Monday, December 10, 2012

I Hate Lying to My Kids About Santa

I really hate to even write about this, because I know this might make me sound like a nut job, but I sort of hate the fact that Santa exists.  I remember as a kid, the moment I found out that Santa wasn't real.  I truly felt betrayed and I suddenly began wondering what else my parents were lying to me.  I got over it of course, and I do love the Christmas season and I never had to get therapy or anything (haha), but I still wonder why our society feels the need to tell lies to our kids from the day they're born?

Think about it.  Here are the problems I have with Santa:
  • It's a total, 100% lie.  We tell our kids to always tell us the truth, but we create these extravagant lies about this mythical creature that brings them toys.  Why is that okay, just because we're the adults?
  • We tell them they only get toys if they're good.  They're on their best behavior throughout December, but what happens on January 1st?  They suddenly don't have to behave because there is no elf watching over them?  That's crazy, I want them to behave all year, not just at Christmas.
  • Santa gets all the credit.  I do all the work, the shopping, the wrapping, etc., and they don't feel like they have to really thank me, because they think Santa did everything for them, which also means they don't have to really be grateful, because they think everything is magical.
  • Santa didn't even exist until about 100 years ago, when he was created by a department store.  People survived without Santa for hundreds of thousands of years and still managed to celebrate Christmas in a festive way.
This year I secretly decided that I would try not to really talk about Santa because I thought that if I don't really mention it and make a big deal out of it, maybe they won't feel so upset when they learn the truth.  I tried to just focus on Christmas itself, Christmas lights, baby Jesus, and getting presents for each other.  The problem I found is that Santa is everywhere.  He is at the grocery store, the department stores, he's on TV constantly, and everyone is asking them if they have an elf, if they've been good, and if they're on the Good List or the Naughty List.

I will say that I've had a great time this Christmas, and I've really enjoyed thinking creatively about Christmas, but my experiment clearly failed.  My husband thinks I'm crazy so I've decided to just everything happen without controlling it, but I'd love to know your thoughts.  Do you feel bad lying about Santa, or am I totally crazy?!?

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  1. I still believe in Santa.
    To me Santa is the magic of Christmas, it is the excitement, the lights, the anticipation, giving and getting presents, all of it. He exists to me because the magic still happens, that feeling of excitement about Christmas, that's what he is! I haven't told my kids specifically about the North Pole, they might pick stuff up but that doesn't bother me. Presents here aren't conditional on behaviour, they are given because we love giving them and we love our family and friends. He doesn't have to literally park on your roof with a sleigh to be real. xxxxxxx

  2. Santa is magic so is the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny or what ever is your family's tradition is. I think there's no harm in it. I don't remember being sad og betrayed when I realized it was just part of life like so many other things. I love my children believe, most children in the princess' class don't but she doesn't care. We told her he only exists if you believe in him. By the way you're not at all the only one saying this and to be honest I'm suprised there's an issue at all, I read a few blogs now about this. Parents lie to their children all the time about far more serious things so what's the big deal?? I don't mind if people believe or not it's up to them like it is up to them whether they believe in God, Chelsea winning the Champions league, the Tooth fairy, the Easter bunny you name it. I respect all the different opinions:) Good blogpost though:)

  3. Yes, it bothers me a little bit this year. My dad hired a co-worker for our family party this year. He was a great Santa Claus. The entire time the kids were having a blast, but I felt bad. I felt that they shouldn't be asking for a dump truck or surprises. I felt that Santa should be for the children who really need it. But it's not really about me. I can set the tone for Christmas for my children, so it's not a "me, me, me" holiday. I believed in Santa until I was an adult, basically. I wish that there was a magical Santa so I don't need to get the gifts, wrap them and put them under the tree. ;) But looking back I know how much my parents cared about me and my siblings to spoil us so much at Christmas and in our childhood in general.

    One thing about Santa Claus... The American Santa Claus is probably just 100 years old (Coca Cola adopted the red color suit and it stuck.) But I would love to teach my children about St. Nick-- the saint who is giving and made toys for the poorest children. My husband is from Germany, so over there St. Nick comes on St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) and the Christ Child comes on Christmas Eve (they open gifts on Christmas Eve as well.) It's a beautiful time to learn about cultures of Father Christmas in all Christian nations.

  4. We don't do Santa. If the kids ask questions, we just say, "What do you think?" and leave it at that. We DO hide their gifts until Christmas morning, but that's a lot more about not fixating on get get get and potential mischief after all that hard work. We do cover a lot about Jesus in relation to the holiday--repeatedly. We don't HAVE to cover Santa--every cashier, sacker, random stranger, etc. covers it!

  5. I think that the idea of children growing up without Santa because of parents with your reasoning is absurd. And FYI Santa Clause aka Saint Nicholoas is approx 1900yrs old.... Now I do feel that the modern Santa of the last 10 years has gotten commercialized but that doesn't mean that you have to fall into the trap of spending more than you normally would on your child's Christmas. Also, why are you concerned with getting credit for your kids' Xmas? Have you even done any research on the original Saint Nick? He became legend thru SECRET gift giving..... That's part of the mystery. Santa Claus isn't about a fat man in a red coat..... It's about an idea and belief of the gift of giving, goodwill towards our fellow man, etc.

  6. We don't do Santa here. Our daughter's are 2 and 6 months and it's not been a problem yet. Miss Daisy (2) thinks Santa is just like any other character she sees in movies like Shrek, Cars etc. She enjoys seeing him in relation to Christmas things but we've not told her 'who he is' or that he is going to come or bring her gifts etc. This is working fine for us. We'll stick with the nativity story and Jesus coming to earth as our focus for Christmas.
    I understand your dillemma about lieing etc. I don't feel comfortable with it either. We also don't do Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. My parents never did with my siblings and I and it was fine.

  7. We don't do Santa here. That is one thing I brought into our marriage, our family really didn't celebrate him.For my kids they will know about him,and why people,TV,etc talk a lot about him during Christmas. But we will teach them who the real Nicolas was.
    Like you I want my children to understand that the gifts they receive are from family because they love them.

  8. I've been thinking about this a lot, too. As a kid, I'm not really sure if I ever "believed" one way or the other about Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc., because I don't remember any devastating moment in which I discovered the truth. I think I have the same feeling as the poster above who said her kids see Santa as a fictional character like any other you see on TV or in a book. My kids haven't asked straight out, (it would be my 5-yo if anyone), but I think I would just go the "what do you think?" route or just tell the truth in a nonchalant way (I'm all about the nonchalant explanation!).

  9. My husband's parents didn't do Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy etc, and I think he became a well-adjusted adult. ;) Mine were way too into it, and went to great lengths to get us to believe, and I was upset as you were when I found out. It seems too confusing to mess with to me. If you value faith in Jesus as something for your children, it seems counter-productive to lie to them about all these characters and then, one day, tell them that none of those people they can't see are real, but they still need to have faith in Jesus even though they can't see him either. You know what I mean? I also tend to be pretty black and white on issues, so that probably adds to our decision not to do santa. Some of our friends do it with their kids, but it hasn't been a major issue yet. And santa stuff is everywhere, and my 3 year old can recognize santa, but to my girls santa is just like Dora or Mickey Mouse, just a character. We don't make a huge deal about not doing it, I think that could be just as confusing. People are always going to attack someone not following a tradition, so I think it's really cool that you posted this!

  10. Honestly, I hadn't really thought about it that way. I always just saw it as a part of childhood, a tradition, and never thought to look at it any other way. In fact, my son sees the exact same Santa as his father and uncles did decades ago when they were kids (yes the very same guy)and the pictures we get are very close to the ones of me as a child.

    I'm just wondering, now that I've began thinking about it, has anyone not given their child a present from Santa because he/she had been bad?

    1. The sad thing is, some parents are using that excuse because they don't have the money for Christmas presents for their children. My niece learned about a woman who was working part-time where she works. Her nine-year-old daughter just wanted a tree. She had not had a tree in five years. We got busy and got her that Christmas tree and lights and ornaments to go on it. Then we all started getting gifts for the little girl and the brother who would be visiting Christmas, as his dad has custody of him. Then, I thought well, what about mom? So, I gathered up some beautiful jewelry I had won and made her a lavender sachet for her lingerie drawer and a few other gifts, bracelets and earrings so she would have something to open too. I think this family will have a good Christmas, but I'm already worried about next year. Hopefully, she will have a full-time job by then and she will have her Christmas tree for sure.

  11. I like Pricklymom's reply. If/when her kids ask she'll tell them. I don't recall when or how I found out and I sure don't recall my parents going to huge lengths to protect me from the truth like some of my friends are their children. Some of them are even careful that the wrapping paper Santa uses is never seen at any other time. Heck, if it was that important I'd just leave paper and tape out with the milk and cookies so I wouldn't have to hide the wrapping paper. BLAH!

    Personally, I think some parents are so scared of when their kids grow past that phase and stop believing that they try all sorts of things to keep them believing as long as possible. Supposedly "to keep that innocence of youth"--as though it's for the child's benefit. When, IMO, it's really all about the parents not wanting their kids to grow up so fast.

  12. This one is hard one...but I am one that would like kids to be kids and part of being a kid is the magic of SC/EB/TF....Our kids are growing up fast enough as it is why take this little bit of young innocent fun away from them?. My parents never went to huge lengths to lie about Santa I was told he came once a year and he brought presents and then I just grew out of it. Being Italian we also celebrated more of my heritage Christmas which like St.Nick (Germany) was called the Befana and she was like the the female SC(just older)and was celebrated on January 6th in Italy.

    1. Our Greek Orthodox Christmas is also January 6th. We celebrated both, but the Greek celebration centered more around the church and no so much the gift-giving, so we had two Christmases.

  13. By the time I found out there was no Santa, I was old enough to accept it and it didn't take away the few years that were so magical for me and my siblings. My sister and I shared a full-sized bed and we actually thought one Christmas Eve that we heard Santa's sleigh bells! I will never forget the excitement we felt, even though there weren't many presents under the tree. We enjoyed the tree as much as we did our gifts. I really think most children don't understand the concept of Santa until they are about 3 and by the time they start school, most of them find out there isn't a Santa, but they don't tell their parents because that would be accepting that there really wasn't a Santa. I was already having my doubts when I found out anyway, so it wasn't a total shock. Our presents weren't wrapped usually, but they did have tags tied to them since there were four of us. The girls usually got one doll and maybe one or two other small things and my brother got some kind of car or big dump truck and some small things. There were 4 of us and not a lot of money, but we still had fun.

  14. I let my kids believe in Santa, but our Santa only brings small gifts. The big gifts are from Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa. We always talk about what Christmas is really about, and we focus on making gifts, rather than shopping.

    It's a little easier for us, since we don't watch commercial television, and we homeschool. So they're not constantly bombarded with Santa. :) But we let them believe for as long as they're willing to. Same with the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny. I'm actually glad for the Tooth Fairy, because my 8 year old writes her letters, asking things she wouldn't ask me (like which friend she should choose to take to an event - things like that).