dec 5 (Dec 6 is Sinterklaas/St. Nicholas Day) and he would come during the night and fill them with little treats for us - usually fruit and nuts and a new pair of pajamas. 

Christmas presents were from parents, friends, and other relatives.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2012, 09:29:48 AM »
My mom made all of our Christmas stockings by hand as well as many for our extended family, which is really nice I think.

That's something else we did that still kind of seems like a big deal to me. It's always surprised me when people don't really care about Christmas stockings, or when they don't really have them. My mom's grandmother made her and her siblings all these really awesome felt stockings with their name and year of birth embroidered on the cuff, and appliques of toys (with sequins) sewn onto the main part of the stocking. My aunt made matching stockings for my siblings and I and for her children. So we've always hung them up (usually on a shelf, as we never had a fireplace or any sort of mantle-type thing), and always had stuff in them (even if it wasn't much as we got older).

I've been trying to make stockings for my SIL and husband, and now my niece and nephew for a few years. I haven't managed it yet, because I had to make the pattern, and learn to embroider, and then practice writing people's names so they would look nice (my cursive handwriting isn't very good). But I am going to get those stockings done one day, and then it will be really nice to be able to hang them all up at Christmas.

Years ago, my Mom got a matched set of knitted stockings - Santa and Mrs. Claus, Mr. and Mrs. Snowman.  She'd buy another knitted one from the church bazaar as my brother got married and had kids.  I'm a knitter so I ended up knitting a set of 4 stockings for my brother and his family, the year they had their first child.  So Santa and Mrs. Claus, a puppy and a kitten.  They are all still in use, except Mrs. Claus, since my Mom is gone now.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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datcat

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2012, 09:35:56 AM »
My Mum did things a bit differently with me.  She bought the presents usually with me in tow and when we got home we wrapped them and I had to take them upstairs and put them on her bed for Father Christmas to collect. 
She would then sneak upstairs and hide the presents behind her wardrobe and lo and behold the next time I went up stairs, the presents would have been picked up ready for delivery on December 25th.
I had a special Paddinton Bear pillowcase for the bottom of my bed which would be filled with the smaller presents and the big stuff was on the floor. And it was usually one of my elder sisters that set it all up.


workerbee

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2012, 09:50:16 AM »
I remember having a very serious discussion with my friends about how I believed Santa was real, but I did NOT believe he came down the chimney!  :) I was sure my parents just left the door unlocked for him....

Growing up, our stockings were filled with gifts from Santa, but our gifts under the tree were all from our parents/family.  Stocking gifts were always wrapped up in white tissue paper, so there was never really the issue of having the same wrapping paper.  Now that I have young kids, this is a good little tidbit to know! If I wrap anything from "Santa" I'll be sure to use unfamiliar paper. I mostly just do the same white tissue thing now. In my husband's family, stocking gifts were never wrapped, just stuffed down into the stocking, but I don't think that's much fun!

My parents were always really good about disguising their handwriting on the note from Santa we'd find in the morning. Both had really distinctive writing, so I'm not sure how they did it (I'll have to ask my mom!).  I do remember as I got older wondering if my dad had someone from his office write the Santa notes!

I really like to keep the religious aspect of Christmas at the forefront for our family, so I don't tend to make a big deal to my kids about visiting Santa, writing notes, etc. We certainly read the books and take part in the more secular holiday traditions, but I try to minimize the Santa/commercialization stuff. I'm sure this will become more difficult as the kids get older!!

*new*mommyagain36

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2012, 09:50:52 AM »
As kids, all our gifts were from Santa.  We would go to bed Christmas Eve with nothing under the tree and wake up Christmas Day with the gifts there.  I was in elementary school, maybe 4th grade?, when I heard a bunch of thumping/rustling and went to the living room and saw my Mom hauling things around and putting out gifts.  Then she let me be her helper for my siblings each year until one by one they stopped believing.
My son is an adult now but I always put out 3 gifts from us and 1 larger gift from Santa but I told him that, while Santa brings the toy, he leaves parents the bill for toys so, nothing is free.  That worked in keeping wish lists pretty reasonable.
Now I have my daughter I'm still trying to figure out what Santa is going to be for her.  Hubby says he doesn't want to deal with it at all but I think it can be a harmless tradition and a lot of fun.
I think I'd like to stick to the 3 gifts from us and maybe have Santa fill her stocking.  We'll put out cookies, milk and maybe carrots (for Rudolph - she loves that cartoon) and we will also celebrate 'Baby Jesus Birthday' - I bake a bday cake.
"Oh people can come up with statistics to prove anything.  14% of people know that" - Homer Simpson

DaisyG

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2012, 10:10:06 AM »
My brother and I never believed in Father Christmas and if I had children I wouldn't encourage them to believe either.

Growing up, we spent alternate Christmases with my cousins who did believe and used to put out a mince pie and a glass of sherry for him and a carrot for the reindeer. My brother and I treated it like a game of trying to keep my cousins to keep believing. We used to get a stocking to open on Christmas morning with a small toy, a clementine and some sweets but open our other presents after lunch. As teenagers we stopped getting stockings and just opened all our presents with the adults. Everyone would have their stack and we would go round the room with everyone opening one at a time.

One cousin said he didn't believe in Father Christmas after counting the carrots in the fridge - after putting one out for the reindeer, the next morning there was an extra one in the fridge. Another cousin stopped believing after seeing my uncle putting out Santa's presents.

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2012, 10:41:14 AM »
When we were little, the Santa gifts were put under the tree, unwrapped, to be found Christmas morning.  All the wrapped gifts were from Mom and Dad or other relatives.

There was (still is) a large orange in the toe of the stocking. 

Me, too!  I'm 40 and still get a stocking from Santa with the orange in the toe.

Additionally, we open our wrapped family gifts on Christmas Eve, after Mass and a seafood meal (Italians (which my family is not) traditionally do 7 fishes for supper on Christmas Eve).  Christmas morning is Santa (adults get stockings, kids get stockings and presents, unwrapped).  Christmas day is a meal with a standing rib roast encrusted in fennel seeds and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
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NestHolder

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2012, 10:48:00 AM »
We didn't have 'Santa', we had 'Father Christmas', who would deliver the presents from everyone.  My little sister and I would wake up and discover that the pillowcases at the bottom of our beds had been stuffed with Stuff, and would haul them into the parents' room to sit on the bed and open everything while Daddy wrote down who had received what from whom.

I'm a lot less organised than my father was, and my DH and I have incorporated his family's tradition of putting the presents under the tree (usually when we decorate the tree, we don't leave it until Christmas morning).  I usually put a few minor presents into the mix with 'From Father Christmas' on them, but I don't think it ever fooled anyone, even when the children were small!  The presents are wrapped - I'd never heard of leaving unwrapped presents under the tree until I started reading eHell.

Sluggyfan

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2012, 11:13:24 AM »
I grew up with a pretty traditional Santa/cookies Christmas, with filled stockings as well as gifts from Santa. When my family converted to Catholicism, the stockings moved to St. Nick's day, with Santa still coming on Christmas with bigger gifts.

In my own home, if I have kids, I'm pretty sure I'll switch this around. I'm no longer religious, but love the Santa myth. I've also married a Russian guy, who comes from a tradition of no Christmas celebration. The tree, gifts and visit from the Russian Santa equivalent (Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost, and his granddaughter Snigurichka) happen on New Year's eve and day, with the tree sticking around until the Orthodox Church's traditional Christmas date (January 7).

We've already taken to putting up the tree early in December and keeping it up til Jan. 7. If we have kids, I think I'd like us to have Mom and Dad and Family gifts on Christmas Day, with no Santa visit, and Ded Moroz's visit on New Year's Day. (Ded Moroz, from what I understand, leaves gifts, as well as toys in shoes). The kids'll be told that since they're half Russian, Santa and Ded Moroz worked out a deal to switch up their gift giving time. This'll run well if they wonder why their cousins and friends get their gifts on Christmas rather than New Year's. I'll ponder what to do when we're visiting family on Christmas day later -- maybe something about Santa taking the reins since he didn't want the kids to be left out in front of their cousins.

And when the kids grow too old for Ded Moroz, they'll know that they had a tradition from their Dad's country -- and they can decide whether or not to keep it going when they're adults.



Outdoor Girl

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2012, 11:47:31 AM »
In our house, the tree always stayed up until Epiphany - January 6th.  Once we got the artificial tree, Mom always put it up on the first Sunday in Advent.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2012, 11:58:10 AM »
I grew up believing in Santa, but I was told that Santa only brought what the parents could afford, because he sent them a bill after the holiday so he could pay his elves.   This was done because otherwise how do you explain Santa not bringing toys to the poor?  We always gave to toys for tots and other donation places.  Why wouldn't Santa give the poor children toys?  He had to cover his costs.

My husband and I taught our kids the same thing.  That way, they knew they could not ask for expensive items thinking that Santa would provide.

I like that explanation and might borrow it if you don't mind, as our town has quite a few people who don't have a lot of money and it does make for a good explanation, and why it's good to give presents and stuff to the less fortunate.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

stitchygreyanonymouse

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2012, 12:23:44 PM »
We had pretty traditional Santa/cookies/Christmas morning when I was very young. All but one or two gifts would be from Santa, and my parents always had different paper for the ones from them under the tree, and ones we gave to other people.

I stopped believing the year I got roller blades, because my mom made me try them out before they were wrapped. I was 6. I kept it up for my younger sisters though (6 and 7 yrs. younger).

By the time they stopped believing, my parents had divorced, and my mom would make each of us wrap one of the other's gifts because she hated wrapping. After the divorce but when my sisters did still believe, Santa would visit if we were at Dad’s, otherwise his gifts were just from him. Santa always visited Mom’s, but we would open up presents from her on Christmas Eve and might not get Santa’s until a few days later. Our grandparents never gave Santa gifts, to my recollection.

Bio-dad and step mom always gave (or maybe still do—I’m never around for distribution now and they haven’t given me anything in recent years) presents to me and my sisters (both the older ones and my younger ones whom they aren’t related to), and then my nieces and nephews from Santa.

I think that if SO and I have kids, we’ll likely try Santa, but my belief is that the parents get to give Santa gifts, and grandparent gifts come from the grandparents. It will be a battle with his parents, and possibly my own (but again, I don’t know if my parents still do it with my nieces and nephews—they have become reclusive and don’t always do Christmas day stuff with my siblings or the family anymore).

AylaM

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2012, 12:58:04 PM »
Mom and Dad were pretty good.  And I am pretty gullible.  We believed for a long while.  I think I finally found some unwrapped gifts one year.  But still wanted to believe so made excuses.  I finally figured it out when Mom said "I know you don't believe in Santa, but your sister still does, so don't tell her, ok?"  :(

They would pick out a special Santa paper for each kid.  All the gifts for one kid would be wrapped in that paper and on Christmas morning they'd be separated into piles with our stockings in front of them so we knew whose gifts were whose.  So no handwriting to give it away. And no wrapping paper to do so either.

The gifts were kept in layaway or the storage unit until the 23rd or 24th.

Stockings are stuffed with an orange in the toe, small toys, candy, a new toothbrush, and nuts.

Santa came through the door, because we had no fireplace.  And the yard had no grass to check for muddy prints (no snow, lots of rain).  It was a Japanese rock garden out front and a paved area out back.

And if a bar code was accidentally left on the gift?  He obviously did some of his gift-giving from stores because otherwise he'd have to make a lot of toys.  And why should he have to make them all when there are so many people who do that already?


At 25 and 22 we are both unmarried so come home every Christmas, even when we are not living here.  We still get a huge pile of Santa presents.  We pick out our own Santa paper if we happen to be there when it is bought. 

And now that we're older, mom doesn't have to buy her own "Santa presents" (apparently dad was next to useless at gift-giving).  But it usually means "on no, we forgot to get mom Santa gifts! Quick! Re-wrap some of her other gifts in Santa paper!"  Which isn't that bad because she tends to get more gifts from us than anyone else does.

I do get a little sad sometimes because mom and dad never get me anything for Christmas anymore :D.

I usually don't tell people this though, because I get funny looks about being this old and still having a full-out Santa gift exchange every year.  And I feel silly, but I enjoy it.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 01:05:44 PM by AylaM »

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2012, 01:51:43 PM »
Oh yeah, I think when I was eight I found a present under the tree on Christmas Eve before we went to church that said "Santa" but it wasn't in my mother's handwriting. When I asked, my grandmother said "Oh that's from me, I like to play Santa sometimes." I said "Okay" and went about my business, still believing.

My MIL will only put "Santa" on children's presents cause she thinks it's really just for kids.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata