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#1 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please help me process through this. 

 

I was raised Catholic by a very strict and rigid family.  Christmas was a huge consume-y extravaganza with a lot of Church. And a lot of "Santa is watching you.  Be good."  I believed in Santa for a very long time, loved the stories and TV specials.  I started questioning my religion as a teen, and had rejected the Catholic Church by High School, much to my mother's dismay.  Now,  I would say my beliefs are a blend of New Age and Humanism.  I also am big on ritual and tradition, and DH and I have spent 15 years together creating family rituals specific to us - we have plenty of Winter traditions, we do put up a tree for example...but not having a child until now ...we never really sorted out SANTA.

 

DH was one of 3 non Jewish kids in his entire Elementary School, so Christmas obviously was not a big part of his community and he says that he can't remember ever believing in Santa.  He says he would have been laughed out of school.  His family celebrated Christmas, sans church - and he equates Santa with a fictional character...."like Elmo" (his words)

 

DS is 2. We are trying to figure out how our family will handle the Holidays.  Our community is diverse, but most of his friends (the children of moms that I met in pre-natal yoga mostly) "do" Santa.  Now that I think about it, all but one are Christian!  So guess, not that diverse.... We are one of the few AP families that I know.  We are the only vegetarian family in our circles.  I mention this stuff, because in many ways DS is already the odd man out socially.

 

Here is what I am struggling with.  It feels really weird to lie to my son. As much as I love Christmastime, it just. feels. weird.  But.  (And it's a big but) he just turned 2 Oct 7, so in so many ways, he is a baby, attached to me; maybe I am too close to see him as the little boy, excited about the magical holiday that he will be soon....but he is a citizen of the world and more specifically of his community and 1. Do I want to deny him of the magic?   2..ESP when we operate left of the mainstream in so much of our life - am I taking away something kind of Universal about childhood?  3.  OY.  Our families will pitch a fit. 

 

I kind of like DHs experience.  Santa wasn't a huge thing - just something his family did among other seasonal stuff, kind of acknowledging that it was all pretend, and all going along with it....but I think he had that experience in part because he was growing up in a Jewish enclave.  DS is not having that experience.

 

For the life of me, I don't know how to NOT do Santa, if that makes sense....my own experience is so limited.

 

If we do "do Santa" there will be one gift on Xmas morning.  We will talk about the story of Jesus' birth, as we will talk about lots of stories from lots of religions all year long.  Perhaps we will celebrate Solstice and exchange family gifts then, and make the season about giving more than receiving....

 

I am sorry for the ramble.  I could really use some insight.  Can we discuss the pros and cons of doing Santa?

 

TIA

 

 

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#2 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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Mostly I am just subbing as I don't really have anything constructive to add.  DS is 3.5 and we've managed to avoid Santa talk up to this point.  I think what we're planning on doing is presenting Santa as a fictional character...like Elmo ;).  I'd like him to have some of the magic of pretending/telling stories, etc. about Santa without lying to him.  It just doesn't sit well with me. 

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#3 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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APToddlerMama, please tell me how you avoid Santa talk?  It's not even Halloween and I have already heard one Mama on the playground mention Santa, "maybe Santa will bring you that tricycle" ....

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#4 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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We never did Santa with our kids. But if you send them to public school it creeps in. You have to tell them that Santa is a fairy tale and some families like to pretend he's real... so you coach your kids into not spoiling the secret for others. As far as I know, my kids never told.


It helps that we used to travel with our kids at holiday time. They always came back to school with postcards and tokens of places they'd visited and so were able to re-direct the "what did santa bring you" talk.

We do solstice. A big soup and solstice party with our friends and neighbors at Dec 21st. No presents. A tiny potted tree covered with suns. A bonfire and candlelight.

No shopping.
No crowds.
No drama over presents given or received.
No rushing.

Just warmth and light and the company of fine friends.
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#5 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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I don't know if I have any suggestions, but I can empathize. Christmas and Santa were a huge freaking deal in my family growing up. HUGE. My mom went over the top with holiday decorations, baking, etc. and then Christmas day itself was almost unbearably exciting with some many little rituals to build up the anticipation of Santa, and then finally getting a huge pile of gifts!

 

At this point in my life, I have so many conflicting feelings about it all. It really was very exciting & fun as a kid to have the holidays turned into such a production. And my mom was wonderful at it, and since she died in 1998, I have found that the rosy glow around my memories of her are stronger than my memories of the stress/difficulty surrounding her devotion to the holidays. I wish my mom were around to give my DD a taste of what that kind of Christmas is all about, but there's no way I can re-create it for her. Not that I'd want to! The holidays totally stress me out, in part because I always feel myself falling short of those high expectations! And I'm really trying to forge a less materialistic, less frantic lifestyle for my DD.

 

So. DD is only 3, and we've gotten through 3 Christmases just fine. We focus on traveling to visit family and doing family gifts, but really focusing more on sharing food, singing, hanging out together. I find the holidays mostly fun & manageable, even with my DP's family. We've mostly avoided Santa talk.

 

But this year DD is in school, so I expect things to change. I'm not sure how. I just know that she's got a whole new set of influences in her life, and peer culture is a powerful thing.

 

Anyway, I will continue to read with interest to find out how things are working out for you!


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#6 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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I have this problem as well, in a major way.  I grew up with the whole nine yards myself, got in a fistfight defending Santa's authenticity in the 2nd or 3rd grade, and was OUTRAGED to discover that I had been fully in the wrong and lied to by my own mother.  My two sisters never felt this way.  My oldest sister was very touched when she found out that Mum had bought all those presents over the years, because we grew up in a single-parent family with very tight finances. 

When I was 18 I started converting to Judaism (for totally unrelated reasons obviously), spent many years observing orthodox ways here and in Israel, and eventually grew dissillusioned with it to the point that I stopped almost all observances (I still cannot bring myself to eat pork or shellfish for example), married a lapsed Catholic, and did not circumcize my son (now 22 mos). 

My DH thinks that all the 'regular' holidays are just fun for kids, with no harm in them, and definately to be shared with DS.  I of course see them all as christian holidays, even the parts that are not truly part of chrisitan religion.  Although I no longer practice Judaism, the sense of having firmly rejected christianity is very strong, but at the same time, I don't really have a Jewish leg to stand anymore either. 

Before DS, we never observed Xmas in any way except to visit with family for dinner.  Last year we did buy a small potted tree as a compromise.  This is the first year we will have to deal with Santa, and I dread it immensly.  I am already reluctantly allowing Halloween dressing up, which also brings the whole candy problem, argh.

Phew. what a tirade.

Maybe I can talk him into Solstice as a truly non-denominational alternative....

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#7 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

We never did Santa with our kids. But if you send them to public school it creeps in. You have to tell them that Santa is a fairy tale and some families like to pretend he's real... so you coach your kids into not spoiling the secret for others. As far as I know, my kids never told.

Same with us.  We are very "religious" and celebrate Christmas but we've never told them to believe in Santa.  We talked about Santa in a very casual way and it's a fun story in our house.  It wasn't a big deal either way until last Christmas when my kindy-aged daughter was convinced there was a Santa because classmates had convinced her so.  I tried to say there wasn't but after a few times of her breaking down sobbing and saying "Yes, he is real!"  I let it go and didn't try to convince her he wasn't real.  That notion went away after a few weeks and it went back to the way it was before.

 

And I can see where CI Mama is coming from.  I enjoy "the holidays" but I don't like to focus on that time in a huge way.  We do a tree for the kids and exchange gifts but I don't want it to be a build-up and explosion thing.  I just like the idea that we can all treat each other with care and respect every single day of the year.

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#8 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lemontree View Post

APToddlerMama, please tell me how you avoid Santa talk?  It's not even Halloween and I have already heard one Mama on the playground mention Santa, "maybe Santa will bring you that tricycle" ....



Lol.  Well so far this year it has been easy because I've been hospitalized for weeks in PTL, so we're not at any playgrounds.  Last year, DS was 2.5 and does have some speech delays, etc. so any talk of Santa totally went over his head.  As far as relatives bringing it up a few times last year, we just said things like "yeah, it IS fun to play pretend and talk about Santa."  DS had no clue what was going on, but at least it was a heads up for them.

 

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#9 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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We do Santa, because I love it. (So far, two of my kids have figured it all out - ds1 a looooonnnng time ago, as he's 18 - and they've been fine with it.) But, I don't think it's an essential part of it, if a person doesn't want to do it. If you want to, but don't like the lying part, why not just present Santa as a fictional being, and then make the stockings or a gift or whatever "from Santa". It can still be fun, even when everyone's in the know. My mom's done a few "Santa" gifts over the years (at least, I know one of them was mom, and I think the others were), even since we became adults.


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#10 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ma Cactus View Post

< Maybe I can talk him into Solstice as a truly non-denominational alternative....

http://www.amazon.com/Solstice-Tree-Jenny-Search-Future/dp/1573929301

My dh was raised Jewish.. I was at the knees of fundie parents and felt lied to at an early age. The solstice thing is very healing for me. As far a the "soup and solstice" thing I throw.. I think I invented it. And its a huge hit with our multi-cultural neighbors who don't always understand the hustle and oddness of the American xmas experience.
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#11 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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We "do" Santa here too.  I have so much fun with it!  Like pps I remember the excitement and "magic" of Christmas very fondly.  I had no disappointment or sense of breaking-of-trust when I learned that Santa wasn't real.  I guess I "got it" that Santa is a thing that little kids believe in (that parents "play" with little kids), and now that I'm big I'm "in on it".  We continued to "do Santa" though even once I knew.  We would still put out stockings, and milk and cookies on Christmas eve and everything.  It was just fun pretend.  And I also enjoyed being in on the stocking stuffing once I got older.

 

For whatever it's worth I wasn't raised with any religion, and I still am not religious.

 


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#12 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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I'm Catholic. We did Santa when I was growing up. I'm the youngest and for years I pretended to believe in Santa. I was afraid if told my parents I knew there was no Santa I would stop getting so many presents at Christmas (since "Santa" brought so many).

 

With my kids I'm not doing Santa per se, but I'm not bursting their bubble and saying he isn't real. We don't play up Santa. Basically, I'm going to do what I'd normally do for Christmas. If other people play up Santa to my kids, I don't care. If he believes, fine, if not, no biggie. If he asks me if there is a Santa, I'll ask what he thinks, and go from there. I'm not going to convince him one way or the other about him. That's at least our plan so far.

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#13 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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I had a similar experience to another poster where I did not take it well that santa was not real. I was crushed. We have never done Santa. My oldest child is in 3rd grade now and is 8, 9 right after x-mas. It honestly has never been an issue, ever. When she was younger, we presented santa as a fictional character like dora and that was that for years. When she was 5-6 then we started talking about how some people believed santa was a real person. She knows (or knew, I doubt many in her class still think he is real) to play along like he is real and not to reveal the secret to other kids. I never coached her on what to say but rather we just had discussions about how upsetting it would to tell other children, she chose to play along if adults asked her about santa. DD1 has always been a very literal child, her world is black or white, shades of grey do not exist for her. I did ask her last x-mas if she thought she missed out because we did not do santa, she didn't think so and was glad that we had never done it. We also elect out of the tooth fairy and easter bunny as well. DD2 turns 5 this weekend and is more much into fantasy play. She does pretend santa is real just like she pretends she is a princess or fairy. She isn't really aware yet that kids think santa is real but she is also of the age where most days she thinks she really is princess as well. 

 

I've yet to meet another family locally that doesn't do santa except for religious reasons. I have always been surprised by that actually. I doubted my decision the first couple years but now I am firmly ok with it. I couldn't of gone through with the pretense of santa. It still feels very unsettling to me. 

 

ETA: you mentioned that your fmaily wouldn't understand. My family lives locally and is very involved in our lives. I elected not to mention it for years. I don't think they realized until last year that we don't do santa. I didn't take the angle of keeping it from them but rather, "oh gosh, you thought we did santa? Of course we don't!". and moving on. 


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#14 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 08:54 PM
 
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We also elect out of the tooth fairy and easter bunny as well. I couldn't of gone through with the pretense of santa. It still feels very unsettling to me. 

Yep, no easter bunny or tooth fairy here, either.

I felt very angry and betrayed by the parents lying about santa thing. I figured if they lied about all those things, ... santa, the tooth fairy and the easter bunny... that their god must be imaginary, too.
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#15 of 63 Old 10-20-2011, 09:56 PM
 
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We "do" Santa here too.  I have so much fun with it!  Like pps I remember the excitement and "magic" of Christmas very fondly.  I had no disappointment or sense of breaking-of-trust when I learned that Santa wasn't real.  I guess I "got it" that Santa is a thing that little kids believe in (that parents "play" with little kids), and now that I'm big I'm "in on it".  We continued to "do Santa" though even once I knew.  We would still put out stockings, and milk and cookies on Christmas eve and everything.  It was just fun pretend.  And I also enjoyed being in on the stocking stuffing once I got older.

 


 

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#16 of 63 Old 10-21-2011, 04:33 PM
 
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My family "did" Santa growing up but I don't think I ever truly believed, not much after very early childhood anyway. My mother, bless her, has still refused to admit there is no Santa even though I turn 30 later this week so I never really had that moment of feeling parental betrayal. There was a whole big deal about it when I started taking on Christmas responsibilities like baking, like I was "in on it," and I liked that.

 

We "do" Santa now with our Christmas-obsessed two year old but I don't really try and convince her any of it is truly real. For instance, I wouldn't come right out and say that Santa is bringing her presents since that involves a pretty big lie but I do read Twas the Night Before Christmas. I wouldn't tell DD to go to bed on Christmas Eve so Santa could come but we do plenty of Santa crafts. Now that I am trying to describe this I see I have given myself a very fine line...


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#17 of 63 Old 10-21-2011, 04:49 PM
 
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Wow! It's like I've been looking for this thread all my life!! 

 

I grew up Christian but without Santa as a literal thing. I raised my DD1 with Santa, just because my ex-husband felt very strongly about it. Am now remarried, have put my foot down, and DD2 will be raised thinking that Santa is a fun guy related to Christmas, which we don't really celebrate, but Grandmom & Grandpop do. Even if we did, I would introduce it as a fun figurative idea. I mean really, I have met Christians, Atheists, Jews, who have acted like I am a criminal because I don't want to teach my kids that SANTA REALLY EXISTS. Truly!
 

It's just such a problem to combat the psychosis and the consumerism. My inlaws are really into giving 1000 gifts on a complete overload and I get really annoyed every year. We try to talk to them about it and they are just in denial that DH/we are doing things our own way. Ironically for them, when DH discovered Santa was a big lie, he decided God was too. Hilarious. I mean, regardless of belief system, you have to think about the effects of lying to your kids! I agree with many of you big time on that one.

 

Meanwhile, like one person above, we celebrate Solstice. We started it last year after much concentration on what we wanted. It was divine. We took elements we loved (magic, family, warmth, fire, lights, good food, music, a tree), added some more stuff, and ditched the rest. Basically we get either an evergreen tree or - this year - we're going to create a tree out of fallen branches from this beautiful curly branched tree we have, and decorate it. We do presents, but not in the extreme. We have a yule log onto which we attach notes we all write - together and/or privately - hopes, fears, dreams, ideas, things we want to let go of, we even sit late the night before talking to the log (it was great! crazy but therapeutic) and then we burn it in a big bonfire in the afternoon. In the evening we had a special fancy tapas meal by candlelight with a few friends over. We took DD1 out of school for the day, which is annoying to me to have to do, but it was worth it to make it 'real'. 

 

 

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#18 of 63 Old 10-22-2011, 04:55 AM
 
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We do Santa, and tooth fairy and Easter bunny. Ds loves it.  It' part of our traditions as a family. He's looking forward to all these rituals.

 

But it's not about the money or the presents. He gets $2 / tooth from the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny brings only chocolate eggs (no gifts) and we have a set amount of money for Santa's gifts.

Also, we don't threaten ds that Santa "is watching", he doesn't need to be good in order to earn his presents.

We don't make up stories about Santa. I think ds already knows it's pretend, and loves to pretend as well.

 

You can still keep the magic and take out the consumerism and icky part out of it.


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#19 of 63 Old 10-22-2011, 05:44 AM
 
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I'm big into the imagination.  Believing in things for the fun of it.  I don't like the use of Santa Claus as tool to garner good behavior though.  My parents loved to do that on. 

 

We have a neighbor who dresses up like Santa every year and decorates his house.  My girls have been his front yard elves for years.  He finally has two grandsons and he's gotten them into the mix as well.  Every year his wife sends him over on christmas eve to give my girls their gifts.  My girls believe he's the real Santa.  I've never said he was, I've always said "you just never know".  

 

I let them believe in the magic, why not?  I have told them before that someday they won't believe in these things anymore and the excitement and magic will be gone.  DD1 told me that a girl at school told her that her parents give her all her gifts.  There is no Santa, no Easter Bunny, no toothfairy...  DD1 decided her mom gives her all her gifts because when you stop believing the magic goes away and your parents will have to take over the gift giving so that you won't feel left out. 

 

If my kids keep dreaming and believing I'm okay with that.  I was the same way.  I was never angry when I found out all that jazz wasn't true.  My mom always said that parents make up the magic so that their kids can dream bigger.  That was good enough for me. 

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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post  My mom always said that parents make up the magic so that their kids can dream bigger. 


 

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#21 of 63 Old 10-22-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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Now that I've got a son of my own, I've been wondering about this very question as well. When I was growing up, we did Santa but my sister and I knew at a pretty young age he wasn't an actual person flying through the sky in a sleigh and dropping down chimneys. My mom always presented Santa (in all of his traditional trappings) as the spirit of giving and kindness - kind of like, we can all be Santa, all of the time. Santa is doing something nice for the people that you love, or people that have less than you (even when you have nothing). To be perfectly honest, my mom was not a very good parent and we're estranged now for a variety of reasons, but I do have to give her credit - this was one of her best moments and a great lesson that she taught my sister and I. 

 

The actual execution of it stumps me a bit - up until a certain age when I was a kid, all of the gifts tags said "From: Santa" on them, but I'm not sure we will do that our house. Maybe just one or two labeled that way to illustrate the spirit of it? I'd like our son to know that we've selected gifts for him because we want to give him something, since meaningful gift exchange is important to us. We'd also like to do the cookies for Santa tradition since that was something fun to do as well, but I'm not sure how we'll structure that one either... 

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#22 of 63 Old 10-22-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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Since the "big lie" effect on children has come up (understandably), I'm going to summarize my conclusions after years of being involved in these discussions on MDC. I think there are a few aspects of "doing Santa" that increase/decrease the odds of a child feeling really betrayed by their parents:

 

1) If the parents use Santa as a carrot and stick combo to enforce good behaviour, it seems to increase the odds that their child will feel betrayed upon discovering that Santa was really mom and dad. This makes sense to me, as well, as it takes a simple lie (and I'm actually usually extremely honest with my kids, but I make an exception for Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny...just as my generally very honest mom did with us) and turns it into a manipulative tactic. People don't like being lied to, but I think most people like being manipulated even less.

 

2) If the parents don't respect a child's own progress through the Santa myth, the child seems to be more likely to end up feeling betrayed. At some point, children become ready to hear the truth. IMO and ime, when a child starts asking if Santa is real, the answer, "yes, he is" isn't appropriate. Some people handle it with the "no, sweetie, he's not" approach, and some use the "what do you think?" approach. With my two oldest (ds2 still believes in Santa), we went through a year or two of "what do you think?" being answered with "I think he's real", and I left it at that. As soon as my child says "I think you and dad are really Santa", then I admit they're right. I think trying to convince a child over their own doubts and thoughts about it, makes them feel disrespected, and betrayed.

 

3) Pushing Santa really hard seems to add to the effect. Adding extras - glitter on the floors, bites out of the cookies/carrots/mincemeat tarts, sooty footprints (do people really do this? I can't imagine the mess) is fine, but I think it helps to leave some holes. DD1 put the whole thing together last year. I think one of the reasons she put it all together is that i was out shopping "for Christmas" a lot, and had a lot of packages delivered to the door, and there just weren't enough gifts from me to explain it all. She put it together that there were these really full stockings (I freely admit to being a bit unbalaned on the subject of stockings, and I go waaayyyy overboard), and put two and two together. I think that when parents get into really intricate levels of deception, it adds to a child feeling betrayed and foolish.

 

Anyway - just my two bits, based on my observations here over the years. I didn't realize how many people felt betrayed over the Santa thing until I came to MDC, but most of the families I knew were pretty laidback in their approach.

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#23 of 63 Old 10-22-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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Like Storm Bride, I've never gone to great lengths to leave footprints or 'evidence' of Santa. We never went to see Santa. We certainly never used Santa as a threat to hold over our kids for good behavior.  I don't like that sort of coercion.

 

Both my kids figured out about age 7 that we played Santa. Like Storm Bride, when they first started to ask, I'd say "what do you think?" That went on for 6-12 months. When my kids asked me outright if I was Santa, I told them the truth: Yes, we were. It was a role we played. Ds asked me why I did that (he is my why kid!) and I told him that it was fun to pretend to be magical. My dd was actually thrilled to find out. "So, you're the one who picked out those things?" "How did you get those sweaters for my animals?" "I knit them." (She was highly impressed.) She took it just as I had intended it - it's a sign of our love for them and it's fun to pretend.

 

I asked her this year if, since she knows the truth about Santa, we should skip the whole Santa routine. Her answer? A resounding "No!" Now it's just a fun tradition.

 

I wonder if some of the feelings of betrayal might come from other areas in a child's relationship with their parents. I never felt betrayed, even though my older sisters did actually try to create evidence of Santa (I was the youngest, and they wanted me to believe to make Christmas more fun). My kids haven't felt betrayed. We pretend lots of things in our family. If I can take a tour of the 'fire station' and the 'fire trucks' (our bedroom and our bed, respectively), they can handle a little pretend from my end. It didn't lead to betrayal. In fact, they felt some relief, since both were somewhat freaked out by the whole "home invasion" aspect of Santa (and the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny). Actually, if there's any reason not to do Santa, in my eyes, it might be that.

 

If a family decides they don't want to do Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, for religious or ethical reasons, that's fine. But I don't think there's a blanket answer for every family. If you view it as a fun tradition and want to continue it, why not?

 


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#24 of 63 Old 10-22-2011, 10:09 PM
 
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I have to say that for myself, honestly, I have never equated Santa with lying.  I think Santa is all about the magic of childhood.  He is a modern myth that embodies kindness and the spirit of doing for others and of giving (though I know that's not universally true, but it is in our house--we do not have any of that "be good or else you get nothing" business and no spying elves-on-the-fireplace stuff).  I know I believed in Santa when I was a kid and honestly couldn't tell you when or how I discovered he didn't exist--apparently his being fake was a non-issue in my life, even though I'm equally certain I still believed in him at least until was 7 or 8 and since I had 2 little brothers, was required to keep up the act until I was much older.  I liked being "in" on the Santa thing with my parents once I was no longer a personal believer and helping to set up Santa for my brothers.


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#25 of 63 Old 10-23-2011, 04:55 AM
 
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Up until recently Santa was or anyone else was not actually allowed in the house.  DD2 didnt like the idea and asked us to meet them all at the door.  She didn't want them in her room.  DD1 wasn't too concerned because she always saw the neighbor dressed in his santa gear coming by on Christmas eve.  She's a sneaky little one.  So she felt comfortable with him. 

 

Since this was brought up here I asked my girls if they truly believed in Santa.  DD1 said she did, but she new all the other ones were fakes.  And DD2 said that she wasn't sure.  Santa's too fat to fit down our chimeny, since she stuffed a huge Barney doll up there and now he's stuck... so... nope he probably has to use the door.

 

1.  Check the Chimney

2.  Does she believe in him then?

 

By the way I think she made the Barney doll part up.  I don't see him up there.  However I wouldn't doubt she considered doing it. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Like Storm Bride, I've never gone to great lengths to leave footprints or 'evidence' of Santa. We never went to see Santa. We certainly never used Santa as a threat to hold over our kids for good behavior.  I don't like that sort of coercion.

 

Both my kids figured out about age 7 that we played Santa. Like Storm Bride, when they first started to ask, I'd say "what do you think?" That went on for 6-12 months. When my kids asked me outright if I was Santa, I told them the truth: Yes, we were. It was a role we played. Ds asked me why I did that (he is my why kid!) and I told him that it was fun to pretend to be magical. My dd was actually thrilled to find out. "So, you're the one who picked out those things?" "How did you get those sweaters for my animals?" "I knit them." (She was highly impressed.) She took it just as I had intended it - it's a sign of our love for them and it's fun to pretend.

 

I asked her this year if, since she knows the truth about Santa, we should skip the whole Santa routine. Her answer? A resounding "No!" Now it's just a fun tradition.

 

I wonder if some of the feelings of betrayal might come from other areas in a child's relationship with their parents. I never felt betrayed, even though my older sisters did actually try to create evidence of Santa (I was the youngest, and they wanted me to believe to make Christmas more fun). My kids haven't felt betrayed. We pretend lots of things in our family. If I can take a tour of the 'fire station' and the 'fire trucks' (our bedroom and our bed, respectively), they can handle a little pretend from my end. It didn't lead to betrayal. In fact, they felt some relief, since both were somewhat freaked out by the whole "home invasion" aspect of Santa (and the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny). Actually, if there's any reason not to do Santa, in my eyes, it might be that.

 

If a family decides they don't want to do Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, for religious or ethical reasons, that's fine. But I don't think there's a blanket answer for every family. If you view it as a fun tradition and want to continue it, why not?

 



 

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#26 of 63 Old 10-23-2011, 06:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

And DD2 said that she wasn't sure.  Santa's too fat to fit down our chimeny, since she stuffed a huge Barney doll up there and now he's stuck... so... nope he probably has to use the door.

 

1.  Check the Chimney

2.  Does she believe in him then?

 

By the way I think she made the Barney doll part up.  I don't see him up there.  However I wouldn't doubt she considered doing it.  



Hahahaha I hope it's not up there! But very smart and amusing of her to use the scientific method to make an informed decision! ;-)


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#27 of 63 Old 10-23-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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Yeah I'm having DH check again today since I couldn't find a flashlight.  They're always missing.  Glad she said something though she might very well have done it and I just can't see it. 

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#28 of 63 Old 10-23-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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Wow! It's like I've been looking for this thread all my life!! 

 

I grew up Christian but without Santa as a literal thing. I raised my DD1 with Santa, just because my ex-husband felt very strongly about it. Am now remarried, have put my foot down, and DD2 will be raised thinking that Santa is a fun guy related to Christmas, which we don't really celebrate, but Grandmom & Grandpop do. Even if we did, I would introduce it as a fun figurative idea. I mean really, I have met Christians, Atheists, Jews, who have acted like I am a criminal because I don't want to teach my kids that SANTA REALLY EXISTS. Truly!
 

It's just such a problem to combat the psychosis and the consumerism. My inlaws are really into giving 1000 gifts on a complete overload and I get really annoyed every year. We try to talk to them about it and they are just in denial that DH/we are doing things our own way. Ironically for them, when DH discovered Santa was a big lie, he decided God was too. Hilarious. I mean, regardless of belief system, you have to think about the effects of lying to your kids! I agree with many of you big time on that one.

 

Meanwhile, like one person above, we celebrate Solstice. We started it last year after much concentration on what we wanted. It was divine. We took elements we loved (magic, family, warmth, fire, lights, good food, music, a tree), added some more stuff, and ditched the rest. Basically we get either an evergreen tree or - this year - we're going to create a tree out of fallen branches from this beautiful curly branched tree we have, and decorate it. We do presents, but not in the extreme. We have a yule log onto which we attach notes we all write - together and/or privately - hopes, fears, dreams, ideas, things we want to let go of, we even sit late the night before talking to the log (it was great! crazy but therapeutic) and then we burn it in a big bonfire in the afternoon. In the evening we had a special fancy tapas meal by candlelight with a few friends over. We took DD1 out of school for the day, which is annoying to me to have to do, but it was worth it to make it 'real'. 

 

 


Oh my gosh! I haven't finished reading yet but I LOVE this idea! I am very conflicted about Santa. I got presents from Santa. I must've learned or figured it out early because I don't remember finding out. OR it was too traumatic? Have to ask mom.... My dsd found out last year, at 12. It was terrible. She was so angry for days. Her dad & her mom & I were debating what to do that year (I stayed out of the final decision) & in the end it seemed best to keep on with it because she so firmly believed. But she must have had some doubt due to her friends & Xmas day ended up very bad.

My conflict is that it feels like lying, though I don't consider those who go along with it liers (lyers?). None of us are Christian, even dsd mom's family. Well, my parents are Catholic, but not strongly anymore. I am pagan. Dp thinks he is atheist. Maybe we'll have a talk at dinner some night soon about what traditions we want our family to have. Thanks for starting this thread! Hopefully even more people will weigh in.

sent from my phone using tapatalk, please excuse typos.

Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (14).

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#29 of 63 Old 10-23-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post  My mom always said that parents make up the magic so that their kids can dream bigger. 


 

I like that.


I like this too. And it's funny because the Santa thing feels like lying to me, but I honestly believe in magic & fairies & unicorns etc? Hmm I better think this through!

sent from my phone using tapatalk, please excuse typos.

Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (14).

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#30 of 63 Old 10-24-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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You can create magic and wonder in a child's life without the santa deception. Really. I raised my kids without santa and they will tell you they didn't miss anything. In fact, my 17 years old dd, who is very sensitive, agonized growing up that some of her friends had so much santa disappointment each holiday season because they didn't get the perfect wish granted.. even though they had been so good. I remember one little girl, age 8, crying on dd's bed asking "why". And yes, we were tempted to tell her the truth.. but we didn't.

And finally, this essay makes some valid points since I'm agnostic/pagan anyhow....

http://atheism.about.com/od/christmasholidayseason/p/SantaMyth.htm

I love the solstice thing we created. Kids do seem to crave ritual and tradition.. I gave them those things without the lies.
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