guest post from mom! -- Growing up with Santa? And other Christmas memories.

Mom was so popular last time she guest posted on my blog that she surprised me with another one! I'm planning to do a response to this in a couple of days. :) I hope the picture quality is OK... if anyone else is interested in guest posting with their Christmas memories, let me know!

When my children were old enough to get presents and understand Santa, my decision of what to tell them was made years earlier. We tend to believe what we learn as children and I remember my Mom telling us that when she was little, her parents had her believe in Santa. When she found out that Santa did not exist, she was so disappointed that she began to wonder... if Santa doesn't exist, then maybe the other story about Jesus being born in Bethlehem and being the Savior of the world wasn't true either. She did not want her own children to question the birth of Christ, so – no Santa for us.

Did I mind? No.

Our presents were up under the Christmas tree ahead of time and many fun times were made when we would shake, rattle, and roll our gifts trying to figure out what we were getting. I remember one year I got a baton for Christmas, and wrapped, it looked like a baton. I twirled this wrapped baton around before Christmas and my uncle Leslie, who was living with us at the time, said to me “maybe that is not a baton, but something else.” I remember looking at him and thinking, “Yeah... right...” :)

One Christmas when this backfired on my brother, being the hunter he still is today, was when he wanted a BB gun so badly for Christmas. Under the tree (ahead of time, as usual) was a present wrapped up looking just like a BB gun. My brother walked around the house pretending to shoot everything. Unbeknownst to him, our Dad had cut out a shape from a board and had Mom wrap it up for him. Come that magic hour on Christmas eve at our house when we all opened presents when we got home from church... the look on my brother's face when he opened a gun-shaped board – oh my! But then Dad told him to go in the basement to find his real present. Of course, a brand new BB gun was waiting for him. I think the story of the barn windows being shot out will wait for another day...

We all laugh and tease my brother, too, about the time he was about 9 or 10 and he went out into the woods to cut down our Christmas tree by himself. He dragged it all the way home and was quite happy with it. We sisters thought it was a rather ugly cedar tree, but after much trimming so it would fit in the corner, Mom said we had to use it. That was one of many Charlie Brown trees from the woods. He is a picture of one of our Christmas trees from my childhood:

So, this leads to “Did my children believe in Santa?” I followed my Mom's beliefs and didn't want my kids to wonder how much I was telling them about Christmas was true, so the answer is no. Probably a mixed message, because I did write “from Santa” on some of the gifts, but also at the same time said he was make-believe. Presents were under the tree ahead of time and the kids got to guess what they were, just like me and my siblings did. Although, they tell me in recent years that when their dad and I were out milking cows, sometimes they did a little more than guess... my kids wouldn't peek would they??? (Editors note: more to come on that subject).

Glenn and I took our kids out to the woods to cut our Christmas trees some years, too. We also went to Burg's farm in the valley and would cut down a tree from their lot for one or two dollars. We also had our share of Charlie Brown trees! In later years, when I would buy one at the lot in town, Glenn always complained that I picked out the most crooked tree possible, and so we eventually moved on to the artificial tree.

Here is a pic of my family around our Christmas tree one year:

I think, like in any other child-raising decision, the parents have the right to make the decisions – and I'm curious about your feedback?? Did you believe in Santa? Do your kids?

Merry Christmas to all from our household to yours!

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