To Santa or Not To Santa?

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.  

I grew up, like 99 percent of my friends, believing in Santa. He was a magical part of life that made me think anything was possible.  Come on, if a bajillion year-old guy  who lives at the North Pole and flies in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer (nine if you count Rudolph) around the world to deliver presents made by his many tiny elves in one night without freezing his tookus off… anything is possible.

It was magical until I asked my mom if Santa was real. But it didn’t scar me… quite the opposite. 

Every year around this time, there’s debate on whether parents should tell their children about Santa and whether they risk losing the child’s trust for life. Personally, I don’t think this is an issue at all but that’s because of the way my parents handled the situation. One that I plan to repeat with our future children.

When I was seven, I asked my mom if Santa was real. She, in turn, asked me if I really wanted to know. I thought about it and told her no.

The next year, I asked my mom if Santa was real. Again, she asked me if I really wanted to know. I said yes. And this is where she forever changed my life…

My mom sat down with me and told me that the Santa Claus we all know isn’t real BUT he was based on a real person called Saint Nicholas. She went on to tell me that St. Nick was a real person who lived long ago and who really secretly gave people presents and made the lives of those around him better. She told me that we all have a little bit of St. Nick in us and that we must remember to do good to those around us.

She said Santa helps kids learn about how it good it makes people feel to receive things from others for no reason… and that we must strive to do the same thing as St. Nick and help those around us feel the same things as we felt when we opened gifts from Santa.

While Jesus is the reason for the Season… I think Santa Claus can be a part of it too without ruining it—as long as Santa is a tool to teach children about giving rather than greed. Heck, I still get a gift from “Santa” each year. It’s a great reminder to brighten the lives of those around me.


7 thoughts on “To Santa or Not To Santa?

  1. We got told the same story when the time was right. I believed in Santa and definitely don’t think it hurt me any growing up! I don’t mind my kids believing in Santa as long as it’s for the RIGHT reasons, like you said … the kindness of doing things for others, and not for the greed.

    And, as almost 31, I still get gifts from “Santa” too 🙂

  2. it’s been different for each kid so far……with C i wasn’t going to introduce the fat man to him but i got vetoed by hubby. C, being the smart little booger he is, figured out at 6 (almost 7) there wasn’t a magical little elf who brought presents. he WAS frustrated and a little hurt that we had lied to him about this. then we did a research paper on the truth behind the myth which has evolved into him researching about the holiday season as a whole.

    the girl is 8 and is still a BIG believer in the fat man and i don’t see it stopping anytime soon. we are a very open and honest family so i hope she doesn’t get upset with us like C did but only time will tell 🙂

    if i were a single parent i would choose no fat man but that’s just me.

  3. We skipped Santa, although we don’t make a big deal out of telling them he’s not real. We just let them enjoy the story, kind of like we enjoy Mickey Mouse (and never have I felt the need to go on and on about how Mickey isn’t real). So, when our seven year old hears the story at school, he (so far) hasn’t been inclined to tell his friends Santa isn’t real because he doesn’t think of it like that. Our goal, after all, was never to rain on anyone else’s parade. For us, we skipped it because neither of us have any warm, fuzzy, magical feelings about believing in Santa. It was part of our childhood, and that was pretty much it. I didn’t feel like going to elaborate lengths to convince my kids something was real that wasn’t – I saw my friends do it and it seemed so painful. But, then again, I didn’t think it was hugely fun as a kid, anyway…

    I think the best benefit of not doing Santa is we’ve skipped the whole sit-on-a-stranger’s lap episode. While our oldest has done it once or twice, our youngest is terrified of people in costumes (this includes Disney, incidentally – we totally skipped all characters at Disney World after the first couple because of his reaction and our oldest’s desire to do rides not shake costumed grown-ups’ hands). So, no screaming pics.

    This year, I think we’ll put something in their stockings to surprise them (my mother did make stockings for them, although this is the first year we hung them up, really just as decoration). They know stuff comes from us and their relatives, though, and that’s really okay with me.

    P.S. Because I couldn’t make this comment long enough! I read a horrible story not that long ago on a news site that quoted a mother who said she couldn’t afford the video games her kids wanted in time for Christmas. Her solution? Leave a note that said Santa didn’t have time to visit them that year and their mom would take them to the store later. Ouch. For a kid that believes in Santa, that’s a horrible way to wake up in the morning. Wouldn’t it have been far better to just explain the myth and let them know they aren’t being forgotten?

  4. We did the Santa thing when they were way little but as they grew up we wanted our kids to have realistic expectations. My kids know the story of St. Nick and they have fun “believing” in Santa but they also know who to credit for what is under their tree every year.

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