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21 November 2006



Just talked about that here:


No Santa here. I won't teach my children to believe in fairy tales. That includes god and santa claus both. How can I teach them to think critically and at the same time teach them to believe in a guy who visits every house in the world in one night? I want my children to be the ones calculating the time it would actually take to visit each house and concluding, "that's not possible!"


baggage said it the same way that I would have. We have so few years where we can belive in magic (the Disneyland years...when it really IS the most magical place on earth). We have a whole lifetime to be cynical and disappointed in human kind. I don't think of it as lying to my children, I think of it as taking the time to teach them to be generous in spirit and enjoy the tradition of the season. If they ask me, I would explain it the same way baggage's mom did (and my mom did too).

I think it is sweet.


Hey, I'm almost fifty and my mom has still not come clean about Santa. We always believe in Santa. "Santa" is the one who gives us the stuff we know our practical parents wouldn't. "Santa" is the one who indulges our fantasies. Even when I was college age, I'd get some gifts from Mom and Dad and other stuff (stuffed animals, decadent things) from Santa. Santa lives on in our house. We never talked about Santa "not existing," we just gently moved from one side of the river to the other. (from believing in Santa, to BEING Santa)


I am with Bek and Susan on this one. I think the Santa mythos can be a great teaching tool about giving. I think it is up to the parent to make it more than a silly story if that is what they want. With so many horrible things going on in the world, why not add a little wonder to our children's lives. I also selfishly can not wait to play Santa. I would hate to miss out on this experience as a parent, staying up late, eating perfect bites out of specially made cookies. I admit I want that experience, for my child and for myself.


my gut reaction is that I'm not going to be able to do it, tell my son that something exists when I know it does not. but the comments about using the mythos as a teaching experience, well, that I must ponder.


I wrote about it here too - Two things I really hate about the way Santa is used: 1. commercials on TV, etc. that teach children and adults to be greedy and desperate to shop for more more more; and 2. the way some adults threaten children with the loss of presents from Santa to get them to behave better. Children should learn to behave well because it is a good way to live and benefits them directly in a pleasant life right now. Gifts should be given because of love and generosity. If Santa was always used to send those messages it would be different.

My parents always told us Santa was a story about the spirit of giving and love, based on the life of a real man. St Nicholas was a bishop in Turkey in the first century, known for giving money to the poor and caring for children. That's the real Santa and that's what I want my children to know. The guys in red suits are to help us to remember to share our love. Problem is, that just doesn't mesh with what they see on TV and what their teachers and other adults are sometimes saying... It's like there are two Christmases. The happy, joyful, generous celebration of love and the harried, chaotic, greedy, consumption-driven insanity dive into debt. It's crazy.


Sorry I was wrong about St. Nicholas. Read about him here:


I agree with Bek and Susan too. I don't see it so much as mythology. I see it as 'magic'. A friend of mine recently said that when she thinks about what she wants her kid's life to look like she tries to think about how her daughter's memoirs will read. Like, what are the magical things she'll remember and make note of? For me, the holiday season was a time of church choir and charity - singing at nursing homes and serving meals at the shelter. Santa was a bonus. And not something my parents held over my head. On christmas morning, very early, my father would stand in the stairwell of my home and ring sleighbells and call out -- ho ho ho MERRY CHRISTMAS! We were convinced it was Santa. We would tiptoe out of our beds, in the dark, and make our way to this colorful tree, all lit up in the family room. We'd go quietly, in case Santa was still there. Sometimes I'd stay up all night- giddy with anticipation. When a nun at my school clued me into the truth about Santa, I was devastated. But my mother sat me down and talked to me about the magic in life and how we make magic and memories for each other. And that extended to the volunteering I was doing and the singing -- it was involvement and compassion and responsibility AND Santa was still a bonus. The whole experience, and what I learned from it was profound for me. In fact, I would say that it was my first experience with personal responsibility and my first sense of any awareness of those folks that need a hand now and again. As a result I have always been a 'volunteer'. Not just during the holiday season. But year round. But I do increase my commitments around the holidays, mostly because I have extra time (or usually I do). So I am all for Santa. It's my job to raise a compassionate, sensitive, aware human. Santa is a little bonus.


I agree that our children have so few years to believe in the magic.

I have 3 girls (15, 10 and 5 yo) and they ALL still believe and when they ask me if I believe, the answer is yes, I believe in the magic.

In our house, though, Santa doesn't give the most rocking gifts - those come from me. If I give a baby doll, Santa might give an outfit to go with the doll. If I give a Gameboy, Santa might give the carrying case for it.

When I was a child, every year on Christmas Eve our phone would ring and it was Santa calling. My brother and I would both talk to him. I NEVER knew who it was calling until I was an adult and at my great-uncle's funeral, my great-aunt commented how much joy Uncle Paul got from calling all the kids Christmas Eve. That is one of the dearest and most magical memories I have of Christmas.

One of the things I do, is Santa has his own gift wrap. No one else is allowed to use this paper to wrap their presents. I remember as a kid asking my mom how come Santa had the same paper as presents from her and Dad. She replied that she had let him borrow some. So, we have Santa paper.

Last year my now 10yo asked if Santa was real. I asked her what she throught and she said no. I told her that I still believed in the magic of Christmas and if she didn't, that's okay, but not to spoil it for her younger sister and cousin. Just a few weeks ago I heard her talking to my 5yo about Santa and that they needed to mix up some reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn Christmas Eve when we get home from church.


Santa be up in this house!

For the record, I believed until 5th grade. And I can still think critically. kthx. ;)

Erin O'

Don't have kids yet, but agree with baggage's posts, about magic and the spirit of Santa. I don't remember when I stopped believing -- I think I knew, but loved the element of surprise and yes, magic, that the eve and morning held for us.



I don't have kids. And, I'm jewish. So we grew up knowing Santa was not real. When I was little, we lived in New England, and not in a jewish area. Santa-believers all around us. Our parents taught my brother and I that other kids thought Santa was real. And although we knew the truth that he wasn't, and that all the presents really came from parents and other family members, it was not our place to school these kids on the truth, so we were NOT to tell them. We moved to a jewish area in NY when my brother was 5 and I was 3, and we had never told any kid the truth about Santa. I think if I had kids I'd do the same thing. Tell them the truth, but tell them it's not their place to tell other kids.


I agree with the other commenters who wrote about adding some magic to their kids' childhoods. I want to do that for Sam.

Also, I have ideas about myth and truth (granted these come from an Episcopalian background). I think Elie Wiesel said that fact--or actually happening or not happening--doesn't necessarily equal Truth, if you think of truth as being what's good and right. So maybe Santa the guy who lives with elves in the North Pole doesn't really exist....but the spirit of goodness and giving (at least I want to believe) is true.

But I won't ever use coal and onions as a threat and I also think things have gotten a little commercialized.

wordily, and perhaps immaturely yours,


Santa is real in our house, too. There is a really great blog going into it's second year - The Claus Chronicles ( Santa tells us all about the preparations for Christmas but also reminds us of what the season - no matter what your beliefs - is supposed to remind you of.

Magic and fun are part of it, and so is the importance of giving to others. That and the amazing idea that a person who doesn't know you would be willing to give something to you expecting nothing in return.


Our kids believed in Santa when they were little. It was great fun watching them process the possibilities, and I had fun, too, helping create the myth. Yes, it was magical. Although anyone in a Santa suit scared the bejeebers out of our daughter, who wasn't too fond of the Easter Bunny, either.

I wouldn't have taken that magic away for nothing.


Well I still believe in Santa and I am in my mid-40s. Santa (or belief in a higher power regardless of what he or she is called) has nothng to do with critical thinking and everything to do with the magic of giving and doing what we can to make this a peaceful, more joyous place to be.

We don't splash out at Christmas but we do celebrate. I also make a point of acknowledging the Christian roots of Christmas. I have to say the earlier commenter who didn't teach about either has my respect because at least you are up front. I can't stand people going along with Santa and not dealing with the origins. Of course I am also one of theose people who pitches a fit with the "holiday" trees and the "holiday" cards. I don't agree with sanitizing Christian (and I don't mean the conservative meaning of Christian) traditions. I also think every child should learn about the significant celebrations of various cultures: Christmas, Hannukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Eid etc. In my community, I am glad that Christians (Catholics and Protestants), Jews and Muslims share their beliefs and acknowledge each others' traditions.

It is by seeing our similarities that we can begin to respect and celebrate our differences.



We don't do Santa, or the Easter Bunny. I want them to know the difference between fiction, non-fiction and religous belief. So, religous holidays are celibrated from that point of view and santa is a nice fairy tale we tell, but know he isn't real.

I agree with the poster who hated the way Santa has been used to sell, sell, sell, and this is another reason I do not incourage all out belief in him.


Well, you have inspired me to write on the topic:

That said, being the cynical old (well youngish) cow that I am, I have to say:

Beth Number One- your 15 year old most certainly does not still believe in Santa. She just doesn't want to tell you, for fear that you will be horribly disappointed.

(Aren't I the killjoy? Merry Christmas!)


We don't do Santa. Hazel knows that Santa is a character associated with Christmas, and that other kids "believe" in him, and this year we'll really try to help her not "out" the myth to other kids her age.

But honestly? We're lazy, and it's *way* too much work to try to get Haze (already a critical thinker at age 4) to believe in something that does not exist. Plus, it just feels kinda wrong.

We talk a lot about how the "winter holidays" are a time to celebrate the change in season, be thankful our family and friends, and help people who are less fortunate than we are.


I have thought a lot about creating a magical world for my daughters versus
telling them things which are not true to create a magical feeling for myself. In the end I couldn't bring myself to lie and we still enjoy our family time together on all festive holidays. I grew up celebrating Christmas with home-made gifts, no advertising and no hard sell and find the frantic, forced pace of full-on Christmas shopping frenzy just sad, especially as so many people simply can't afford it and get into debt. Anyway, with the current paranoia about dangerous strangers why would we give carte blanche access to our kids to anonymous large guys in red suits?


Well, the way I see it, Santa did exist. He did good deeds. So I am not lying when I tell that to my children.

I do however say that Santa told Mommy to bring the presents. I see nothing wrong in that. We live in a flat:)

A question for Moms who refuse to let their children believe in fairytails: When your child asks where does a baby come from, will you tell them the truth?? As the truth that you are so ready to tell about Santa?

Santa's not real????!!!??


I don't have kids yet but I don't see anything wrong with Santa. I believed until I was 10 years old! But I was a pretty imaginative kid. I think not carrying on the Santa tradition definitely takes some of the fun out of Christmas.

Also, telling your kids a story about Santa is kind of like teaching them how to be a storyteller. These sort of modern myths are the stories of our culture, kind of like the Iliad in ancient times, or the stories about the Greek gods and goddesses. As someone who believed in Santa until I was WAYYY too old, I grew up to be a fiction writer. Not sure if that is related at all, but I still love to hear and tell stories, even if they are slightly or hugely embellished.


The idea of Santa embodies all that we wish to see in the world; generosity, compassion, peace, love, kindness....
My younger children believe in a literal Santa and my older children and I believe strongly in the spirit that Santa brings to the world. How can this concept be wrong? One need only look into a believing child's eyes when Santa is mentioned to decide how it could possibly be a bad thing.
Cynicism for children? Blach. That's what's wrong with the world. There is far too much of it. It's like a disease.

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