Can you believe that Christmas is only ten days away?! It never ceases to amaze me how the first half of the year feels like an eternity & the latter half like two weeks. Not even just this year either with all of the COVID stuff going on, the holidays just fly by. Kids around the world are eagerly awaiting a visit from Santa, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Papa Noel, Babbo Natale or whatever holiday entity they believe in. But what about the kids who don’t celebrate Santa – we get to hang out in the gymnasium with the Jehova’s Witness kids 😛
It’s true, my siblings & I didn’t grow up believing in Santa. I think I was in first or second grade when I heard talk of this mysterious character & asked my mom about him to which her response was; It’s how non-believers celebrate Christmas. She also made it abundantly clear that I should not tell the other kids that Santa wasn’t real. This didn’t answer all of my questions but I did come to the conclusion that all of my friends were going straight to hell which was a bummer. After this discussion my mother penned a note to my teacher stating that I could not participate in any Santa related activities because we didn’t do the whole Santa thing. In fact, I could not participate in any Christmas activities that weren’t religious. My school was fairly diverse but even with numerous other ethnicities & races, most everyone celebrated Christmas. Except the Jehova’s Witness kids & a handful of Native American kids.
Back in the 90’s especially in rural communities, there probably weren’t a lot of discussions around diversity happening. There weren’t separate activities organized for the non-Christmas kids because like I said, most everyone celebrated your traditional Christmas & there wasn’t a need to recognize anything else. As kids, I don’t recall this being a big deal – I mean, we thought that the Jehova’s kids were a little unique but we all got along. Instead of practicing for the holiday pageant, we played kickball & made reading forts under the library tables. We didn’t feel left out because we had our little anti-Christmas gang 😀 I don’t remember Christmas being any less magical without Santa, didn’t everyone find out that he didn’t exist anyway?
This experience definitely shaped how I handled Christmas in my classroom, it still amazes me that many teachers forget that a Santa-centric Christmas or any Christmas isn’t celebrated by all students. In all honesty, given the religious overtones of the the holiday, I think that it should be phased out along with Halloween but nobody consulted me. My mom had very black & white beliefs, you were Catholic or you were wrong 😛 But, she also raised me to respect other people’s beliefs because they were just as important as our beliefs were to us. I guess my point is that the holidays can be a wonderful time for everyone no matter what you celebrate!
Were you a Santa kid? Or, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas? I’m curious to know, thanks for stopping by!