• Tue, Dec 11 2012

I’m Telling My 3-Year-Old The Truth About Santa And My Family Hates Me For It

My family hates me because I refuse to lie to my kids about Santa Claus

Last year my children were too little to understand much at Christmas time. They were excited to open some presents under the tree at grandma’s house, but there was no discussion of who brought them or why they were there. Even at nine months and two-and-a-half-years-old they were smart enough to not look a gift horse in the mouth.

This year, my son is old enough to start asking questions and I am prepared to answer them. With the truth.

“Honey, Santa Claus isn’t real,” I expect to tell my 3-year-old very simply. I shared this plan with family members over the Thanksgiving holiday. There was nothing short of hatred returned my way.

“Why would you rob a little kid of that joy?” they demanded.

“Why would I lie to him?” I shot back.

Without me saying anything on the topic, he is already catching on to the inconsistencies. “Mommy, uh, why does Santa need to bring us toys when they are already in Target?” he asked this weekend.

After that he will ask how it is possible to deliver all those toys in one night, where reindeer learn to fly, and why the Santa posing for pictures in the mall is drunk. Just thinking about all the questions I won’t be able to answer makes me uneasy.

I am, however, aware that some of these untruths could benefit me.  Having him write a letter to Santa telling him everything he wants means I don’t have to guess what is most important to him.  Santa also gives me a built in scapegoat when he doesn’t get every single item on his list.

“Santa only picked a few of your favorite things,” I’d say with a “hey-don’t-blame-me” face. I would also get to eat an entire plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies without being expected to share. Such a rare moment in a mother’s life could be worth all the Santa charades.

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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  • msenesac

    I can totally see where you are coming from. My first is only 11 months old and when he gets to start asking about Santa, I may tell him the truth as well. My only concern is him ruining it for other children at school- I clearly remember that happening to me.

  • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

    Yayayayaya Carinn! I can totally see your POV on this, but we still ride the santa train here :( I am just so happy to read you!

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      I heart you and your Santa loving ways!!

  • ellen

    You are so brave for sharing this! My partner and I have also told the truth about Santa (just by answering questions honestly) and both side of the family were annoyed. We really don’t want our little girl to ever feel lied to. It’s more about the tone we want to set for our family. How can I expect complete honesty from our child (wouldn’t she be in trouble for lying?) if we lie to her?

  • jsterling93

    I was one of those kids who was “lied to” about Santa. And I don’t remember ever feeling disappointed when I didn’t get everything I asked for because I knew that was greedy. I also never was disappointed when I found out Santa wasn’t real because I understood why people made up the Santa story. My parents explained it to me very well. I loved the Santa game and I will continue it with my own children. I agree with you that each family has to make the decision about what is important to them but I feel that parts of this come off as you somehow think you are better than other parents by not playing the game.

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      My tone is not intended to be superior, honestly. However I am baffled by the idea. It’s a tradition I never questioned until I had children who started asking questions. The extent of these “lies” or “untruths” is bizarre to me. In no other context would taking something that wasn’t true to such lengths be acceptable. I know some parents appreciate the game/sport feeling of it and I respect that. It’s just not something that I am comfortable with.

    • jsterling93

      I can understand not feeling comfortable. What I took exception to was what appeared to be judgement that somehow those who do enjoy it are being foolish or greedy or somehow damaging their children. For many of us it is a treasured tradition. In my family once we figured out the “truth” we never mentioned it. My parents loved sneaking into our front room and setting up the displays of our gifts. They were never wrapped but displayed. My dad got such a kick out of it that we played along until we all moved out just to see that smile. I mean “Santa” brought me a microwave when I was 22.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687125829 Eve Moran

      I completely agree. My parents didn’t go crazy, Santa was just another holiday accessory. They remember my sister and I having a theological discussion in the backseat, agreeing that Santa wasn’t real, but we weren’t sure about the Easter bunny. I also think its interesting that the author seems to be basing this decision on “what she’s comfortable with” rather than, “what would my kids enjoy?” Part of the fun of Santa is having a community fantasy with other children, and I don’t want my children to miss out on that.

    • Enlightened

      I totally disagree. She doesn’t want to lie to her children. She seems to value the honesty between them. The intricate web of lies gives more pleasure to the parents than to the children, as your piece displays perfectly.

    • stressed

      I could not agree more. It’s total bull the social pressures that are put on parents to tell their there kids that santa is a real person. My daughter is 2 and I have been avoiding talking about santa with her. I hate the thought of years of lying and have to make it bigger and bigger. When a child asks if santa is real, that means they have the cognitive ability to realize that what it being told to them is bull. So when a parent then turns around and says, “oh no, Santa IS real” and goes on to explain why, they are just making the child doubt themselves. I am really stressed about this. I haven’t told any relatives about it yet for the same reasons this blogger gave.

    • Enlightened

      Oh, there it is, the tyranny of the majority. She IS better than the rest of you who create perfect little consumers to keep corporations’ coffers brimming.

  • amnanda

    Just be sure to tell him not spoil it for others. You are free to tell your kid what you want, but the reality is MOST other parents go along with the Santa bit.

    • Kate

      Works both ways, I was a kid who didn’t have “santa” as a real person, and my mother drilled it into me to keep my mouth shut about it.

      Every year, without fail

      “I put our cookies for Santa, what do you do Kate?”

      “Nothing”
      “WHY?”
      “We don’t have Santa”

      “OH YOU’RE ON THE NAUGHTY LIST YOU ARE BAD/EVIL/SANTA HATES YOU, YOU’RE A LOSER, YOU SUCK,”

      and so on.

      Parents who tell their kids there is a Santa, should also be explaining to their children that it is their belief, but not everyone else’s.

      You can’t only have it one way.

    • Reasdf

      ^This

  • Kat

    This is the conversation I see happening:
    4 year old: I love Santa! He brings me cool toys!
    YOUR 4 year old: Mommy says Santa there is no Santa.
    Tell your kid what you want. But be aware whether or not he says it in a “know it all way” or in conversation your kid is going to be the kid who breaks it to others. I’m not trying to knock your choice you gotta do what’s best for your family, but kids are kids and he’s gonna get pissed off at some smart mouthed kid or just be chatting with a friend and he’s going to say something. And that kids parent is probably going to be pissed at you. No matter how you explain that other families celebrate differently it’s going to slip. But it is YOUR family and you have to do what’s best for you. Good Luck.

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      You know, I have struggled with this reality and I think you said it well here. But what about Jewish families? He has friends that don’t celebrate Christmas at all and is curious about that. Just like with Santa I believe I can explain that every family believes in different things and celebrates in different ways.

    • Justme

      If I’m reading your response correctly, are you telling her that she should teach her child about Santa so that her son doesn’t ruin the secret for other people’s children? Is that really what you’re saying? Change your (very small in the grand scheme of things) parenting decision because it might upset other children and parents?

    • brandy

      Yes. You can teach your child what you like in your own home. However, you as a parent have the responsibility to also enforce your child’s approach to other children and families who do believe. It’s called respect. Is that not the ultimate lesson to be learned?

  • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

    On one hand I was never told the Santa bit and I was just fine (and I didn’t go around ruining it for other kids) but this whole article reeks of self importance. No one is going to HATE you for this. Hate is a strong word. They might get annoyed by it but I doubt any one will care that much at all.

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      Wow, really? This is something a lot of people, my family included, take very seriously. Especially since my son is the oldest of 3 grandchildren. I have known families to never speak to each other again over things far less significant than holiday traditions.

    • meteor_echo

      People can and will irrationally hate another people for living their life differently, and yes, some are petty enough to hate another person for something as small as not going with the whole Santa thing. I know that some of my relatives won’t talk to me for having piercings and tattoos, so there’s that.

  • denise

    Good
    for you. Why should we let society dictate what we feel is appropriate
    to tell our kids and when. I don’t understand the need for adults to
    sanction encouraging our kids to believe in old strange men coming into
    our homes, watching us when we sleep, or placing them on strangers laps
    for a photo op.

  • denise

    Guess what, your kids will be ‘ruined’ at school before you know it. They will find out about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and even SEX before you are ready, or willing, to let them find out from you. The better choice would be to have the conversation early and relinquish the idea that you have any control over what your children hear in the world outside of your home.

    • FaintlyXMacabre

      yeah, I feel kind of awful about that because I gave my kid an age appropriate sex talk about mechanics and what appropriate touching is, and then she went and told all of the other kindergartners about the difference between boys and girls. SUCH an awesome phone call to get.

  • alice

    for what it’s worth, i was raised being told that santa claus was the spirit of christmas. i don’t remember asking any questions or trying to hammer out specifics with my mom over my bowl of frosted flakes, but i do remember that generally:

    santa was the embodiment of the christmas spirit
    there was a saint nicholas a long time ago, from which the legend of santa claus grew
    the spirit of christmas existed. it was in the joy and excitement of the season, the feeling of giving and of gratitude, the generally feeling of goodwill. the images of santa was just our way of representing the christmas spirit.

    and to be honest? i still feel the same way. i never had to go through any weird “it was all a lie” experience.

    of course, this wouldn’t work for you if you’re not into unseen spirits or energies or stuff like that :)

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      I LOVE this idea!!! I think it is absolutely brilliant.

    • C.J,

      That is what I was told as a child when I was old enough to start questioning Santa. I never really thought of Santa as a lie because it was about the spirit of Santa. It is also what I told my older daughter when she asked if Santa was real when she was 8. My little one still believes but at 7 I’m sure it won’t be much longer. I love the magic of Santa, it isn’t just about an old guy coming down the chimney. I recieved “Santa” gifts until I moved out of my parents house, it was fun.

    • alice

      haha my parents still give “santa” gives to us. i love it.

    • C.J.

      That’s awesome!

    • TaargusTaargus

      Santa was kind of the same thing for me as a child, too. I mean, when I was a little kid and I really loved the Santa game, I thought it was more literal. But when I got a little older, that belief transitioned into the “spirit of christmas” thing.

    • Diana

      Thats what I was told too. I never felt betrayed by the Santa bit. I think some people take themselves a little to seriously ( even as kids)

    • stressed

      You didn’t go through a “it was a lie” trauma because your parents didn’t have people walk on the roof to pretend reindeer were on it, and threaten you to behave or Santa wouldn’t bring you any gifts…and don’t get me started with that freakin Elf on the Shelf crap. I think the point of this is to say that some parents go so overboard with trying to perpetuate the lie, that feels wrong. I actually like what your parents told you, kind of a middle of the road explanation.

  • RSDL

    I grew up with Santa, but my husband and his 3 siblings did not. It was for religious purposes on my in-laws end – they were a bit uber conservative, Santa spells Satan, ya know! Anyway, now that we have a child, we are doing Santa. My husband understands I think its a fun tradition and we’re rolling with it for now. But as a sidenote, I’ve asked my hubs a million questions about growing up without Santa. He wasn’t phased. He understood others did believe in him and he understand he wasn’t suppose to be a brat and spoil it for other kids. But I think he had a healthy dose of knowing about the Santa tradition, but understanding his immediate family didn’t celebrate Christmas that way. For instance, his grandma took him to see Santa every year, we have dozens of pictures of him sitting on Santa’s lap. I think if you go the no Santa route, its still important to teach about him like you plan on doing which will help in not ‘ruining’ it for other kids and families. Overall, do whats best for you family!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shelly-Lloyd/826469442 Shelly Lloyd

    I grew up in a religious home where we were not allowed to believe in Santa, not that we viewed him as evil, just that he wasn’t real, so we were not allowed to believe in him or any other fairy tale. I always felt a bit disappointed in that as a child. It sort of tarnished the holidays for me. I allowed my kids to believe in Santa and told my mom (my father had passed away by the time they were walking) that if she told them about Santa I would never let her see them ever.

    They figured out Santa on their own. They were about 7 and 9 when they asked if Santa was real or not. Even now that they are 14 and 16 we still have Santa traditions like “Santa” stuffs their stockings and brings them one or two presents wrapped in different paper. We leave out milk and cookies for Santa, and Santa has to eat the cookies and drink the milk–though now we have agreed that Santa can have a Diet coke some years. Santa also leaves a lovely Thank you note on gorgeous Christmas stationary thanking the kids for the cookies. If we don’t do these traditions the kids are diapointed, even though they know it’s mom who is doing them.

    • Ellie

      THIS. We must be sisters.

  • Justme

    A friend of mine had an interesting perspective on the whole Santa idea….she does just stockings from Santa but doesn’t make a big deal out of him otherwise. When the kids start asking perceptive questions about him, she just responds with “there is a secret about Santa and that’s part of it.” And then just keeps encouraging them to think the whole process through….does it really make sense that a pack of reindeer can travel that fast? It’s not “telling” her children the truth but instead letting them come to the conclusion on their own using critical thinking and common sense. I think it’s pretty brilliant.

    • Dlee

      My partner and I are currently trying to decide how we’ll handle Santa in a few years. A part of me wants to do it because it seems like fun for us as parents to set up (I used to love helping my mother fix it for my foster brother when I was old enough to know and he still believed) and because it’ll be fun for him. Mainly, I just don’t want him ruining it for the other children. My partner on the other hand doesn’t want to lie to our son. “We can still do Santa, he’ll just know it’s really us.” I couldn’t work out how we could really do that until now. Thank you, critical thinking is definitely encouraged in this house and that seems like a beautiful option to consider.

  • Cassy

    My husband and I are planning on telling my daughter the story of St. Nicholas, and explaining that is where the tale of Santa Claus comes from. Our main reason is that we do not want to add to the selfish and greedy atmosphere of Christmas. We do not feel the need to apologize for that. Our daughter, our rules.

  • Tinyfaeri

    There seems to be at least one of these articles in every collection of blogs every year. I don’t think having your children know that Santa is not a physical creature is a bad thing, and to each his or her own when it comes to raising children. It’s one in a long line of choices every parent who’s even vaguely Christian gets to make.

    For me, personally, I think the lie is a good one, and necessary. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett in The Hogfather, children need to learn to believe the little lies (Santa, the Tooth Fairy) so they can believe the big lies (justice, mercy). Basically, Santa is practice for believing in other things that children cannot see, touch, hear, smell or explain completely with science. Justice is not a physical thing that you can see or touch or prove in a lab, it’s an abstract concept. Same with mercy, luck, magic, freedom, and love (and other abstract concepts).

    • Snow Miser

      I am personally hoping the little lies won’t prove to be gateways to believing the big lies, which I am even more dead set against.

    • Tinyfaeri

      You’re dead set against believing in justice, mercy, luck, magic, freedom and love? You must be fun at parties. :)

  • Pleasant Peach

    Bah humbug….you’re a ton of fun, Carinn! Fa la la la la, la la la have a freak’n martini.

  • workingMOM

    You have identified the reason as to why I agree with you with the paragraph below:

    “Even less appealing is Santa’s naughty/nice list. Am I supposed to be teaching my kids the concept of keeping score and holding grudges at Christmas time? I understand some mothers use this as persuasion to encourage good behavior during the chaotic holiday time but you still end up being the bad guy reminding them that “Santa’s watching.” It’s a little too Big Brother for me.”

  • mercury7jg

    I don’t disagree that this a choice for each family to make on their own. But I’m sorry, if someone feels “lied to” because their parents gave them Santa presents on Christmas, then they’re really freaking lucky, and probably haven’t had to deal with many actual, serious, life-altering lies.

    • lea

      I don’t really think it is your place to judge how somebody else reacts to being lied to. Yes, the vast majority of children will have no lasting effects from finding out that they were lied to, but for a lot of kids, it might be the first time they find out that not everything their parents say is the truth. That is a big deal for some kids. It breaks what was previously an infallible trust.

      For me, when I figured it out, I was really quite hurt that my parents had set me up for what could have been massive embarrassment and humiliation. At 6 years of age, a whole classroom of kids laughing at you feels like the end of the world! That seems silly now, of course, but I still remember that feeling and I’m 30 now.

      My husband and I haven’t decided what we’ll do yet, but I suspect it will be something along the lines of what alice outlined above.

    • mercury7jg

      I wasn’t “judging how somebody else reacts to being lied to.” People can be pissed off at their parents for telling them Santa is real all they want. It’s just not a lie that is actually going to affect the stability of their life. Yes, it hurts and it can be embarrassing to be the only kid that still believes in Santa when all your peers know the reality. Yes, it’s a blow when you first realize that your parents don’t always tell you the truth. But honestly, it’s a part of growing up to realize that even our best role models are still human beings, and a lot of people don’t have the benefit of making that realization about something as inconsequential as a big bearded guy in a red suit.

    • meteor_echo

      Or they’re just good at spotting lies.

    • Ender

      You flew by saying families should decide whether or not to lie to their kids, year after year about a lie, that will dramatically affect not them but the children. Oh, look you are already being so sympathetic to the ‘Family’. Error. Not quite.

      Your second sentence is pretty entertaining. You start it by saying basically, ‘But I am sorry’ ..I find that to be odd. It goes in to say something (sorry) profoundly ignorant, ‘if someone feels “lied to” because their parents..’..

      And it has to maybe be that you do it unconsciously, but you actually bring up the real issue and the heart of the matter, which is the children’s feelings. Only you like some fluoridated mindless oaf said ‘If’ someone “feels” lied to. Hey [knock, knock] anyone home??] It’s not a kaleidoscope – this, or that. If the kids feel lied to, it is basically because they were. And by who? Ohh, yeah. Their parental figures, who are supposed to take care of them and keep them safe. Not lie year after year, and then (what i thought was the messed up part as a chil more than the fact that my parents had lied to me and deceived me for so long…) ..but that after the lie is out, and it was quite apparent to me that there was not going to be an explanation. If I tried to get one I’d recall making light of it, or laughing it off. There was the fact I had believed and then told what I came to believe and love believing was a lie. With a ‘hahaha’, attitude.

      Anyway, I know you can not see multidimensional deep into the facets and numerous aspects of this. But if you cant not, even see plain truths like a child who was lied to, should feel lied to. To do so differently asshole, can cause,… well just the kind of blatant disregard for the child to either want to, or an inability of them to be able to, relate with things later in life. I mean get your last offense at the end of that 2nd sentence…
      you actually have the rude audacity to mock a kid that feels lied to (when they were), and you disregarded anything being wrong with all the yrs of lies the parents told to their kids – - because you say, the parents gave the kids all those years of Santa and the deceit, and senseless subterfuge… :D

      My diagnosis of a casual nature is that you suffer most likely form your own experiences, and the very thing we talk about, that and/or you are trying to dump-off any responsibility you may have had or now owe, in regards to children in your life and this. But It is so that your small comment is so riddled with markers, which are utter senseless. It’s not your fault Mercury..

      It’s not your fault. Mercury it’s not your fault, ok.. let’s hug it out. Then ;] you would get closure and that is really what again and again decade after decade, our kids aren’t getting fully. I am stupid smart. So trust me, it harms more, way more, than it does good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

    I enjoyed the Santa thing and was not upset when I figured things out, but that certainly doesn’t mean it is for everyone. I AM really glad that you thought of how to talk to your son so he doesn’t “share” the information with kids who may be Santa kids.

    Regarding lists – we did “Santa lists” as long as we lived at home – even my parents. As kids we knew that it was a “wish list” to “help” Santa and that we would not get everything. We were also told to put our favorite 2-3 items at the top. We always got some list items and some surprise items. It is SO helpful in deciding what gift to get, particularly when Dad wanted a book or my brother wanted some weird band CD – the titles were written down. I heartily recommend it whether you Santa or not.

  • bumbler

    I don’t tell my kids that santa is real. We have plenty of make-believe at our house, and they understand that Santa is something everyone PRETENDS is real, and we find that’s a good compromise. They think it’s a game everyone is in on (which really isn’t far from reality). They also know the historical tale of Santa. It’s not that I wouldn’t “lie” to my kids about it, I just think it’s way too much fuss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

    I like this. I plan to teach my son that Santa is an icon and part of the fun of Christmas, but not as a real person. He will know that for us, the real meaning of Christmas is the birth of our Savior.

  • K.

    Do whatever you want to do–your kid, your parenting.

    BUT what I find weird in this article (as well as among a lot of parents who share your reasoning) is this mantra of “I don’t want to LIE to my children!” For some, they’re afraid that figuring out the truth will be some kind of trauma (which I find doubtful unless you’ve made Santa comparable to the Second Coming or something), but for the rest, it’s sort of this philosophical perspective of “I’m not gonna LIE to my children.”

    That’s your right, again, as a parent, but I always feel like saying, “Oh really? Have you informed them where that burger came from?” or “Oh really? Did you tell them that Spot didn’t actually run away to go live on a farm?”

    You come off as the kind of parent that fixates on Santa Claus and the crusade for “truth” because it’s a much more pleasant straw man for all the *other* lies we like to tell our children.

    And by the way, your kid lies to YOU. Like, all the time. Just sayin.’

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      I’m aware of the double standard you are talking about but I personally don’t lie to my kids about anything. He knows that burgers come from cows (if that’s what you mean) and he knows the concept of death – to your examples. But if there was something that I don’t think he is ready to know about I would say exactly that. Just like he isn’t allowed to drive a car yet, there are some questions that will go unanswered until he is old enough to comprehend and use them appropriately. I do avoid truly “mature” issues as much as I can, but I never ever lie.

      I take that other stuff far more seriously than Santa (which in the realm of things is a widely accepted and pretty harmless lie), not the other way around. Then again, my kid is only 3 so I find it extremely easy to keep this bargain. I also don’t care if he lies to me, it has no bearing on what I am comfortable telling him and what I am not.

  • A Non Mouse

    I did the Santa Claus thing with my child and when she found out (Age 11) she was devastated that I lied to her. It took well over a year for her to get over it, she was basically of the mind set – If I lied about Christmas what else did I lie about? – With that knowledge I probably wouldn’t do the Santa thing again.

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      What an interesting perspective – I have been wondering if anyone had that experience out there. Glad you shared.

    • A Non Mouse

      Thanks! Its something Ive thought about off and on for years and have even talked to her about it (she is 17) and she consistently says that truth always means more than a well intentioned lie. So much smarter than I ever coyld be.

    • Snow Miser

      I was also pretty devastated when I found out. It may have actually set me on the path of broad skepticism which has served me well since then, interestingly. I’m doing the Santa thing with my own now, but I’m trying hard to keep it moderate and de-emphasize the magic and the good-list stuff, because I remember enjoying the fiction while it lasted. But it’s hard to have it both ways, and I hope we can end it early without much trauma. I hope that putting less effort into hiding the truth then my parents did will be the key.

  • Diana

    If you’re not a “herd mentality mother’ then why do you care about what anyone thinks? Why are you even discussing it with your family? Could it be that you’re doing this to make a point? Could you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder? You certainly seem to quite like the fact that you stepped on some toes you non-conformist you.

  • Ellie

    The kids who spoil it aren’t necessarily “show offs”. Some of us were told that Santa was fake and believing in him was BAD and SINFUL. And then were very confused when our friends suddenly hated us for saying so. Little kids learn what they are told.

  • salemthegoddess

    My mom raised us without Santa because as she reasoned, no mythical fat man in a red suit was going to take the credit for everything she worked for. but we also struggled financially

  • Elizabeth

    Well, I never believed in Santa as a child and I turned out alright…

    The whole thing seemed fishy to me as I was raised in a VERY conservative house.
    “Look kids! Jesus was born and angels were there and for some reason a bearded man brings presents!

    My mom always wanted the “Kids wake up at 5 AM and get all excited that Santa came” experience, but when you see your mom buy something and suddenly your father gets it for Christmas….Even as a 3 year-old, you see through that story quite quickly.

    Once I got older, I appreciated that my mom was honest with me. Also, be sure your little one uses that knowledge wisely. I lost a lot of friends as a little kid by ruining Easter and Christmas for them.

  • lucygoosey74

    It’s your choice to do as you wish, and I don’t believe that your kid’s childhood will be ruined if he dosen’t believe in santa. I do choose to let my little guy believe in santa, because he is so imaginative, just like I was when I was little. As we grow older we lose the magic of fantasy and life becomes mundane and, well, real. My child has his whole life to figure out how to handle real life truths and realities and I want him to be able to experience the magic of childhood that only happens once in a lifetime.

  • BrooklynMom

    As a writer of fiction I cannot disagree more, but that’s life! Try not to be so smug about your decision- and defensive, by the way! “I don’t care what other people think” and then responding to comments defending your article makes you seem a bit hypocritical, doesn’t it? Which, of course, is ironic. Have a Merry Christmas!!

  • Megan Carty

    I so agree and plan to do the same thing with my future children. My parents never upheld the Santa story and told us it wasn’t real, but (like you said) other people celebrate other ways around the holidays, and that if other kids wanted to play pretend with Santa to not ruin it for them :)

  • Mamacita

    Well, waking up in Christmas morning to open presents from Santa is still some of my most cherish memories. You are only young and innocent enough to TRULY believe in magic for so long. I will always have fond memories of that time of wonder when I myself believed in Santa, and I would like for my children to have the opportunity to enjoy as I did.

    That beign said I wasn’t disappointed when my parents told me the truth, any kid smart enough starts to see discrepancies here and there, and questions things as they grow up, so I kind of saw it coming.

    Actually, it was a bit of a relief when they let me in on the secret, a “that explains a lot” of some sort. And I said I felt relieved because of the main problem I see with the “Nice or Naughty” list: even at a young age it puzzled me why so of my classmates who acted all year as brats got everything on their list and more, while other classmates who were some of the nicest and well behaved kids ever got close to nothing. You start to realize that Santas’ gifts are more related to your parents economic situation than your good or bad behavior.

    “Why if Santa has such amazing magical powers he seems to forget about poor kids?” Is the thought that bothered for about the last 2 Christmases that I honestly believed, just seemed so UNFAIR. So, if I decide to go ahead with the Santa myth sometime (my daughter is only 2 months old now), I would definitely strive to stress the point that a kid not receiving as much as her – or worse, nothing at all, doesn’t make that kid evil or unworthy.

    • Mary Sue

      Ive heard people say this before, and Im not questioning the validity of their experiences or yours. However, I think it’s strange that this would happen. I never knew how many things or what things that friends got for Christmas beyond “Oh, I like your watch! Thanks, I got it for Christmas.” and they didn’t know what all I got either. My oldest child (the only one who is in school) has never told people what he got for Christmas or came home and told me a list of what other kids have received. Maybe it’s a regional thing. I like that you are going to address it if it comes up in your child’s life, it is a concern. Just one I had never experienced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michele-Fore/100000391637523 Michele Fore

    My daughter figured out the lie herself. I was always a bit uncomfortable with it but did it anyway. She handled it pretty well and understands why it was done. I seriously doubt it’s going the affect her mentally. I have a friend who scares her kids into believing in Santa. They are terrified they won’t get presents if they even say they don’t believe. Verbal abuse in my opinion and I’m pretty sure it will affect them mentally. SMH

  • Mary Sue

    If you don’t want to do the Santa thing, that is your choice. I agree that this piece could be paraphrased as you’re right and people who celebrate with Santa are wrong because it’s so dumb.

    My kids don’t make a list of gifts for Santa. I taught them that Santa brings one special gift and fills their stockings. Anything else they get is from us. It’s the magic of it, not the materialism.

  • luke

    I agree with not lieing about santa clause and I am also telling my 3 year old the truth. I am a christian and the lie about santa clause takes away from the truth about what christmas is.. And that is our celebrating of our saviours birth. I just dont feel comfortable with telling a lie about a fat magic man in a red suite while simultaneously telling the true story of my divine saviour Jesus Christ. I think it is actually a clever attempt by lucifer himself to confuse kids at an early age when they need to hear truths. I mean your gonna tell your kid a miraculous lie about santa and the tell an even more miraculous truth about Jesus during the Holiday meant for Jesus, (i hope) then one day down the road they will know you lied… will they get confused and say well… maybe the story of Jesus was a lie as well? I personally will not go there. And, if you are not a christian, then no need to fire back at this comment with hate, because ive heard it and it does not bother me. I actually expect it, because thats what the truth of the Bible tells me. I do know that Christmas is a pagen created Holiday and Im really not sure wether it is truly Jesus’s true birth date. probably not. Also, I know that from reading about saint Nicholas that he was a supporter of Jesus Diety during the council of Nicaea and I’m pretty sure he would not be happy with the way his ledgend has turned into a lie. I think the true story of Saint Nicholas is way better to tell. You guys should really read his true story and tell it during christmas because it has to do with his love for Jesus and others. The real Saint Nich not only believed in Jesus, but was a true follower by obeying Jesus words to sell what you own and give to give to less fortunate. There is a lot that i dont know about, but I do know i will not confuse the truth about Jesus by accompanying it with a lies about a good man Saint Nicholas, especially when the truth about Saint Nich is better. Merry Christmas!

  • sunshyn

    I don’t want to lie about Santa but I also don’t want to put my son in the awkward postion of the holder of “the truth.” We’re going to try the “it’s something other people believe in bit not us” approach.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

    My wife and I are going to have this discussion next year. I’m not looking forward to it. I plan to push for no Santa, and I expect to get flak from both of our sets of parents.

  • ??????

    It’s sad to find out he’s not real

  • ??????

    I remember wen I found out he wasn’t real i was 8

  • ??????

    We’ll of cours I remember I was 8 1 year ago

  • ??????

    I hide it from my mum that I know he’s not real.
    I’ve been doing it for 1 year know I don’t now if I should tell her i know he’s not real.because what I say is. If you
    stop believeing you stop reseaving

  • FaintlyXMacabre

    This is one of those things where I am on the fence. I’m not necessarily against “lying about Santa” it’s just that I’m awful at it. I am a bad liar. I can’t remember my lies, I don’t know how I explained that Santa does what he does, and my daughter believes in literally no other mystical being except for Santa (she figured the Tooth Fairy out fast).

  • Guestling

    I stopped believing in Santa pretty young, I don’t think I even made it to grade school. I just… didn’t buy it. And I didn’t really like it, I didn’t want to sit on a guy’s lap at the mall, and Santa had the exact same, very unique handwriting as my mother. But we still made all the Santa stuff really work in my house.

    I’m in my mid-20s now and I still send my “Santa List” to my mom before she does her Christmas shopping, all my gifts are still signed “from Santa”, we still do the gifts under the tree and the stocking and all that. I don’t think it has to be an either/or thing. I mean, most people still dress up at Halloween for the fun of the holiday without doing it because they believe it keeps evil spirits away.

    I don’t really want to tell my kids about Santa, either, because I really enjoyed growing up and still having these traditions but having them so family-focused. I was more realistic about what I wanted and less disappointed, it seemed, then my Santa-believing classmates, when I couldn’t get everything I wanted, because I understood that my parents weren’t a magic being who was supposed to be capable of anything. Plus, I have a pretty intense anxiety disorder that was prevalent at even a young age so I think not having the burdening guilt of “am I really good enough to deserve this Christmas” probably saved me from being a lot worse off than I already was.

    My husband and I haven’t broached the topic much yet because we haven’t needed to and we know we disagree on it, because he looooved Santa as a kid. But the other side of that was, he says he was pretty devastated to find out Santa wasn’t real. He sees that as a reason to give kids Santa while they can, I see it as another reason why we should save them the disappointment and focus it on it being about what we as a family do for each other.

  • Missy

    I’m not alone!!!! This is great!!

    Growing up, my mom wasn’t big on the idea of Santa Claus. She felt it took away from the meaning of Christmas (Jesus) and I’m sure she didn’t like lying to us. So she didn’t really force it on us and when my older brother came home from kindergarten and told my little brother (2 yrs old) and me (3 yrs old) that there was no Santa, she didn’t argue.

    My parents bought us presents every year based on whether or not we were good -eh, we were always good ;) Santa was more of a joke. “Mom, I want that for Christmas” “Ok, maybe SANTA will get you that” *Laughter* I’m 31 and she still does this just being silly. We still got a tree, put lights on the house, made Christmas lists, etc. We just didn’t believe some old man was going to go down everyone’s chimneys that night – how anyone can believe that, I don’t even know.

    I don’t recall ever ruining Santa for anyone. I can’t imagine I ever ran around saying he wasn’t real or anything like that. Of course, I never really had the chance to believe in him so I think I must have thought nobody else really believed in him either. It wasn’t a big deal to me. And I certainly wasn’t a know-it-all type, I was actually a really shy, quiet kid. I really don’t know if the topic even came up with my friends. And worst case, if it did, and I said he wasn’t real, so what? The kid goes and asks their mom, mom says I’m wrong, he’s real. End of story, right?

    Well, know I’m pregnant and thinking about what I will tell my kid. I really want to do like my mom did. My husband, however, grew up believing in Santa for a loooong time. His mom was kind of crazy about it, in my opinion. So he’s into the Santa thing. Ugh. Not sure how to handle this.