Friday, November 19, 2010

$ + Christmas = PRESENTS not LOVE

Today on the way to school I was talking to the kids.. telling them that Christmas is a little over a month away. They are getting so excited!! Last year on Christmas eve we stayed up late and "tracked" Santa on the Internet. We could see what Country he was in, the cities he was delivering to... SO exciting tracking his journey. The kids are excited to do it again this year, we've decided to clean off a shelf we have in our family room and set the lap top there, that way we can track him right down to the neighbors house!! THEN, the conversation goes like this.... Thomas says "does Santa deliver everywhere??" And I said "yes of course" Thomas says "even to Africa" and I said "yup, even to Africa" And then Fasika says "NO he doesn't" I thought oh shit I knew exactly where she was going with this. I am so not prepared to have this discussion, and in the school parking lot no less. Fasika was almost 4 years old when we brought her home. She remembers everything, and she remembers having nothing, no clothes, no food, no toys. She said "Santa NEVER came to Africa, he didn't bring presents, he didn't bring food, he didn't bring money, he didn't bring nothing. I guess he thought all of us Africas were naughty" So on the 4 minute ride to school, I managed to get them excited about Christmas and at the same time make Fasika feel ashamed of her Country and it's people. Great, huh?! I tried the whole "different Countries celebrate different ways, some give presents and some give love.... blah blah blah" Fasika says "kids want presents NOT love" And she's right.. duhh! At 6 what kid wants to pass up a new Wii, or DSI or baby doll, or any of those material things for love????

The conversation ends with Fasika saying "I guess I AM lucky" And what she means is "lucky" that we brought her here so she doesn't miss out on anymore presents. For the last two years since we've been home with Fasika, there have been countless times she has overheard people say "she is so lucky you adopted her." Annoying and ignorant. If anyone is lucky, it's US. But back to the Christmas in America vs. Christmas in Africa thing.... Any ideas?? The last thing I want to do is make Fasika to feel "lucky" that she is here because there will be Christmas presents under the tree, loaded stockings hanging from the mantel and food on the table.... any suggestions????


  1. That's a tough one. I had kind of assumed that when we brought home our kids, that would be the end of Santa, since I wouldn't have an answer for why he had never visited them before. I LOVE the whole idea of Santa, so I was really sad when we had to tell my son the truth last year. But, it really turned out for the best. He really got the concept of getting presents for someone without the credit and he helped us get stuff for his little sister. Maybe it's time you came out to all the kids and talk about how getting presents for someone without expecting anything in return is a way of showing love. Maybe they can all help be Santa to each other this year? I know it's losing a part of childhood, but maybe it could turn out being a valuable lesson in love and selflessness.

  2. Whew, I hadn't even thought about this yet! We don't really talk about Christmas until after Thanksgiving in our house, so we haven't even talked about Santa yet. We just brought home our twin 6 year old boys in May, and like your daughter, are fully aware that they didn't celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia. I'd love to hear more suggestions on this! Keep us updated on how it turns out.

  3. We had a similar incident last Christmas. I was taking my boys to donate some toys to Santa's Anonymous. I had explained not all children get toys at Christmas, so we are sharing and giving toys to ensure all kids get toys at Christmas. As we are driving my 3 year old says, "Are these kids bad?", I responded, "No of course not, why?" "Well Santa gives all the good boys and girls toys, so these kids must be naughty, and I don't want to share toys with naughty kids."

    I drove through a stop sign trying to think of how to answer it and ended up with a ticket!