Believing in santa claus - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 35 Old 12-10-2001, 11:31 PM
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In our home we celebrate everything! All fun aspects of many religions, we feel that any celebration is what brings joy to life and we want to respect all religions and all people. So we do the Samta thing because not only is it fun but it helps us to remember not to take life so seriously. We honor the blessings that Buddah, Jesus. Mohamed and Moses ( to just name a few), have taught us to appreciate. Its alot of fun to talk to our dd about how everyone around the world celebrates the season and how we are all linked by a common giving heart. I want my dd to enjoy any and all things during the holidays and throughout the year. We are always honest with her if she asks about Santa or the toothfairy or whatever. She contiues to believe in the magic even after that anyway. I am so glad she does, cause this life is short and any thing that lifts her heart into that kind of playful place is great. I will always do what ever I can to nurture that in her. I wish it could be that easy for us all to just understand the reality then effortlessly be able to enjoy the magic that life has to offer. I love all the stuff everyone does to help create the scene for Santas arrival! You guys are so funny, your kids must have a blast!!!
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#32 of 35 Old 12-12-2001, 03:53 PM
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Wow, these postings are all so interesting and helpful!

I'm a stepmom of a 7 year-old girl and hoping to have another child along the way before too long. My stepdaughter's dad and mom definitely do the Santa thing and so I have done it too (this will be the third Christmas I've spent with my stepdaughter).

My question is: when and how does it stop? She still seems to believe in Santa and the tooth fairy. I don't remember how my mom handled this when I got older or when. At what age have your kids figured it out and how did they do it and how did you respond?

I find I am HUGELY ambivalent about this Santa thing (and the tooth fairy too). My mom was an athiest, so Christmas wasn't about Jesus for us: it was about a time to love friends and family and to experience the joy of giving to people you know and people you don't know. And to anticipate the coming of a new year.

I don't remember any bad feelings about finding out that there was no Santa. Right until my mom died when I was in my twenties, some of the presents from her would say from "Santa" and some were from "mom." It became a formality that nonetheless was a fun, tender reminder of being a little kid. And I think she did it to be consistent for the young nieces and nephews in the house.

BUT: in my own experience playing Santa now, I have to say that the Santa thing does FEEL to me like lying. And in retrospect, I think the "MAGIC" of Christmas or other mythic occasions for me wasn't mostly because of the magical person or fairy who supposedly brought the gifties, but because there were gifties at all and decorations and special food and family coming together and a time to think about how we connect to the wider world.

I'm really not anti-Santa. It's more that I'm struggling with how inauthentic it feels to ME (not to speak for anyone else because this is clearly a personal experience thing) to sneak around with special Santa wrapping paper and special Santa handwriting and special Santa presents (not to be confused with presents from parents) in order to fabricate a mythology that just isn't true.

Pretend to me is a really different thing because in pretend games all the "players" understand that we're pretending. In this case, the kids don't know the rules of the game.

And if it's the spirit and story of Santa that's delightful (and I agree it is!), then it seems like celebrating it as a spirit and story is closer to the truth than pretending it's the truth. I say this partly because I think I WISH I didn't feel like I was lying.

Honesty is such a tangly and important a kid (in other ways besides Santa) I was often unsure in my family what the "rules of the game" were and as a result I wound up with more self-doubt and lack of trust than is useful to have. I wonder if pretending about Santa could in any way contribute to kids doubting about the veracity of other things we tell them? I really don't know, just wondering out loud.

Maybe this is something that starts to feel weirder and weirder when a kid gets past say four years old. At that young, kids themselves developmentally aren't all that sure the difference between reality and dreams and pretend, right?

Anyway, I find this conversation really helpful!
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#33 of 35 Old 12-12-2001, 04:10 PM
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I loved waking up on Christmas morining and sitting by the tree opening presents. I never felt like my parents were lying to me when I asked if Santa was real and they explained to me he wasn't. For those who have said that they lost trust in your parents when they found out he wasn't real, could their had been more behind it, then Santa not being real. Some other issues?
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#34 of 35 Old 12-12-2001, 04:23 PM
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I know I already replied, but I had something more to say...

Children are very smart, they themselves question the Santa myth - why else would they ask so many questions about him like: how does he get into our house? how can he fly around the world? how does he know exactly what i want if i do not tell anyone but mom? Why is he at all the malls? Why does he not seem to age? etc...

Even my almost 3 year old asked those questions last year! We told her the truth - that it is a way of pretending to be the saint that gave presents to the poor anonymously to bring them happiness.

The whole reindeer pulling flying sleigh thing is very hard to believe - as it should be - it is not true.

Yes, that is the "magical" part, but why does it have to be focused on?

Keep the tradition if you want, but trust even your youngest child to be questioning things... and then tell them the TRUTH - don't just say you don't know, or give some silly answer - THAT is when the hurt can happen.
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#35 of 35 Old 12-12-2001, 05:38 PM
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I agree that probably people get hurt when they find out Santa isn't real when they keep asking their parents and the parents insist he is real.

I try not to lie to my child. Even if I told her the Santa story as if it were fact, if she started doubting the story, I would tell her the truth: that it is just a story.

But I do know parents that keep insisting that Santa is real, even when the kids figure out he isn't real. I think THESE parents have issues. I remember finding the gifts hidden away and thinking, hm, just what I figured. But I never felt betrayed.
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