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Pros and Cons of "doing Santa"? - Page 3

post #41 of 63

My son just turned 2 so I'm working my way through this question.  My gut says that I don't want to "do" Santa with him; it just doesn't feel honest.  It feels fine to talk about Santa as a fictional character, but not as someone who brings presents.  Not as someone we would claim as real.  My quandary comes as to how to make this work when celebrating the holidays with our extended family.  My sister also has a 2 year old and she wants to include Santa as part of their holiday traditions.  Have any of you had experiences with how to make a large family Christmas work if some families talk about Santa as real and some don't?

post #42 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCLL View Post

 My quandary comes as to how to make this work when celebrating the holidays with our extended family.  My sister also has a 2 year old and she wants to include Santa as part of their holiday traditions.  Have any of you had experiences with how to make a large family Christmas work if some families talk about Santa as real and some don't?

So, it depends on how accommodating you want to be. For us, we traveled a few years at the holiday season until the santa thing became less of an issue.. cousins outgrew the myth and so on. Or, you could sit down and talk with your sis. Maybe she's be willing to do a solstice thing with you all and then have a separate santa-y thing just for her kid with the grandparents. Either way, you should have some sort of agreement with her.. she shouldn't talk up santa with your kids and you won't take away the story for hers.
post #43 of 63

Well, I was raised in a very religious household that didn't celebrate Christmas because of blah blah blah (pagan traditions, wrong date duh!,commercialism) blah blah so we had this random gift out of nowhere and a fancy dinner but that was it. Now my extended family does celebrate Christmas but, um, is not very good at it. A few years ago my mom forgot a Christmas tree. Truly. And woke up on Christmas morning with 15 kids coming nd though oops. Most of my friends went to my church so it wasn't a big deal really. 

 

DH is a non-religous jew raised on the East Coast with a lot of Christmas fantasies. So he pictures bow ties and slicked back hair and Bob Crachit brings the turkey and  I picture either ironic decoration or uber natural homemade.

 

So, no fantasy. I just don't dig lying to my kids for no good reason. They get goodies. They get traditions. (dinner, Christmas with my family, Jewish-Christmas (fancy boozy lunch at posh Hollywood restaurant) and sometimes even Festivus if we get around it. We talk about the tradition I suspect my 4 year old wants to believe but I neither encourage or deny. I am simply not willing to sit him for a false belief for...nothing.

 

Whatever you decide, I don't think 2 is the time to decide it.

post #44 of 63

We love Santa and all the fairy tales.  We took DD1 to Disneyworld for a Make a Wish trip (age 5) and she really truly believed! She saw some light flicker a reflection off of someone's watch or a mirror and was 1000% convinced it was Tinkerbelle.  We were just talking about it yesterday.. She said "Thank you for letting me believe all that" It was so special to her.  She's 12  now and has outgrown it all, but now she's ready to BE Santa for her baby sister.  :D 

post #45 of 63

Just wanted to add my two cents.  :-)

First, I have LOVED reading this discussion and think it's so cool how many different winter celebrations we have!

 

We have been talking about what we'll do when the time comes.  DD will only be a little over 14 months for Christmas this year, so the magic for her will bet he boxes and bows... but next year, we'll probably start implementing what we think will be our Santa tradition:

 

We also don't want to lie to her, per se, but we also do love the magic of Santa, and both loved it as children... we also want to have a good explanation about why Santa brings more gifts to some kids and less (or none) to others.  Our solution is that she should make a list for Santa to tell him what she'd like, and that Santa then shares that list with us and we pick a few things from it, plus give her a gift or two that we came up with.  We'll tell her that she's very lucky to have parents that can get her a few things from her list, but that other children don't have parents who can afford to do so, and that's why we'd like her to take some money from her piggy (which gets filled throughout the year from money relatives send for little holidays and birthday, and change we find around the house) to pick out a gift for a little boy or girl so they can experience the magic of the "Santa" part of the holiday, too. 

 

At least... that's what we're THINKING we'll do.  What we plan to do, and what actually happens I've realized can be two different things when raising a child and starting your own, new family traditions.  But it's the direction in which we're headed, for what it's worth.

Oh, and sort of related - after this Christmas, we'll be having a one-in-one-out rule, where for each TOY she receives, she needs to pick a toy to donate to a local shelter/goodwill/similar.  We're hoping this will cut down on the gift-giving (we've informed our families of the "rule" and encourage them not to go overboard... cause that's a lot of things for a little girl to pick out to part with!) and the amount of CRAP in our house.  :-P  We'll see how that one goes, too... :-)

post #46 of 63

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndzies View Post

Oh, and sort of related - after this Christmas, we'll be having a one-in-one-out rule, where for each TOY she receives, she needs to pick a toy to donate to a local shelter/goodwill/similar.  We're hoping this will cut down on the gift-giving (we've informed our families of the "rule" and encourage them not to go overboard... cause that's a lot of things for a little girl to pick out to part with!) and the amount of CRAP in our house.  :-P  We'll see how that one goes, too... :-)


Good luck - I hope your family cooperates. My son will only be three months old this Christmas, and we've been hearing for a month now about the avalanche of bright, plastic, huge, loud toys everyone intends to buy. We've told everyone we appreciate the generosity but that we don't have the space for it, and find many types of those toys inappropriate, and made suggestions about things we'd rather he get (that he'd actually use) and several people got downright angry about it. Apparently they think that we, as his parents, deserve no input whatsoever in the quantity and type of possessions our own child should have. If anything ruins the magic of Christmas, that's it. Deciding how to present Santa is easy by comparison. 

 

post #47 of 63

Our family has actually been pretty good so far about respecting our wishes about the quantity and type of toys to get for Cady.  As a matter of fact, for her first birthday, we mentioned in the invite that she would appreciate gently loved hand-me-down and second-hand toys and books, and many people complied.

 

Plus, I have no qualms about donating brand new plastic nonsense to kids in need, either.  :-)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

 


Good luck - I hope your family cooperates. My son will only be three months old this Christmas, and we've been hearing for a month now about the avalanche of bright, plastic, huge, loud toys everyone intends to buy. We've told everyone we appreciate the generosity but that we don't have the space for it, and find many types of those toys inappropriate, and made suggestions about things we'd rather he get (that he'd actually use) and several people got downright angry about it. Apparently they think that we, as his parents, deserve no input whatsoever in the quantity and type of possessions our own child should have. If anything ruins the magic of Christmas, that's it. Deciding how to present Santa is easy by comparison. 

 



 

post #48 of 63

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndzies View Post

Our family has actually been pretty good so far about respecting our wishes about the quantity and type of toys to get for Cady.  As a matter of fact, for her first birthday, we mentioned in the invite that she would appreciate gently loved hand-me-down and second-hand toys and books, and many people complied.

 

Plus, I have no qualms about donating brand new plastic nonsense to kids in need, either.  :-)


That's good! I'm kind of jealous. :-) I've got no qualms about donating stuff either. We'll see how this year shapes up!

 

post #49 of 63

Good luck!  Stay strong!  But also, choose your battles.  Lol.  That's the only way I've survived the first year with my MIL.  ;-)

 

Now the amount of CLOTHES she gets my daughter... that's a whole 'nother thread!!!! 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

 


That's good! I'm kind of jealous. :-) I've got no qualms about donating stuff either. We'll see how this year shapes up!

 



 

post #50 of 63

This thread has really made me think!  DS is only 2, so I don't think we have to have this figured out yet, but I love all of the ideas and traditions people have shared. 

 

My father is a devout atheist wink1.gif  who LOVES christmas-- so we had the santa story, played up with sooty footprints and all.  But the thing I realize, is that after my siblings and I found out the myth, we still had the most amazing holidays.  I think because my parents were SO ENTHUSIASTIC... lol!  For us the magic and mystic qualities of christmas were all held in my folks' ability to be kids with us.  We never had a lot of gifts, but we had our favourite food traditions, and staying up late traditions, and making cookies, and telling stories, and crazy silliness like trying to put on all the the clothes gramma gave us at once (!) ...My dad would make us all shower and dress and eat breakfast and brush our teeth, etc, before we were allowed to see our stockings or the tree on xmas morning-- that anticipation was so much fun!  And he made it awesome because he was just as excited as we were-- and for no reason other than fun.

 

There's this great book--The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from around the World-- that I hope to incorporate into our holiday traditions, and I also hope I can recreate the fun and enthusiasm my parents gave to us...  I guess, what I'm coming away from all this with, is that it doesn't really matter how I choose to present the holiday to our kids as long as I fully, completely feel the spirit of it.  For our family, that's in giving and loving and being crazy. 

 

I was feeling confused before, I'm now really excited-- Thanks everyone!

post #51 of 63

One thing I find interesting about the use of Santa is that some people use him in the hopes of garnering good behavior from their kids.  A friend of ours does this with his son and it really annoys me.  It's like leave the magic alone and just let him have it.  If you can't find any other way to control your kid you're in need of some help!  My girls asked if Santa would really skip a house for bad behavior and I told them that Santa would never make anyone feel bad on purpose.  I really like the idea of Santa, I never really had good Christmases.  My parents were always fighting and when they divorced it was all about them and it was frustrating.  My sister and I talk about it every once in awhile and we both feel that we were cheated out of the magic.  It wasn't about presents it was about feeling hopeful and having a calm relaxing holiday without the drama and Christmas is really about the kids anyway.  Just giving them some hope and magic when all around there is none.

post #52 of 63

I was one of those kids who took the Santa thing very seriously. I was the kid who waited up in bed as late as I could, staring out my window, hoping to to hear the reindeer hooves on the roof. I was the kid whose imagination flew away with the knowledge that a fat and an onslaught of elves lived up in the North Pole. I was the kid who LOVED  that this kind of magic 'existed', who daydreamed for weeks on end prior to Christmas. I wrote the letters. I set out the cookies.

 

My mom didn't necessarily encourage us, but she handled everything with "what do you think", which really, was quite frustrating and too ambiguous for me. I assumed my mom would let me know if it was all a lie. As an adult, I found out my mom really didn't care for the whole santa thing, and thought saying "what do you think" was a nice middle ground between believing and not. :-( But she did play along with it, so in the end, it didn't matter.

 

Then one year--- I think I was 9 or 10--- I realized I had been fooled. Nothing in particular happened, it's just that my pre-adolescent brain finally allowed me to put all the pieces together and come to the logical conclusion. It was a terrible, glum Christmas. I felt like my reality had shifted, that I had grown up practically overnight, that I had lost my childhood in that instant. That Christmas, and several Christmases after, no longer 'felt' magical. I missed believing. I was angry that I was lied to.

 

We don't do Santa in our household. It has little to do with my reaction when finding out, though my reaction did compel me to stop and analyze the tradition once I was older. I think if I didn't react so negatively to finding out the truth, I would be more likely to go with it.

 

The idea of feeding my child an untruth so I that I can get my kicks and giggles watching them 'believe' does not sit right with me. It is deliberately lying to them. We as adults are burdened with endless responsibilities, hurts, and a lot of truths about this world that are plain ugly. I don't know about you, but as an adult, I totally miss my childhood. I miss the simplicity, the optimism, the magic. I think parents tend to 'relive' their childhood through their children, which is all well and good until... it's no longer about the children. IMO, from what I've seen, the Santa thing is about the parents more than the kids. It about, as an adult, reliving that magic, joy, and imagination of childhood by seeing it on your kids' faces. Of course the kids enjoy it--- it is exciting, they get presents, and it's fun thinking this guy and all of his accoutrements actually exist. But they have the tools to enjoy their childhood without the belief. There is a price to pay for them: not necessarily in their reactions when they find out, because that could go either way... they pay with their perception of reality. I spent the majority of my childhood living in a reality where the Easter Bunny comes into your house and leaves you candy in a basket, where the Tooth Fairy takes my sleeping head and moves it to lay money under my pillow, and where Santa Claus is watching my every move and comes through my lit fireplace to fill my stocking. It took my time to undo all of that, to process my emotions, and see the world through a clear lens. It's wasted time, it's wasted emotions, when all that time I could've become acquainted with what is known to be real. The world looked so dim and dull after I found out. It took me a long LONG time to appreciate the real magic. I wish I had that opportunity when I was a child.

 

I think Santa has nothing to do with hanging onto childhood, or preserving a child's innocence. That can be done without Santa. In fact, I would argue that a belief in Santa could potentially take away that innocence prematurely. That happened to me. If the Santa thing had not been a part of my childhood, my imaginative and creative childhood would have played out naturally at its own pace, I would not have felt my childhood slip away overnight due to a stark realization that I had believed a lie. 

 

We are going to be all about 'pretending' to be Santa. The tradition itself is a lovely way to remind ourselves about St. Nicholas, and his generosity. It is fun, and 'imagining' that this is real is fun too. 

 

post #53 of 63

I completely believed in Santa as a child and I have the most wonderful memories of truly believing in that magic.  Yeah it was disappointing when I found out the truth.  But I'm so glad to have those magical memories.  It is fun to remember how that felt and still gets me excited just remembering how it felt.  So I will do Santa with my son.  I'm sure Christmas can be exciting without Santa but it was just a lot of fun for me and I want that for my son.  I'm not going to go crazy about and spin elaborate tales.  My son is turning 3 in January so this is the first year he's excited about Christmas. I've told him that Santa is going to bring him a present and fill his stocking at Christmas.  I don't know if he really gets it yet.  If he ever asks me out right then I will be honest but until then we will have fun and enjoy the magic.

post #54 of 63

We celebrate St. Nicholas' feast day on Dec 6--the children put their shoes out, and St. Nicholas delivers chocolates and other small goodies.  They also include their letter to the Christ Child with their requests for Christmas gifts... St. Nicholas takes the letter to the Christ Child, who gives the gifts on Christmas (since it is his birthday).

 

Believing in things that are cultural, or legendary is not lying to a child.  We talk about atoms and quirks, or distant planets for that matter, but can any of us actually see them?  Does that mean we are lying?

post #55 of 63


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
We talk about atoms and quirks, or distant planets for that matter, but can any of us actually see them?  Does that mean we are lying?


.... Except we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Santa Claus- the guy at the north pole with the elves--- does NOT physically exist. I don't know any adult who would argue with that. 

 

On the other hand, the micro physical elements you mentioned are studied profusely, with it's theories generally accepted among the scientific community.

 

It is lying to tell someone that something physically exists when it doesn't.

 

It is not lying to say something exists when you have good reason to believe it really does.

 

 

post #56 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
Believing in things that are cultural, or legendary is not lying to a child.  We talk about atoms and quirks, or distant planets for that matter, but can any of us actually see them?  Does that mean we are lying?


I do Santa, but this line of thinking makes my head hurt. (My mom says it, too, which boggles me, as she's the single most honest person I've ever known.) Yes - I'm lying when I tell my children that Santa will come after they go to bed, and bring them presents, and fill their stockings. I know full well that I'm the one doing those things. I know full well that a fat man in a red suit isn't coming down my chimney. I don't have a problem with doing Santa, or I wouldn't be doing it. But, I really don't get the idea that it's not lying. When one deliberately tells an untruth, one is lying. I'm deliberately telling my children untruths; therefore, I am lying. Why do people try to dodge this one?

post #57 of 63

I kind of like to view Santa as just another fairy tale. Not a truth, but also not a lie. Somewhere in the grey area of make believe. 

post #58 of 63

Annabee'smama: Sure sub atomic particles are studied... but even a few months ago it was widely held that nothing traveled fast then the speed of light, and now we have two demonstrations of neutrinos doing just that. 

 

Do we not widely hold an idea that is later proved to be untrue?  Does that mean Einstein was lying?

 

Do we know what happens to a person when they die?  Can we actively disprove the communion of saints?

 

When you child is playing toy kitchen, or pretending to be something do you say, "You're not really cooking!" or "you're not really a tiger!" and if you play along, are you lying to them?!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

I kind of like to view Santa as just another fairy tale. Not a truth, but also not a lie. Somewhere in the grey area of make believe. 

 

Yes.
We can't physically prove that love and devotion exist. 

 It's like Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus:

 

 

Quote:
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post



I do Santa, but this line of thinking makes my head hurt. (My mom says it, too, which boggles me, as she's the single most honest person I've ever known.) Yes - I'm lying when I tell my children that Santa will come after they go to bed, and bring them presents, and fill their stockings. I know full well that I'm the one doing those things. I know full well that a fat man in a red suit isn't coming down my chimney. I don't have a problem with doing Santa, or I wouldn't be doing it. But, I really don't get the idea that it's not lying. When one deliberately tells an untruth, one is lying. I'm deliberately telling my children untruths; therefore, I am lying. Why do people try to dodge this one?


But now do you actually sit your kids down and say, tonight a fat man will come down the chimney and give you presents?  Or is it more inferred from shared cultural experiences? I have never sat my kids down and said, "DO this tonight, because this is what happens"  Our traditions have evolved with a little bit of imagination, and bit of shared cultural experience--and our historical faith and traditions shared. 

 

 

Do you sit your kids down when they are reading a fairy tale, or a novel and say, "this is not a real story, it is a lie?"  Give them more credit!  My kids actively discuss with their friends (even my 4 year old) Santa and what they believe. Some of my kids' friends don't celebrate santa.  Do my kids feel like they've been deceived because we celebrate St. Nicholas' feast day?  Of course not. 

 

 

My kids don't literally believe that Santa Claus exists, we don't even celebrate the Cocoa Cola Santa, but share this :http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-santa/

 

My kids know that I put the presents out at night, and the chocolates in their shoes.  But they still play the game and will say, "We like it when Santa leaves our presents unwrapped" (because then they don't have to wait for DH and I to get up in the morning. ) 

 

When we read the hobbit and talk about hobbits or fairies am I lying to my child?  Or do imaginary things--that are bigger then us--have a kind of existence that is not physically perceived?  (Interestingly Duns Scotus, medieval philosopher, had interesting theories that assert exactly that. modern semiotics also shares this notion. Fiction, poetry, abstract art also touches on this as well).

 


Edit to add: 

I wonder if the "shock" of Santa not being real has to do with where the emphasis is placed... like when I was a kid, St. Nicholas was more of a spiritual holiday, and not about "getting stuff." But then, we celebrated St. Nicholas day on Dec. 6th... and Christmas really had nothing to do with Santa, or with Presents, for that matter.  It was about staying up late for midnight mass, and eating a lot of good food, seeing relative we didn't see that often.  Sure, we got presents, too!  But they weren't like piles and piles of stuff... and that certainly wasn't the focus of Christmas for us at all. 

 

In fact, Christmas as a secular holiday doesn't make any sense at all... and I do see how elves and the north pole would be confusing if it is a purely consumerist celebration of material wealth.  I think that is a bigger lie to a child then the various incarnations of the Santa Myth, or St. Nicholas leaving some chocolates in our shoes...


Edited by carmel23 - 12/12/11 at 12:00am
post #59 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post


But now do you actually sit your kids down and say, tonight a fat man will come down the chimney and give you presents?  Or is it more inferred from shared cultural experiences? I have never sat my kids down and said, "DO this tonight, because this is what happens"  Our traditions have evolved with a little bit of imagination, and bit of shared cultural experience--and our historical faith and traditions shared. 

 

I don't phrase it like that, but yes, that's what I do. That's what most people I know (the ones who do Santa) do with their kids. My kids will each have a gift under the tree that says, "From: Santa". They'll have full stockings (over full, because I'm kind of compulsive about stockings) and have been told they're from Santa. Sometimes, they leave out cookies. DS1 and dd1 are in the know, and just playing along...but ds2 still believes that Santa is real, and is literally going to visit our home.

 

Do you sit your kids down when they are reading a fairy tale, or a novel and say, "this is not a real story, it is a lie?"  Give them more credit!  My kids actively discuss with their friends (even my 4 year old) Santa and what they believe. Some of my kids' friends don't celebrate santa.  Do my kids feel like they've been deceived because we celebrate St. Nicholas' feast day?  Of course not. 

 

I don't call stories "lies".  But, I do explain that those stories are fiction, and aren't true.

 

My kids don't literally believe that Santa Claus exists, we don't even celebrate the Cocoa Cola Santa, but share this :http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-santa/

 

My kids know that I put the presents out at night, and the chocolates in their shoes.  But they still play the game and will say, "We like it when Santa leaves our presents unwrapped" (because then they don't have to wait for DH and I to get up in the morning. ) 

 

Then, you're not "doing Santa" in the way that most people mean, or in the way that I do it. I am lying to my kids, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. If I were doing what you're doing, then I wouldn't be.

 

When we read the hobbit and talk about hobbits or fairies am I lying to my child?  Or do imaginary things--that are bigger then us--have a kind of existence that is not physically perceived?  (Interestingly Duns Scotus, medieval philosopher, had interesting theories that assert exactly that. modern semiotics also shares this notion. Fiction, poetry, abstract art also touches on this as well).

 

Are you telling your kids that hobbits are real? If not, then of course you're not lying to your child.

 

You know...I've had this conversation here for a couple of years now (2 or 3, anyway), and I don't know why I have so much trouble being clear, because my views are very straightforward:

 

If one tells their children that "Santa is coming" tonight, and gives one's children gifts/stockings "from Santa", and leads one's children to believe that this is factual, and does not present this as a game, then one is lying. If one presents it as a game, and doesn't lead one's children to believe that Santa is real, then one is not lying. That's it.

For this stance, I've been accused of being nasty to moms who do Santa, because I'm accusing "them" of lying (although I've always been very clear that I do Santa, myself). I've had the nature of make believe and pretend play explained to me repeatedly. I've been asked these questions about whether reading fiction is "lying" on multiple occasions. None of that has anything to do with what I'm saying about Santa, which is...if you tell your kids that Santa is real, then you're lying to your kids, as am I. I really don't see how anyone (including my mom, which hurts my head) can reasonably argue this, without completely ignoring the definition of "lying".

 

post #60 of 63

I have not read this whole thread (will in time) but here is my pro/con list:

 

pro:

 

it is magical

it is cultural

it is fun for kids and parents

 

I think you can get still keep Christmas magical and fun without Santa - but cultural is a hard one.  Santa is a big deal for most kids in many places.  They might feel left out.  I also do not trust young kids to not let onto their friends that Santa isn't real.  Maybe your kids are more evolved than mine, but I suspect strongly my kids would have let the secret out of the bag.

 

cons:

 

Your child might be one of the few who (a recent poll on well trained mind had it at about 10-15%) felt betrayed by their parents when they found out Santa was not real.  I think not lying over and over again about Santa when asked may lessen the likelihood of feeling betrayed.

 

If you are devote Christian it may go against what you believe or want to emphasize.

 

 

In general, I do think those that do Santa should only give one gift or so from Santa (certainly as the kids age)  It avoids comparisons, they have to thank real people (their parents!) for their gifts, and it might help with the transition to no Santa.  I wish everyone would only give one gift or so from Santa- it might help those kids who only get one small gift from Santa not feel slighted by the jolly elf when their wealthier friend gets oodles from Santa.  Sadly, I am not queen of the world.

 

We do Santa.  No regrets and no one in my family or extended has felt betrayed by the whole thing as far as I know.  

 

edited to add:  of course I am lying to my kids if I say Santa brought the gift or when I write Santa on a gift tag.  I don't care   orngtongue.gif The intent is all positive, and I think my kids appreciate it.  

 

 


Edited by purslaine - 12/12/11 at 11:24am
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