I haven't had the time to participate in the ongoing Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories over at Geneabloggers but I'm hoping to catch-up in the next couple days. For now, I'll start with the current prompt, Santa Claus.
Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?
No, I never sent a letter to Santa mainly because we didn't do the Santa Claus thing in my house. Santa was a fun Christmas "game" to play but he was never taken to be a real person. Because Santa was a fun "game" I was always taught not to spoil the fun and ruin the game for the other kids and I don't believe I ever did. I think I was near ten, when my peers were learning the truth, that I realized some people actually believed that there was such a person. I honestly always thought it was just a fun game people played but that they were like me and didn't think he was actually real. I did have my picture taken with Santa for several years, if only because it was the requsite Christmas picture we sent out. I did lists too and so did everyone else in my family. We'd write out what we wanted and then exchange the lists with each other.
I've always been grateful to my parents for not doing the Santa Claus thing and it is actually a tradition I plan to pass on. They wanted to be more honest with me and I think that was the root of why we didn't celebrate Santa Claus as a person. He was more a figurehead for Christmas than anything else in my home so there were Santas all around. My father even has a collection of Santa ornaments which he puts out every year and occasionally adds to. The reason I'm grateful to my parents for not doing the Santa Claus thing is because it made me more appreciative of my relatives and I think, gave me a greater understanding of the value of money. I was always taught to write thank yous, especially at Christmas. Since we always opened gifts around each other, I was also taught to acknowledge the thought and effort that went into the gifts given to me. And, because I had to spend my money on gifts for others since about age five, I had a really good understanding of the value of money from an early age. I don't know that I would have had that if we had celebrated Santa Claus in the traditional way but it is still fun to play the Santa game and celebrate him as an integral character of Christmas.