Be Kind Because You’re Decent: A Rant about Santa and Elves

We have made it to my favorite time of the year: The Christmas and Advent season! I recognize and respect the diversity of holidays and ways people celebrate them, but for me, it’s Christmas and there are a lot of family Christmas traditions that make me all warm and gooey inside.

So, goodbye turkeys and hello tinseled trees! That doesn’t mean we stop being thankful though. See Teaching Gratitude and 15 Books that Teach Gratitude for more on being grateful and raising grateful little humans all year round.

You know what else? It doesn’t mean our kids suddenly need to be nicer, lest they be labeled naughty and disappointed  on Christmas morning. (Shame! Shame!) Why is this time of year different from the rest? (This momma would like to have her sanity all year, not that I do, but I would like it).

I think we can all agree that we should take the time to appreciate, commemorate, or celebrate special things and people (veterans, mothers, fathers, our sweethearts, our independence, even other cultures and heritage) beyond just the days marked on the calendar. But when life is crazy and we forget (mom brain takes over), it’s good that we have the special days set aside. But…

Do we really need a special season set aside for being kind?

Why at Christmas time do parents and teachers get so worked up with kids having to be good, behaved, and nice? Hello! I want my kids to be decent humans every day! (Because then, I won’t pull my hair out and spend all my money on wine.)

Yes, sometimes we need to bribe our children. “If you eat your chicken, there are blueberries waiting!” “Lollipops are for when you poop in the potty.” “If you clean up quickly, we can have 5 extra minutes outside!” But why do we need a jolly old fat guy or a creepy looking elf to bribe them to be good for a select few weeks of the year? How about, “Mommy is always watching. Got it, monitos? Siempre.”

I know that the elf thing and writing letters to Santa can be fun, but I worry about putting too much emphasis on that aspect of the season. It’s not that I won’t do any of it, I just want to make sure it’s balanced.

Our kids will get enough of the Santa hype and commercialized aspects of Christmas from other sources, so I’m really afraid of adding to that. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’ve got one idea:

Let’s keep talking to our kids about being kind, generous, and grateful, because it’s just right and decent.

And yes, I know kids get CrAzEd at this time, so good luck to us all! (And maybe, bring on the eggnog!)

P.S. Expect lots of holiday related posts with fun family activities, ideas for seizing teachable moments, and how to celebrate multiculturally.

Leave a Reply