I agree, Jen+2monkeys. What's the harm in exposing children to something different than what you yourself believe in? I think secluding them, or keeping them in a bubble is unhealthy. I realize that those who object to Santa visiting schools don't necessarily do this - and that they feel it should be up to each individual family to go about educating their children about things that others may or may not believe in -- but how is letting your child participate in a Christmas-y event at school going to have a negative impact? My kids' school does teach about Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, and winter solstice - more so than my public school did years ago, b/c DD has taught me about various celebrations/cultures after learning about them at school.
no way in heck do I think my children should only believe what I believe - for example, DH is agnostic, I am an atheist - but our oldest child happens to believe in god and heaven. That's wonderful that she can do this. I guess I just don't get how exposing them to various beliefs and religions, even in the form of Santa at school, is detrimental. Yes, hopefully schools are doing other activities to include more than one holiday (even if Christmas is the most widespread one celebrated - whatever percent it is, it's the majority of people in our country, right?).
eta: and you know, this morning when my 4 yo was helping write cards out to his teacher and bus drivers, he specifically wanted the one to his assistant teacher to say "Merry Christmas". I had wrote the standard "Happy Holidays" and he got upset b/c afterall, I asked him what should we tell Ms. X? and here I was trying to be PC and he wasn't having it. So we got another card, and wrote Merry Christmas. I have no idea if the teacher's assistant actually celebrates Christmas or not - but you know what? if she is honest to goodness offended by my child wishing her that, then I think she has bigger problems. Really, it's the thought that counts, and MY child celebrates Christmas, and wanted to wish her the same. I know this is a bit OT, but it's just that you can't please everyone, and there are so many different religions/traditions/cultures that I think people just need to be more tolerant of what others believe, and not feel like it has infringed on their rights. So you play along when Santa waves, doesn't matter if he has no part in your personal celebration.