Friday, January 16, 2015

Having a Magical Christmas Without Santa

Merry Christmas!
The trip to the US was a big success: I had a good time and even did many of the things I was hoping/planning to do with R, including lots of time with family, a trip to the Exploratorium, two trips to the California Academy of Sciences, taking the cable cars in San Francisco, touring the zoo lights at the Oakland Zoo, riding the merry-go-round at Tilden Park and visiting Fairyland.
Christmas Chaos
 No family drama ensued: I think having our own space was helpful, even though we saw my parents every day and spent most of every day with them.
Meeting one of the many people dressed like Santa
Christmas was great fun. R is old enough to get really excited about it and appreciate the magic of the season, even though we don't do Santa. Or rather, we do Santa-related things--R received presents addressed from Santa and Christmas stockings, for instance, in addition to meeting several Santas at various holiday events--while being clear Santa is pretend and all the activities having to do with Santa are just a fun game. I don't like the idea of deliberately deceiving R about Santa, especially given the fact that we are atheists and thus don't believe in anything supernatural or otherworldly. The distinction for R at this point is admittedly vague (since the distinction between reality and fantasy for a three year old is not very clear in any context), so it's unclear if my policy really matters at all at this point. Perhaps next year its effects, if any, on R will be clearer. So far the explanation that Santa is pretend, just like cartoon shows, and that people like to dress up as him for fun seemed to make sense to her.
R opening presents
R received too many presents for Christmas (in my opinion: she certainly enjoyed all of them and was greatly satisfied). I bought her 10, which upon further thought seems excessive. It's hard to know how many/what to buy her, especially given the rock-bottom toy prices in the US (at least compared to Singapore: most toys cost two to three times less in the US). I love making her happy, and buying her toys is an easy way to do that. Too bad it has downsides. Her birthday is coming up, and I think I will aim for buying her 4 presents (one for each year), mostly small things. Giving her experiences, like a party for her friends and fun outings with Mom and Dad, seems like an ultimately more loving thing to do.
One of her presents from us was a pirate costume (on her "list")

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