In our house, we basically try to treat Santa like Diego and Baby Jaguar – my kids know they are characters and they aren’t real, but they don’t love them any less. But when he asks specifically, I always tell my 4-year-old that Santa is not a real person. As you can imagine this gets the serious stink eye from other parents, but I think it’s absurd. It’s not my responsibility to protect your kids from the truth about Santa.
Another one of my friends was openly debating this very point on Facebook and her question elicited this response from one of her friends:
“If you decide not to run with the whole Santa game, make sure she understands how important it is that she not spoil the fun for the other children. Everyone remembers “that” kid that ruined Christmas for them, and not fondly.”
I really hate the argument that I shouldn’t tell my kids the truth about Santa because your kids might get upset. First of all, I don’t know why there’s an idea that a three or four year old is going to run around shouting “Santa’s a fake!” The kids who tattle are old enough to know the truth but really old enough to want to rub it in that they know something your child doesn’t. It certainly doesn’t happen at age three or four.
But even if my kid was a snot nose snitch, that’s not a reason for me to alter my parenting beliefs. If you feel strongly that Santa or Elf on the Shelf is vital to the magic of Christmas, you can be sure I feel strongly about my own parenting point of view. I’m certainly not considering having a conversation about what’s real and what’s pretend just because I’m bored on a Tuesday night. It’s not my job to consider what my kid will be saying about Santa in school. After all, my kid now knows the word “f*ck” from yours.
Also, diversity is really important to me as a parent, which is why we are trying very hard to raise our kids in New York City. That means my kids already know people who don’t believe in Santa, all of them are different religions and cultures. With or without Santa, it’s important to teach our children that different people believe different things. It doesn’t make their beliefs wrong or ours right — they are just different.
But really — this argument just reeks of lazy parenting. If your kid comes home and says “little Jimmy says Santa’s not real” it’s your job as a parent to handle it. Based on their age, maybe you tell them the truth or you tell them little Jimmy’s an a-hole, or maybe you explain that in your house “we believe in Santa.” I don’t really care how you handle the idea of Santa in your house and I’d prefer you stop trying to guilt me into changing my mind so you don’t have to have your own hard conversations.