I’m in a blogging blitzing mood lately, aren’t I? You folks who blog from work are in for a jolt checking in here when you go back in a week or so! So let’s talk a bit about Christmas and where I am at the moment in my thinking, reading and studying.
Christmas was a swell time this year. If you read my Christmas message you might see I’m in a better headspace as to what the season means. And I really am more relaxed although I wasn’t necessarily so heading into it with last minute stuff to get done. But it feels good to decompress.
Anyone who reads me regularly knows I have a bit of a crazy orthodoxy at work in my faith. One of those aspects surrounding this particular season is the treatment of Santa Claus with the kids. Our oldest has developmental delays on the autism spectrum, so he spared us from really having to deal that much with it. Our youngest at about 6 is ripe for this sort of thing, so we have had to deal with it in the way that works best for Arwyn and me. We avoid it.
I’m not against people who want to make a huge deal out of Santa Clause. It is definitely a cultural thing, and people who want to engage with the larger culture don’t offend me. As long as the larger culture isn’t getting all over me about this issue, I won’t get all over them. I’m not coming right out and telling my kids there is no such thing as Santa so they won’t blab and spoil all your fun. But they are going to figure it out soon enough on their own, anyway because he did not visit our house. We don’t leave cookies out or hang stocking on the fireplace. Sounds rather bleak, doesn’t it? But I’m not the Burgermeister.
They watch Santa shows and movies and sing Santa songs and decorate the tree. And they get presents just like your kids. But they are not from Santa; they are from their loving parents and from each other. We open our gifts Christmas Eve, so pretty much all thoughts of Santa are abandoned once they get their loot. Although the youngest did make mention of it this year, with those 3 words every parent eventually hears whenever kids open presents; “Is that all?” But Arwyn deftly and tactfully told him he should appreciate what he has or we would ship him off in Santa’s sleigh to an orphanage in some third world country.
The big hit for them was the Lionel train I got off eBay. It was opened once before 30 years ago as there was still tinsel in the tracks but it may have never been run since opening day. It’s now happily being run to death now, however.
Arwyn got an mp3 player which she can use while using her brand new elliptical trainer. She had been going on about wanting a treadmill but this thing looked much more cost and space effective plus the workout is more complete with the arm levers.
I got underwear and a shirt. But I was lucky to get that as Arwyn has no money since she is sweating off the debt she ran up last summer. But I am totally okay with not getting stuff because I can play with the train as well as use that elliptical machine and I have. It does give a more complete workout and I shed 500 calories this morning according to that nifty digital counter in 30 minutes. Arwyn did 15 minutes, but she’s just starting out and is way out of shape.
She was most appreciative but there was no sex last night, as we were up late fiddling with the mp3 and I had to finish assembling the elliptical. And that was fine, too. That’s part of that whole differentiation thing, where giving and disclosing are done without any expectations of it being returned and being okay with it. I am unsure how to react to a sexual advance at this point, anyway. I miss it, but I am not hankering for a double scoop of controlling-guilt-based stuff. But my body says otherwise. Ugh! I wish it would just shut the hell up!
Back to Santa for just a minute, Arwyn and I are pretty much in agreement on this. We just don’t want belief in him to be our children’s first crisis of faith. Yeah, he’s real the same as Winnie the Pooh. Both are lovely and heart warming characters who occupy positions of fondness but the business of building a belief system around this particular fellow is mass psychotic silliness. And I’m not keen to have this particular madness be any more significant to my children than I have to. They love presents as much as any kids and tying Santa to a stash of presents puts the fat guy pretty high up in significance to them. I’m not going there at all. So we sort of play the smallest of roles in perpetuating the cultural psychopathology. Discovering that Santa isn’t real won’t involve even the mildest of trauma for my kids. I’d be happy to indulge more if the fat old guy was paying my mortgage or even just the cable bill. But he’s not, so he can seek credit, cookies and glory elsewhere.
[Ha! After writing this but before posting, I ran into this story about parents facing tough questions about the myth. My question is this: why teach them the myth in the first place?
I’ve been reading some of Passionate Marriage but have spent more time reading stuff off the Reveal website. It’s fascinating stuff and I’ll post a lot more thoughts on that a bit later. But the more I read the more I see I was formerly linked with the ICC movement in my former dealings with the fundamentalist group. Both are on the cult watch lists and both did business in a similar manner. My discipling was very much like what they did and I’m not sure we didn’t use the same curriculum. But we didn’t follow anyone named “Kip.” We followed “Jim.”
Like Kip, Jim left the movement he started only much earlier.