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Santa, Christmas and Non-Christians

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So, my four year old son is talking about Santa Clause and Christmas a lot. It doesn't phase me... but it bugs my husband. I just say, "It's normal." When he mentions Christmas, I'll say... "Yes, Christmas is coming... but before Christmas is Eid which we celebrate. We get two Eids." My husband keeps telling him "We don't celebrate Christmas. Santa isn't real, etc." I don't think he should be telling him that, because I'm afraid that my son is going to go to his public Pre-K and tell all of his classmates that his Dad says Santa isn't real. I think that's wrong.

Anyways... how do you guys handle it?
post #2 of 10
Is your son allowed to play "pretend" about other imaginary characters? If so, would your husband be comfortable with allowing Santa as long as it was clear he was just pretend? That has worked for other families I know of.
post #3 of 10
Ds is only 2.5, but I've been telling him Santa is pretend and that some kids pretend that Santa brings them the presents on christmas, but really Mama and Daddy do it. I figure if it comes up with another kid in a few years he will already know that some kids like to pretend that Santa brings the presents, so it wont really be something he feels a need to set straight with the kid. And if he tells them that Santa is pretend, then I don't see the big deal in that. Of course I never believed in Santa as a child and had nothing but contempt for the guy, but I'm trying to be open minded to the possibility that Ds might want to pretend about Santa too one day. We aren't christian, but we aren't anything else either, so we still call it Christmas and don't mind if we bring in traditions from other belief systems, so our situation might be a bit different then yours.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Is your son allowed to play "pretend" about other imaginary characters? If so, would your husband be comfortable with allowing Santa as long as it was clear he was just pretend? That has worked for other families I know of.
That's a good idea. I have no issue with him playing pretend at all. He went through a Sporticus phase where he went around in blue snowboots, a Bob the Builder Hat, and blue shirt tucked into his underwear. It was hilarious.

I was thinking of telling him that his grandparents are Christian and perhaps Santa may leave a gift for him at their house. (Because they go all whacko for Christmas.)
post #5 of 10
I like the pretend idea too.

I am not a fan of teaching/presenting Santa as a real person who can see everything you do, delivers gifts, is at the mall, etc. I believe it's dishonest and disrespectful. Santa mania runs in my extended family so it all that stuff did get around to my kids a bit when they were really young unfortunately. (The kids and I observe a secular Christmas.) I tried to be honest but not scrooge like about it. I tried to teach how the Santa stories/character came to be and approached him as the spirit of generosity. It was confusing for them a little bit early on I think, but we worked it out.
post #6 of 10
If so, would your husband be comfortable with allowing Santa as long as it was clear he was just pretend?
That's what we do. My ds knows that Santa is pretend, but we've talked about how it's nice for other kids to enjoy pretending and he shouldn't spoil the fun for them. From what his teachers say (he goes to a Montessori), he hasn't so far.

My family is made up mostly of secular Christians (if that makes sense, lol) and Christmas is a pretty big deal. In past years, ds has had a hard time seeing the differences, understanding that we don't celebrate but do spend time with them because it's important to them, etc. I'm pretty proud of him this year---now, at 5, he talks about how we have Eid and don't celebrate Christmas. We have bought some rainbow 'Eid lights' that the kids can turn on after Maghrib; I think that a lot of the allure of Christmas is the pretty lights, decorations, etc. My ds is really enjoying incorporating similar decorations into our Eid celebration.
post #7 of 10
well if you are not going to celebrate Christmas you can't very well let him think santa is real. he would just think Santa likes everyone but him. sad.

Santa is just a fun story around here. we don't mind him hanging around but at the same time we don't get out knickers in a knot over what we will tell the kids and what of they tell and blah blah . (we do tell them some people actualy believe he is real and how they don't want to be the ones to ruin their day so please don't tell them).
post #8 of 10
Hi, umsami, as you know, we're raising our kids Muslim, and we do secular Christmas, which includes Santa Claus. We don't do the whole "Santa sees everything you do, so you better be good." We just say that Santa brings gifts to all girls and boys every year. When they're older, I plan to tell them that Santa is a symbol for Christmas spirit, which is about showing others we care about them. Really, in the US, it's easy to do Christmas secularly.

Last year, I was planning to read the story of Jesus' birth from the Qur'an to them, but it turned out to be one of those dysfunctional extended family holidays that fell apart (for other reasons). This year, I"ll try again!
post #9 of 10
Since we celebrate Yule, I've just been repeating ad nauseum every time DD mentions Christmas that Christmas is part of Yule, when Father Yule/Santa Claus brings presents to children. I also got out a lot of library books with secular Christmas stories that focus on the spirit of giving/generosity, and some on the Winter Solstice, which is the main part of our celebration.

I had taken the "we don't celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Yule" tack, but it totally wasn't working because every time you turn around there's "Christmas this" and "Christmas that" and DD is very much aware of it all.

I can only imagine it'd be that much harder if you didn't celebrate any holiday around this time of year. And with Eid moving earlier on the secular calendar every year...
post #10 of 10
We're Christian but don't plan to do the whole Santa thing, since Santa really has nothing to do with the main point of Christmas.

I'm wondering what to tell DS when he gets old enough to ask about the big fat red guy. There are some good ideas in this thread. I want to explain how the tradition got started, what it has to do with the REAL Christmas, and that he is just pretend. We will probably still do Santa socks at my parents' house but he will know the gifts are from his grandparents, not some mysterious flying reindeer dude.

If he tells other kids Santa is not real...well...is he lying to them???

Maybe I will become more concerned about that when he gets older...
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