Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa Claus

BJ and I were discussing Santa Claus, and we don't think we're going to "do" Santa. For one thing, I don't like the idea of lying to the kids, even if it's "for fun." For another, MG is terrified of Santa, and she would probably need therapy if I told her that he would be in our house, whether he was leaving presents or not. Finally, with 8 grandparents, we really don't need any extra gift-giving entities. We have 529 accounts set up for both the kids - maybe "Santa" can put something in there. There's the whole religious thing, too. Christmas is not Santa's birthday, in spite of what a lot of kids think!

We plan to tell the kids that Santa was a real person who gave people presents, and that we celebrate the spirit of generosity by talking about him and singing songs about him. I want them to know, though, that he's real in the same sense that Mickey Mouse and Charlie and Lola are (in other words, they're real characters, but not real people).

We don't plan to do the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, either. It's not that we're cheap, or that we dislike fantasy... We just don't want to be dishonest. I think it's important to note that neither of us felt lied to or betrayed when we found out the truth about Santa. This isn't about your parenting, Mom and Dad and Mom and Dad, it's about ours...

Any thoughts?


adymommy said...

We don't celebrate any of these mystical magical beings. I don't really have any advice to offer but please be prepared for the endless glares and judgments from family and friends.
We watch Santa movies and sing songs and have several Santa decorations but we choose not to do Santa visits, letters, or presents.
We have talked to our older 2 about not spoiling the fun for others. EVEN GRANDMAS! Telling them it is ok to know the truth but it is something we need to keep to ourselves because other families like to pretend he is real. So far we haven't had any problems.

My oldest just lost his first tooth, Saturday, and I did blog about how I felt robbed but I don't regret our choice. I just felt like I missed out on a part of parenthood, or something:)

Good Luck!

Jen said...

I think it's all about fantasy and the innocence of being a child. I remember to this day the excitement of looking out the window for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve and trying to stay up all night so I could catch a glimpse of the tooth fairy. I don't want to deprive my own kids of that feeling of excitement for the sake of being realistic.
It's not about lying, it's about allowing the childs imagination to flourish... just my thought.

Brian said...

I am a friend of Jen's and when she told me about this I about fell out of my chair. Let the children be children. They will have plenty of time as adults to realize how "real" and harsh life can be. Let them enjoy their childhood.

Brandon Stenger said... tough. My first reaction was wow, what a mistake. And that's hard for me to say to you two. One of the things I've tried so hard to do with the girls is to maintain their innocence and their sense of wonder. For me, Santa is a big part of that.

You know that I'm not a religious person, and for me, Santa takes Christmas from being just a day when gifts are exchanged to a day with some magic. One of the most difficult moments I've had was two years ago, when I had to have the talk with Lucy and discuss the reality of Santa. It was almost as hard for me as when we talked sex this year. Very different subjects, but ultimately both about the loss of innocence. And that innocence, that sense of wonder simply cannot be gotten back once it's gone. In that light, I've never had a problem lying to my kids about Santa or anything else.

Certainly raising your kids without Santa isn't the end of the world, but it's one less chance to instill that sense of wonder. It's going to be an incredibly sad day for me (that is going to come all too soon) when Jane asks about the truth of Santa.

Mommy said...

I think it's good that you've put so much thought into it. I kept the traditional Santa thing going with Blaine without thinking about the time when he might not "believe" any more. We've had a blast leaving a reindeer's bell on the floor in front of the tree so he could "return" it to Santa next year. Just last year he wrote a letter to Santa all by himself. We left a fake key to our house on the porch for Santa because we don't have a fireplace...those memories he will always have I'm sure. And we had a lot of fun doing it. But, now (he's 7) and he is starting to question if Santa is real or not. I talked it over with his dad to determine if we should tell him or let him figure it out on his own (ie kids at school). He doesn't seem devastated about the possibility of him not being real...just processing the information and likes to still "play along". We've also made sure he understands the real meaning behind Christmas and he likes to talk about Jesus's birthday. Blaine now has a little brother on the way so he will be able to experience his excitement for Santa too!

Michelle said...

That last comment should have read "Michelle said"...not mommy! Sorry!

Megan said...

I think it's unfortunate to not let kids be kids. It is amazing for them to walk downstairs and realize that "Santa" has been there. First graders get very upset with kids who don't believe. They will fight and argue with them about Santa being real. Let kids be kids or get ready for big arguments when the tooth fairy doesn't come to your house....

Anonymous said...

What! There's no SANTA? Get out! He is too real! My mom said so! :)

Heather said...

We're not going to do Santa either. Friends and family respect our choice but a few have expressed comcern. We want to teach our daughter the true meaning of Christmas. We will teach her about the real Saint Nicholas as well.

So I will say "good for you!"

B.J. said...

It looks like the common theme to encouraging children to believe in Santa is an issue of innocence/ letting kids be kids. I can't agree more with the notion of letting kids be kids.

I feel we do an excellent job of that (while promoting responsible behavior - listening, playing but putting back, etc) on a daily basis. They are encouraged to play, make friends, explore, and have fun. And I think we shield them very well from the harshness of life: they aren't exposed to any level of violence (in television or otherwise); any "heated adult discussions" are tabled for when they are not present; we've been fortunate to not have lost people very close to us in recent years, we haven't told them about taxes, lack of social security, global warming... the list goes on.

I really can't see how not going along with the idea of Santa ruins a child's innocence on an appreciable level. Yes, it may be one less chance to instill a sense of wonder but there are so many more tangible (probably more correct to say 'less-abstract') things that can do the same thing and that don't involve lying to children or putting a mythical being above the more important religious significance of the day (and, no, it is not lost on me that some regard Jesus a 'mythical' but then again we're talking about Christmas here).

Thanks, all, for weighing in on the issue in very polite ways, especially considering the apparent level of disagreement.

Rocks In My Dryer said...

We don't "do" Santa either. We talk about him, about who St. Nick was in real life, but I just can't get past the lying thing. To the naysayers, let me assure you that we do PLENTY to give our kids a "magical" Christmas--we bend over backwards for it, in fact.

Go with your gut on this!