Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is Santa To Be or Not To Be?

I always just assumed that my children would grow up believing in Santa Claus. Yet, when I read about a lady the other day who is deciding to opt out when it comes to Father Christmas, it really made me stop and think. Now I find myself in a state of confusion, torn between old traditions- both my family’s and society’s- and new points of view.
The pros:
 I just love Christmas! I love everything about it, including the mystical figure of Old Saint Nick. When I was a child, I adored Santa. I have so many wonderful memories of excitedly writing him letters with my Christmas wishes. I was always too excited to sleep the night before Christmas, hoping I might catch a glimpse of the jolly old man. I would love my children to have such wonderful memories of Christmas! I would love them to remember their Christmases as magical events. It would also be great for them to believe in Santa so that they do not spoil the secret for other children. They could all wonder about Santa together and enjoy talks about him, theorizing what he might really be like. Even as an adult, I like to sometimes go back to believing that their MUST be a Father Christmas out there!
The cons:
Looking at the whole myth in a completely unemotional and rational way, I would be creating a huge lie for my children to believe. The lie would be supported by family, friends, and the rest of our society, but it would be a big fat lie nonetheless. The prospect of having to lie to my children for a number of years, even if it is for their supposed enjoyment, just rubs me the wrong way.  The vivid childhood memories I mentioned above were all crushed when I discovered that there was no Santa. I was the last one in my school to believe that he existed and the other children made fun of me when I insisted that he was real. I was so disappointed- both in the fact that he did not exist and in discovering that my parents had deceived me for almost a decade.
I’m not sure what to do. If we don’t have a Santa, then we also won’t be able to have an Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy, etc. Is there any benefit to having the kids believe in these mystical beings? Will they be missing something if we don’t create this fantasy for them? I’m completely on the fence. I would hate for them to not have someone like Father Christmas to look up to and to look forward to. However, I also don’t want them to have to deal with the discovery of dishonest parents.
I wish Santa was here to answer the questions for me… What do you think? Are your kids going to be believers?


  1. My kids are totally going to be believers. I personally have no recollection of the moment I learned that Santa wasn't real so it obviously hasn't scarred me. I love this time of year and part of what I love is all the Santa stuff. I think they will be missing out if they don't have it.

  2. i have my kids as believers but we also have a bit of a twist on it too (as my parents did for me when i was younger.) I love everything about christmas and santa and the idea of a man giving to every child. Over the years we have had christmas in so many places since being military that I have just explained to Renee that Santa did exhist a long time ago (and in fact a version of saint nick did) and as everyone does he passed away but we remember him every year with santa helpers (AKA santas at the malls) and mommy's and daddy's help to! Over the years the story of Saint nick has grown way beyond who he was but the idea of time for giving should not be lost especially in a time that we are now that so many people have become selfish!

  3. My kids have all been believers! Just last year Emmalee asked me flat out if he was real and I told her the truth. She was only 9. I LOVE Santa!

  4. My kids have all believed in Santa. We have never said whether or not he was real. When they ask we talk about the idea of Santa. I see nothing wrong with them believing in him. But in the end I think it's up to every parent to decide what is best for their families.

  5. I've traveled the believer route. We're an atheist family, so instilling a belief in these things is really at odds with how we teach about god and religion. :) However, as my 7 y/o is starting to question, we've never insisted that anything is real. When she asks, I answer that Santa Claus is as real and she believes he is. I think she's catching on to 'the truth'. She's already pretty much debunked the tooth fairy because she knows other fairies are fictional.

    I think it's the families that really hammer home the existence of these things, that create real subterfuge and productions to make the kids believe that cause the most trauma when they realize these things really aren't true.

  6. YES my kids are going to be believers. They will not be irreparably harmed for believing for a few years. Anyone that ruins christmas for my kids is going to get a knuckle sandwich lol

  7. Santa DOES exist. He lives in all of our hearts. At least, those of us who believe. And when my son asks, that's what I'll tell him. :)

  8. I seem to be the differing voice here, so please, don't anyone jump on me; I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong...just stating what we are doing and why it's right for us.

    We aren't "doing Santa" with our kids. I didn't grow up believing in him and was perfectly happy. It didn't bother me that others believed in him; it just simply wasn't something our family did. Christmas was about Christ and Santa never entered into it for my sisters or me.

    My husband's family "did Santa" and he does remember finding out the truth and how it affected him and his trust. (Not saying that all kids do or will be affected but I wanted Vivien to know she wasn't alone in that). We thought and prayed about it and decided we didn't want to involve Santa in our holiday. We keep it about Jesus, family and helping others. Our 3-yr-old daughter likes it that way and I like keeping her tender heart focused on giving instead of receiving. She knows that other people pretend about Santa and she thinks it's fun to see him portrayed but she knows it's not real.

    We did have major discussions with some family members who thought it wasn't right to not teach our kids to believe in Santa, but we are confident in our decision to keep the focus where we believe it should be, and our family members are supporting us in that (albeit,some more willingly than others).

    Vivien, I know you two will make a good decision and handle it well, whichever way you decide. :-)