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Do you do the whole Santa Claus thing? - Page 4

post #61 of 83

The majority of people I've talked to on this have never felt betrayed or lied to if their parents did Santa.  'Course, that might just be a random sample.

 

Has anyone ever done a study on the emotional effects of those told about Santa?

 

(No intention of bashing those who don't do Santa because I do appreciate many of the rationales, just curious).

post #62 of 83

If I saw a person dressed up as Santa, I'd say, "oh there's a person dressed up as Santa". Even when my kids believed a little bit they never believed that the mall Santas or any party Santas were the "real" Santa. He's busy at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas Eve. I'd let my kid go visit a person dressed up as Santa. Mostly mine didn't want to (shy, didn't like to talk to strangers, especially not ones dressed up funny), but one year they wanted to, so I let them. We don't do the pictures with Santa thing, though.

 

It is interesting to me how different kids approach the problem of Santa. My nephew (now grown) at 4 years old very seriously asked my sister if Santa was real. She hedged around, not wanting to burst the bubble, and he got tears in his eyes, not because Santa might not be real, but because she wasn't answering him straight. He was always a very practical little guy and he really needed to know the truth. By contrast his younger sister fervently believed up until she was 10 or 11.

 

I really find it interesting that a friend's son in middle school (6th grade) still ardently believes. She posted the other day that she wasn't sure how to deal with it. She doesn't want to burst his bubble, but she doesn't want the kids at school to either. He's a bright kid. How can he not see all the signs and ads for "stocking stuffers" or notice all the references to "playing Santa", etc?


Edited by beanma - 12/14/13 at 8:39pm
post #63 of 83
I wonder about magic shows. Do parents who so ardently uphold practical realism try to explain away the magic and point to the science and slight-of-hand, even while their child watches, slack-jawed with wonder? Are we worried about parents 'lying' about the source of the illusion?
As an adult, I'm still awed by skilled illusionists, and I like to be awed and not understand working mechanisms that make it possible.
Same with Cirque du Soleil. I'm awed by them, and I don't particularly want to know how they can do what they do.
Again, I do see this as related. Perhaps not in the way that sillysapling sees, with the whole 'creep' vibe.
But we don't play Santa up like that at all, in our house.
He doesn't actually have any more clout that the fairies that sometimes visit the fairy bower and leave a thank you note for whatever treasure our eldest left for them.

Oh! And I haven't mentioned yet that I never believed in Santa as a child. I had a very mean-spirited older brother who would repeated whisper in my infant ear that there was no Santa.
It was still fun to play along. Even was I was really young, I was happy to keep the myth going for kids my age and younger.

Carson ... I think it'd be great if you could talk to the preschool and let them know that not everyone (you, for example) does Santa and that it might be best to fall in line with current status quo and broaden their holiday celebrations. Did I interpret correctly that your DS 'couldn't' sit on his lap? Like, didn't want to? Or you didn't want him to? Or he was too overwhelmed and you set the rules to make him feel safe? I ask, because it could help the school to know that you feel strongly about this and expect them to do right by the diversity reflected in their school population.

ICM ... I *loved* your post about the fairy coins. It's so true that as a parent you do best by getting to know each of your children for who they are and what they need. And so true that folks can have the clearest of intentions when they have babies, but then find themselves reevaluating said intentions as the kids get older and grow into themselves and the parents start to build unique relationships with each one. I can think of all sort of ways that i have adjusted my thinking since actually having kids, which surprised me considering that I had such solidly held ideals beforehand. I thought I had a lot of it figured out before the trip even started -- cue grating gameshow buzzer sound -- yeah, not so much.

I think that's an especially valuable tenant of attachment parenting; coming to realize that you are parenting your own, unique children, in ways that suit them as individuals, and not even necessarily as siblings. And of course, your family values and belief system will heavily influence how you go about things as a parent, which is why so many of us have different approaches to such a common thing!
post #64 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

I wonder about magic shows. Do parents who so ardently uphold practical realism try to explain away the magic and point to the science and slight-of-hand, even while their child watches, slack-jawed with wonder? Are we worried about parents 'lying' about the source of the illusion?
As an adult, I'm still awed by skilled illusionists, and I like to be awed and not understand working mechanisms that make it possible.
Same with Cirque du Soleil. I'm awed by them, and I don't particularly want to know how they can do what they do.
Again, I do see this as related. Perhaps not in the way that sillysapling sees, with the whole 'creep' vibe.
But we don't play Santa up like that at all, in our house.
He doesn't actually have any more clout that the fairies that sometimes visit the fairy bower and leave a thank you note for whatever treasure our eldest left for them.


When I was very young I was interested in the illusion. I find it more interesting than the magic act itself. A lot of it depends on the child. Some kids want to continue believing the illusion, some want to learn how it works.

 

I think part of it is that my family has a history of the spiritual. Banshees wail when a loved one is in trouble, divination, ghosts, visits from a recently deceased loved one, things like that. I don't see the point of lying about something when there is legitimate "things beyond what we see" in our lives. And- to the person asking about the emotional effect of Santa- my dad never pushed the Santa myth. My dad has always honestly and without pressure presented his and his family's, friends' experiences as true to their experiences, never telling me that I had to experience the same thing or even necessarily believe it- and I believe him far more. My mom pushes the Santa myth even now, and I have a difficult time knowing when to believe her about the spiritual things she talks about because of it. My mother also tries to push religion on me, and has never been successful, which I do in part attribute to the pushing of the Santa myth. The realization that Santa is fake can plant seeds of doubt about the Christian God as well. If you want your children to question religion and reach their own conclusion- that may be a benefit. If you want your children to share your beliefs- it may not be.

 

 

I truly do not care if the majority do not share my experiences. They are still my experiences. My partner's are not super far off- they aren't attached to Santa, either and never were.  My children are more likely to share traits with us than with strangers on the street. I see using the Santa myth to teach religious tolerance as a far better use.

 

If any of our kids ask to sit on a mall Santa's lap, if they ask us for presents from Santa, if they want to leave milk and cookies out for him (and carrots for the reindeer!), if they choose to believe in Santa- I'm fine with that. Religious tolerance within the family is as important as tolerance of others' religions, and I'd like my kids to know that if they don't share my beliefs- I will accept them for it and respect their beliefs. I'm not fine with pushing something I don't believe in.  I'm not even fine with pushing what I do believe in!  My beliefs are personal and if my kids' don't share them or have different beliefs, that's fine by me.

post #65 of 83
Quote:

Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post

 

 My mom pushes the Santa myth even now, and I have a difficult time knowing when to believe her about the spiritual things she talks about because of it. My mother also tries to push religion on me, and has never been successful, which I do in part attribute to the pushing of the Santa myth. The realization that Santa is fake can plant seeds of doubt about the Christian God as well. If you want your children to question religion and reach their own conclusion- that may be a benefit. If you want your children to share your beliefs- it may not be.

 

 

Treading lightly because I can't speak for religious or spiritual people but I have had some friends who I think don't do these types of myths because there are other unknowables/issues of faith that they care deeply about instilling in their kids. 

 

As someone who doesn't really have much interest in the metaphysical, there really isn't any need to not participate in fantasy to preserve my child's faith in believing what I say during times of questioning. I'm not attached to her belief or disbelief in anything. 

 

I agree that Santa and other Christmas celebrations are a good way to discuss tolerance, diversity and etc. For us, we do that by talking about who celebrates what and, like I said up thread, we always ask first if friends "do Santa" or not, even if we know they're pretty mainstream Christian.  I still think it's polite to not assume and I model that for my DC.  DC knows our reasons for celebrating a Christian holiday even though we're not Christian. 

 

I mean, the fact that Santa isn't celebrated in everyone's homes is a PRETTY good indication that most kids have a good understanding that this is a myth. I think that's another component for me when it comes to the whole honesty thing. I really, really think my DC was playing along from the beginning. 

 

post #66 of 83
How can an intelligent older child still believe in Santa despite all the signs? They are smart enough to come up with possible explanations for how it "really works." Maybe the parents stuffed the stockings but the presents were really from Santa. Or the mall Santas were just fake ones but the real one is magical and lives at the north poll. Are all the people who wonder this aetheists? Because I would not mock or disrespect someone's religion, but privately I might wonder how such a smart person believes in that.
post #67 of 83

Starling & Diesel wrote:

Quote:
 I wonder about magic shows. Do parents who so ardently uphold practical realism try to explain away the magic and point to the science and slight-of-hand, even while their child watches, slack-jawed with wonder? Are we worried about parents 'lying' about the source of the illusion?
As an adult, I'm still awed by skilled illusionists, and I like to be awed and not understand working mechanisms that make it possible.

My child's father and HIS father are magicians, as a hobby, and the family used to do a big Halloween production involving magic tricks and special effects.  The last one was when my son was 10 months old.  He sat on my lap watching rehearsals.  When something impossible happened, he would say, "Ohhh!!!" and look to me for explanation.  I would narrate what we saw, rather than what really happened: "She disappeared!"  He saw people setting up effects and heard some discussion of how they worked, but at that age it's unclear how much it sank in.  I did notice that he was pleased to see the items and people that disappeared, burned up, etc. restored for the next rehearsal and that after a few repetitions, he no longer showed concern over their fate.

 

A few months later, he was persistently picking up a battery and wanting to chew on it, so his father "made it disappear".  Baby kept looking for it for a LONG time!  Although he had "seen" it vanish, he knew that sort of thing could be done yet the object still existed somewhere, so he looked for it.  His guesses about where it might be were not very logical, but he kept looking.

 

Once he could talk, he began analyzing every onstage trick he saw, and when he started watching TV he was disappointed to be told that most of the impossible things we see onscreen these days are done not by interesting trickery but by animation.  He can't see something like The Nutcracker without talking about how do they do the mechanical dolls, turn the toy nutcracker into the prince, etc. ***BUT*** he has learned to respect that Mama does not know how all these tricks are done and would rather not hear Daddy explain it, and that there are other people who do not want to hear you speculate on how it's done because they want to see it as "magic" even though they know it's not.  We talk about this attitude as a difference of opinion to be respected, not as if those people are dupes.

post #68 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Are all the people who wonder this aetheists? Because I would not mock or disrespect someone's religion, but privately I might wonder how such a smart person believes in that.

I don't feel confused about why a kid would believe in Santa. I do think that for a lot of kids there is a certain level of cooperation for the sake of believing in the myth. Obviously it depends on the kid and the age of the kid. Because my kid is pretty willing to go along with fantasy (she currently believes in ghosts, at 12 and participates in Santa for the fun of it), I am interested in kids who question this stuff. I think it's kind of cool. I'd love to see a study on the belief in fantasy a later adult interests. 

 

I do think it's pretty important to not call anyone's customs or beliefs stupid or the result of a gullible person. I will tell my DC if I think a belief system (or some moral thing that comes from that) feel wrong to me and why but in general I think humans be be pretty darned ethnocentric when it comes to thinking other people's beliefs are silly. I mean, all of them are silly if they are framed from the perspective of a lack of respect. 

post #69 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroads View Post
 

The majority of people I've talked to on this have never felt betrayed or lied to if their parents did Santa.  'Course, that might just be a random sample.

 

Has anyone ever done a study on the emotional effects of those told about Santa?

 

(No intention of bashing those who don't do Santa because I do appreciate many of the rationales, just curious).

I have only ever see this on here - NEVER in real life - frankly the complete opposite I find to be true!

 

I know several who feel their parents didn't do enough with the whole Santa thing and they tend to be the ones that do it overboard now for their children! I have never meet anyone who did not look at what their parents did as in anyway lying or betraying them, no one is devastated like what I read, everyone looks at is a great and wonderful part of what their parents and grandparents did to add to their childhood memories. I know no one that even links it with religion or connects the two, it's viewed as a very fun part of childhood and holds special meanings in the religious and atheists I know.

 

I do see with many new parents they live in this illusion of thought where they tend to think their children will hold their ardant view points when they are adults - in most cases they rebel the opposite and to the extreme.

Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

 Are all the people who wonder this atheists?  Because I would not mock or disrespect someone's religion, but privately I might wonder how such a smart person believes in that.

Many could say the exact same about people who believe a for religious reasons.

 

IRL I find atheists enjoy the "Christmas season" the most vs "religious" people.

post #70 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

IRL I find atheists enjoy the "Christmas season" the most vs "religious" people.

Most of the atheists I know in real life are quietly biding their time until malls and other shopping areas are "safe" to enter again without the hustle and fuss of the holidays.
post #71 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post


Most of the atheists I know in real life are quietly biding their time until malls and other shopping areas are "safe" to enter again without the hustle and fuss of the holidays.

That's EVERYONE I know. :rotflmao

post #72 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post


Most of the atheists I know in real life are quietly biding their time until malls and other shopping areas are "safe" to enter again without the hustle and fuss of the holidays.

Lots of us had bought year round (we were done weeks ago with the exception of things that only go on sale right before) …….a side from some baking, we just relax this time of year and enjoy! So unlike others we know that are stressed out or depressed.

post #73 of 83

That's the same for us, Serenbat. The vast majority of gifts that I give are hand-made. I do get a few things but our city has a lot of options for pleasant holiday shopping (craft markets and etc.). Also, for whatever reason most of the locally owned shops around us are still relatively mellow during the holidays. I said up thread that our family really does exchange a lot of gifts but it isn't "a lot" in terms of quantity - more like nice, quality stuff. That can be hard on the wallet (not for us since we make ours) but it isn't really a stressful shopping experience like what you read about on the news. Myself and my friends and family are also guilty of a bit of online shopping. Certainly complicated in terms of ethical shopping...but it sure is easy!  I don't feel like this is a religious (or lack there of) divide. I'm sure Walmart on black Friday was filed with all kinds. Someone could stand outside and take a survey but I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt. :p

post #74 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

How can an intelligent older child still believe in Santa despite all the signs? ...Are all the people who wonder this aetheists? 

 

Ahhh, but belief in Santa is very different from religion, or do you know adults who truly believe in Santa still? Belief in a physical, magical being named Santa Claus who comes to people's houses on Christmas Eve and delivers gifts (as opposed to Santa, the spirit of Christmas, or St Nicholas) is something pretty much everyone grows out of. In contrast, plenty of adults are very dedicated to their various religions, yet I don't know of any adults who actually believe in a magic Santa. It's just not true. 

 

I think that's what this whole thread is about — do you participate in the fantasy of Santa, even though we all, as adults, know that it's not true and how do you deal with that untruth/fantasy/magicalthinking with your kids. 

 

I am surprised that a bright middle school child would still believe. He's got to be on the far end of the spectrum on that one. I can see it going through late elementary school, but I think by middle school most kids have figured it out.

 

I made a poll! http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1394454/how-long-did-you-and-yours-believe-in-santa

post #75 of 83

I'm glad so many of you are Santa -free, I grew up in a family that didn't do any of that, santa, easter bunny, ect, and I was the only kid in my town who didn't. Now I have met a few other families, but only a few. For me, I feel really strongly about it, I try to be honest with DD as much as I can, so I would never tell her that Santa was real. I have just told her he is someone some people like to pretend about at christmas.  I personally think santa is more something the adults do for themselves than for the kids. Kids will love Christmas just as much without Santa, it is the adults that focus on it until the kids are convinced it's a big thing.

I have a question for everyone who doesn't do Santa, how do you deal with people talking to your kids as if santa is real? it has been happening a lot and is starting to really annoy me. Sometimes I feel like I have to be "in the closet" abut it because people get SOOOO upset at the idea that I could be depriving my kid of Santa, which is kinda ironic given my reason for being santa-free.

post #76 of 83
Well growing up we were told about Santa and had presents from Santa. I'm 27 now SNF my parents still haven't come out and said he's a myth. I don't think I remember ever actually believing in him for real but I loved the ides of him all the same. I loved the story of him and dreaming about the elves, beautiful north pile ect... Because of that I want to continue on with Santa. But I feel like it's wrong in a lot of ways. When I think about it on s larger picture I feel like there are so many other creative and beautiful things I could do with my daughter that is just as magical as sants , but wouldnt be based on just receiving ptesents.
post #77 of 83
Quote:
 I have a question for everyone who doesn't do Santa, how do you deal with people talking to your kids as if santa is real?

I just let it go and smile.  Sometimes my son chooses to object, sometimes not.  I never worried that he would be confused or misled by these people but that he would either think they were pretending or feel that they were condescending to him presuming he believed.  (He has a keen sense of when people are talking down to him!  Sometimes he thinks they are when I don't.)  Occasionally we've been in a situation where an adult says to him, "Ooh, and what did Santa bring you this year?" and he kind of rolls his eyes and looks to me for help; my response then is, "We don't put our names on our stocking gifts, so you could say those are from Santa.  Tell her what you got in your stocking."

post #78 of 83

As someone who does Santa and loves that tradition for our home - I'd like to say that I think it's ridiculous in this day-in-age to assume that families participate in this myth. I'm going to start taking note of whether people make those sorts of assumptions towards my DC and will point out to her why I think that's unfortunate. 

post #79 of 83

DW did Santa with our older girls, that was started before I came along so I didn't have a say in that. DD1 did not mind when she realized Santa wasn't real and was happy to "play Santa" for her little sister. DD2 was PISSED when she found out that Santa was not real. I think she was 9. She was FURIOUS with us for lying to her. The way her mind works is very literal. She has forgiven us now. I think the age kids are when you start doing Santa it is hard to predict how they will handle it when they find out it is pretend or symbolic.


This is the baby's first Xmas. We are not Christian but we celebrate Christmas because it is a family holiday (we visit extended family and celebrate with them--most of whom are Christian). I would like to celebrate Solstice, that's what I did before I joined the family, and I'd like to bring that in a little more. I do think we'll do Santa for the baby. I grew up with Santa and I LOVED believing in Santa. I would swear up and down that I believed in Santa (well, maybe not to classmates bc I didn't want to get teased more than I already did) all the way into my preteen years. Even after that (and even now) I don't like saying that I don't believe in Santa. LOL. I like to pretend to believe in Santa--my Santa was always the one from "Miracle on 34th St" and "Polar Express." I never was bothered when I realized that Santa was not real, but more a symbol of the Spirit of Giving. I think that is how I would present Santa if asked about him. Aside from Santa, we do the "Switch Witch" on Halloween (they trade half their candy for a useful gift) and the Tooth Fairy and the Ostara Bunny (the tales of Oestre and the bunny predate Easter). During Xmas we talk about family and the spirit of giving and also the winter solstice. The tooth fairy celebrates growing older. During Halloween we talk about our ancestors, but the kids also dress up and have fun with trick-or-treating and the Switch Witch is just another example of a friendly witch. During Ostara, we talk about springtime and renewal and read stories about Oestre and the bunny rabbit, or other Ostara tales. I encourage belief in magical things, and however my child believes or doesn't believe is okay with me. DD2 is so literal she does not believe in much that she can't see or can't be explained scientifically. I, however, have had Otherworldly experiences and firmly believe in magic and that *anything* is possible. :)dust.gif

post #80 of 83

I have to add--I do realize that "Miracle on 34th St." paints parents who don't do Santa as somewhat cold and strict. I want to say for the record, I do not think this is true! It is simply a childhood favorite of mine. :) I was really willing to believe as a child and that Santa was a sweet, funny, compassionate, kind and magical old dude. I will never forget the scene when he is teaching the girl to make-believe she is a monkey!! So funny. But I have NO PROBLEM with people not doing Santa. I understand that viewpoint. For me, it is a tradition from my childhood I look back upon fondly, and would like to continue for my little one.

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