To Santa or not to Santa

by Erin L. on December 2, 2009

I love Christmas. It’s such a MAGICAL time for me. I love being with my family. I love the spirit of the season. I have fond memories of Santa Clause. I loved the stories, I loved leaving out yummy goodies for the reindeer and I loved the simple magic of Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. I have no recollection of the day I found out he wasn’t real. Not a smidge of a catastrophe or a peek of being devastated lingers in my head.

Imagine my surprise when a few years ago, my husband made some off-hand comment about not doing Santa with our future children. Um…excuse me? I don’t know that I heard you correctly, WHAT?

For the last few years, I call him SCROOGE at least 2-3 times over the holiday season and we make a joke. But now the time is actually upon us to figure this thing out. I know that technically the Bug will have NO idea about Santa this year, and probably won’t next year either for that matter. But it’s the principle. And I feel we need to get to the bottom of it now.

I’ll admit…we haven’t had an in-depth conversation about this yet. I’m sort of avoiding it because I feel deep down that my husband will have a point and I’ll understand that point regardless of the fact that I want to tell him he has no soul and run and hide under the covers. He just doesn’t want to lie to our children – not out and out about something completely fictional. (We’ll work on the white lie with him later.)

So what do we do?

Do we simply talk about Santa in the context of Christmas but never say he’s coming to visit? (Ouch, I just felt a jab in my heart.) Do I tell the Bug that his daddy doesn’t believe in magic and fairy dust and to not listen to him? (Ok, bad idea.) I just don’t want our kid to be the one who ruins it for everyone else. I can just imagine the phone calls I get from parents telling me the Bug told their kid “You silly, Santa Clause is a made-up story by adults who enjoy perpetuating lies to their children for their own pleasure.” ACK! I don’t want that.

I’m not one to say that he’s watching you as I know some families do. It makes sense to me as a way to get your children to behave, but I sort of think it’s creepy. The idea of some old man watching me when I’m sleeping gives me the willies. I just want the Bug to be able to write Christmas lists…to see his excitement on Christmas morning as he looks out to see what Santa brought for him. I guess it would be just as exciting to see what mom and dad brought him, but that just doesn’t seem as fun to me.

And the hubs and I are in complete agreement about taking him to see Santa at the mall. That sounds like PURE HELL to me. It won’t happen. I’m not standing in line with a bunch of snotty nosed, H1N1 ridden kids just to sit my child on some random guy’s lap. Wow…I didn’t realize I felt so strongly until I spit out that sentence. Guess there’s a bit of Scrooge in everyone!

But seriously, I know there has to be a happy medium. I just want the Bug to have a little bit of Santa. I know we can’t be the only family who has to deal with this issue.

What do you think? How do we make this work?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura December 2, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I will email you later on this. But the short version: I did not believe in Santa as a child because my parent's did not want to lie to me. Do I feel deprive? No. Did I ruin it for other kids? Yes. Will I do Santa with my kids? Yes. I have never heard of any child with long term damage from finding out Santa is not real. Nor do I hear that children are damaged from never believing. It was a tough call on what to do.

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2 Erin Roseberry December 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

At 2 and half, Hannah is so excited about Christmas. When we ask her what happens at Christmas she says, "It's Jesus's Birthday and Santa comes to visit!" Her eyes light up everytime we talk about it. For me, Christmas is a religious holiday, but if spinning a yarn about a Jolly Old guy in a red suit helps bring the message of hope, joy, and love home for my kiddo…I'm all for it. What is the harm in a little fantasy?

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3 Heather December 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

You have a couple of years before you really get to that point. Kate "got" Christmas last year, but the whole Santa concept was still way too much for her. She's starting to get it this year. You guys will figure out what works…but really my parents did Santa and I was never scarred from it. In fact, I don't really ever remember when I realized that whole thing out. About the mall, just take him for a picture when there isn't a line which is usually early morning or mid-afternoon. You need at least one picture of him sitting on the old guy's lap looking like "what the heck?"

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4 Emilie December 3, 2009 at 2:52 am

Don't you remember the excitement of Christmas morning? Don't you want your son to have that same experience? It's even better seeing your own child on Christmas morning. As for the mall guy, let the bug wave at him as you walk on past. That guy is just a helper filling in for the real Santa.

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5 juniandpip December 8, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I grew up "believing" in Santa the same way I "believed" in Pippi Longstocking, the Narnia kids and the Muppets — another great character to enjoy. I never felt deprived, but also never had the crushing he's-not-real moment.

Now as a mom, I'm at a total loss about how to create that same fun-without-the-pressure for my own kids. They'll be excited about Christmas morning no matter what — doesn't matter who the presents are from. What I worry about (after listening to my 4-year-old for the past month) is my kids believing that Santa will automatically bring them every gift they want.

It's a tough call — wish I had the answer.

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6 Andrea November 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

As a Jewish mom who celebrates Christmas because it is my husband’s holiday, I’m all for it. We did Christmas with extended family growing up and I watched my youngest cousin “believe” and it’s OK. I don’t remember when she didn’t believe anymore, and I think we would have known. I also don’t know exactly when I, as a Jewish kid, knew the truth, per se, but I still thought it was fun for everyone else. I think it’s going to be a game time decision for you guys, but yeah, you’ll definitely have to talk it through. And btw, Santa at the mall? Sometimes it’s he!!, but sometimes, it’s awesome. We stumbled over one time and NOBODY was there. It rocked! Wait til they’re older if you do it. When she was an infant she screamed her head off. Good luck, girl!! Whatever you decide!

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