s/o of santa related threads: What if you are NOT Christian? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 70 Old 12-07-2008, 09:52 PM
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We are not Christian, but we do celebrate the Solstice and the secular aspects of Christmas, like santa. Right now our children do believe in Santa. It's pretty funny though, children in Japan don't believe in Santa (even though there are decorations all over the place with him and he comes to events). DD came home last year and told us she was discussing him with her friends. She told them that a lot of people don't believe in Santa (and that's okay), but she does and he will bring her presents. I have to admit, I am worried about her when she does find out that santa isn't an actual person but a myth. . .but we will cross that road when we get there.

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#62 of 70 Old 12-07-2008, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ruffian View Post
I'm sure that you do not. But many, many people do; in my experience both online and in real life. Just speaking about my experience, there is a heavy expectation that any child who is not indoctrinated into a literal version Santa should say absolutely nothing about any other metaphorical Santa tradition they have. You may just have to take my word for it.

Of course I agree with you. Outside of the one post that hasn't been clarified, no one is suggesting anything like that. No one, at least on this thread, has said 'stupid' at all. I don't think many people are out to upset little kids, or ruin their holidays or anything.

I think that in some contexts "I don't believe in _____" or "in our family, we don't have ____ tradition" is appropriate. In the case of Santa, it's virtually impossible to talk about a non-Santa Christmas without that, so otherwise you're pretty much standing silent holding your drink nodding and smiling. And I've done that plenty, and therefore modeled it to DD plenty, and I don't really mind most of the time. But there are times that I think it's acceptable and only fair to be able to explain what we do, for both me and my daughter.

"Santa/your God/your religion isn't real" would not be acceptable language in my family, under any circumstances. I would like to teach DD that any statement about things held so dear really needs to start with "I think/believe/practice..."
I think I will have to take your word for it ... thinking about it a bit more, I have pretty much always lived in a pretty multicultural (much more so now, but even then) city, where my vaguely Christian mother taught part-time at an Orthodox Jewish school and one of my playmates was Hindu so I have a hard time conceptualizing a large group of people who manage to block out other huge traditions.

I pretty much have no trouble with the "We don't believe in..." statement. I think it's fine, especially in a context of warm human discussion.

I guess I have, though, come across people who were too cool for Santa and some of them have been really aggressive about it and left a bad taste in my mouth.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#63 of 70 Old 12-07-2008, 10:52 PM
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Oh man, I've heard: "you're spoiling Christmas for her forever" "you're cheating your kid" "I feel sorry for your daughter" and "why do you even bother celebrating if you're not going to pretend Santa is real?" Like a pp said, some parent might go so far as to not want their kids to play with mine around Christmas, they are that concerned that they'll hear something. I don't think this has happened yet, but it wouldn't surprise me.

I have been amazed at what harsh things adults will say about a kid who so much as whispers "I don't believe in Santa."

I really go out of my way not to mention that we don't have Santa, unless I know people pretty well.

At her preschool this year, they asked each family to write our own holidays and traditions in a paragraph and I did send in our celebration of the Winter Solstice. I wrote that we decorate with lights and celebrate the days getting longer and have presents. I made no mention about Santa, one way or the other. Some of the people who read it aren't going to like it, but I think it was reasonable.
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#64 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Ks Mama View Post
Why would you feel sad? Maybe I'm wrong, but I think many people enjoy the rush of the holidays!

Personally, I really love the excitement of this time of year. We own several online retail shops, and have many employees, and this is our busiest time of year - everyone is jazzed, really focused on the business, and life is good. We thrive on the Christmas rush.

But Christmas/Winter Holiday season isn't all about consumerism & rushing. Our holidays at home outside of the business are also lovely & quiet. The two can go together. My daughter & I just spent the unseasonably warm afternoon (it got up to 50 day!) trimming back our perennials for the winter & putting up Christmas lights while DD napped. We all make Christmas cookies, watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music in the car, make cards & decorations all month. It's a blast. Not sad at all. So many traditions & joyful family gatherings.

Oh and I didn't answer the question. We aren't practicing Christian, though that is our background. I tell my children that Christmas is a traditionally Christian holiday about the birth of Jesus. I tell them Jesus was a person who lived a long time ago who tried to help people & spread peace. As for Santa, we don't sheild the kids from Santa - he's just part of the season. But we certainly don't try to convince them that he's "real" - don't tell them a strange man is coming down our chimmeny or write "from santa" on gifts, for example - but I do tell them that's the standard story/belief.
Just an interesting sidenote thing I learned recently: Christmas was not originally a christian holiday but a pagan one. I am a christian and, while it is nice to focus on the meaning of Jesus life in December, it would be better for me to spend more time thinking of it throughout the year.

Back to topic: my friend doesn't like to hang out with us at Christmas time because my DD might tell hers that Santa isn't real. How ridiculous is that?
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#65 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bellevuemama View Post
We're not christian and we do santa. Cause it's fun :

We celebrate Yule on the 21st w/family and opening certain special presents. Then we celebrate cmas on the 25th. I guess it's the dead of winter and we love to party LOLOL

We celebrate christmas for the fun of it - we're not christian, and we do santa also. It's more the "American-ness" of it for us. Gifts, cookies, santa, the tree - it's just fun!
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#66 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 03:16 PM
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We're Christian and we do Santa. We were just at church yesterday and all the elders were coming up to my oldest asking him about Santa. It's fun. We also do it in conjunction with the birth of Christ and focus important on that and huge importance in sharing...frankly, with a 3 year old, it couldn't have come at a better time. LOL That said, a lot of Christians don't do Santa.

It's never really ever occurred to me to say "I don't believe in that" I'm a Christian, but whenever someone is kind enough to talk about their faith system, I'm pretty much all ears. Learning about it, and getting to ask questions and enjoy is really special for me. I guess not everyone is into that kind of thing, but even if it were from a purely secular POV, it helps to see what guides people and makes them tick, and to me, by saying "I don't believe in that", just shuts the discussion down. I'm in the same city is GuildJenn, born and raised. Right from the get go in public school, we had a plethora of cultures and celebrations and religions all meshed, so maybe that's why it's not such a big deal for me.

Don't trust anyone under 5! Mom to 3 boys under 5. Blogging to save my sanity.
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#67 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 03:39 PM
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So my question is, if you are not Christian and you don't celebrate Christmas, what do *you* tell your kids when people start talking about Christmas and Santa? And what do you tell your kids to say to other kids who *believe*?
We're not Christian.
I tell ds that Christmas is about getting together and the "spirit of giving" etc. I'm Wiccan, so I will talk to him about Yule, etc (but dp is atheist, and prefers to have no religious stuff, so I don't make a big deal out of it). I tell ds that Santa isn't a real man, but for a lot of people stands for the spirit of giving.
(Ds reasoned that Santa might be real, we can't really know, but that if he is real that he doesn't come to people's houses and bring gifts. I agreed that that could be true).

Just last night (see the rest of my post) I told ds not to tell other kids that Santa isn't real.

I really don't know what to tell him to say if they keep talking though. I told him he could pretend that Santa is real, or he could just say "ok." He said he would just start talking about Spiderman. lol (It's his new obsession).

Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
Originally Posted by Annalisa84 View Post
majikfaerie, thank you for that--for not bursting other kids' bubbles. It may seem funny and cute to the parents, but the little boy who tells people Santa is dead? My three-year-old would be devastated. It's fun to do Santa and to have a little "magic" in my daughter's life. If you choose not to do that, it's fine, but I think it's rude to impose that choice upon other people.
I haven't finished the thread, but to this. What about people who do not want to perpetuate the untruth that santa is a real guy who comes down the chimney? Why should people all around impose that belief on my kids?
Yeah. We just had that happen yesterday. Ds's friend was going on and on about how Santa leaves only coal if you are bad. Ds said he didn't care if he didn't get anything (I was sitting there listening). Friend kept saying stuff- but you get COAL if you're bad, etc, and wouldn't drop it. It went on for a while, with ds just saying that he didn't care, and "ok" and stuff like that.
It was about leaving shoes by the door- something I'd never even heard of. I just said "We don't do that part" or something like that.

But the friend kept going, and eventually ds said that Santa wasn't real. Now, I didn't think ds would say this, because every time WE talk about it, he pretends that Santa is real. I did talk to ds about it, and told him not to tell other kids that Santa isn't real. Which he understands now. But if the other kid keeps going, it seems like I'm telling ds to go along with it, which is kinda telling him to lie.

But I'm a little annoyed that there is this expectation for ME to make sure that HE doesn't tell, but it's totally fine for other kids to insist that if you're bad, you don't get anything, or that there's a Man In a Red Suit that comes into your house, or whatever that could potentially upset another child, just because it's culturally accepted.

And yeah, I did have to have a discussion with ds later about that, because he was concerned about someone thinking he did bad things, when he meant to do good things.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)

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#68 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 05:36 PM
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We don't do Santa. Not because we're not christian (witchy me, and agnostic DH) but because in our country Santa isn't originally connected to christmas. We have Sinterklaas on December 5th with the present (st Nicholas). Christmas is more about the solstice in our home. A light festival.
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#69 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MoonStarFalling View Post
I don't tell DS what to say. He has his own brain and he usually tells people that santa is dead.
Looks like you got some grief for this, but it is the truth--unlike what most people tell their kids about Santa. St. Nick really is dead. But nobody gets mad when you tell their kids he's coming to their house ... which he isn't.

My plan since childhood has always been to tell my kids the truth about Santa. DS goes and sits on Santa's lap at the mall and he has always been told that Santa is a fun story, but that mama brings the presents. So imagine my surprise and resentment when he came home from preschool this year having been told by his teachers that Santa is coming to his house. When I attempted to explain the truth, he was heartbroken at first, thinking that I meant he was too naughty for Santa to bring him any toys.

I don't see why people who encourage belief in Santa in their own kids feel it is necessary to lie to my kid about it. Teachers know better than to proselytize regarding other things that are not universally believed... so why are they telling my kid that imaginary creatures are real?

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#70 of 70 Old 12-08-2008, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
OP here,

one thing I'm thinking about is that we don't celebrate christmas, and I was wondering what people who don't celebrate christmas at all do? If you are Jewish or Hindi or Muslim etc, do you just say "some people believe Santa brings them presents like we believe that..."

I just feel like Santa and the belief in Santa is treated by some with more reverence than other religious beliefs. People are so upset when kids don't or stop believing in Santa or when they "spoil" it for other kids. I mean what if my kid said "i don't believe in god" would that spoil a playmate's christmas?

I don't know if i'm making sense, but I feel like I would be allowed to say "I don't/ our families doesn't believe in Jesus" to someone else, but not "I don't/ we don't believe in Santa" because not believing in Santa cast doubt for the child and then they might not believe anymore and I would "spoil their magic"
We are Baha'i. Our Faith embraces the messages of unity and peace all religions braodcast, with the unifying principle that all messages and faiths come from the same one source, coupled with a fundamental harmony between science and religion.

Baha'is aren't instructed not to do holidays from other Faiths, just to make sure we also put some focus on our own holidays... almost all world-faiths are embraced, and since our family is multi-cultural as well as Baha'i, we celebrate multiple holidays. My family is mostly atheist and agnostic, dh's is Jewish. Some of my fam is Catholic...

We teach dd that God may be the easiest (shortest) description for the vastness of a divine and eloquent universe that can never fully be understood. We teach her that God is Love, and it is in her heart and all around.

We explain that Xmas is one holiday among many that celebrates the messengers of Love, Peace, and Unity that humans have needed to remember that we're all One People, here working together. Messengers like Jesus, Mohammad, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l'baha, and Zororaster...

Originally Posted by Melian View Post
We don't do Santa. Not because we're not christian (witchy me, and agnostic DH) but because in our country Santa isn't originally connected to christmas. We have Sinterklaas on December 5th with the present (st Nicholas). Christmas is more about the solstice in our home. A light festival.
We teach dd that Santa Claus is an American Tradition. She has been told that there are a number of differing stories and characters in different countries... each is a representation of the Spirit of Chistmas, which is about the celebration of messages illuminating Love, Peace, Unity, togetherness, family, and giving. She has been told that the Spirit of Xmas is hard at work in the world, and the guys in the Santa suits aren't really Santa, but helpers whose job it is to build Xmas cheer. And when Santa comes to our house on Xmas Eve, it's the Spirit of Xmas filling the house with joy... and the next morning she will get to open presents.

She also celebrates Channuka, Naw Ruz, Ayami'ha, and we acknowledge Kwanza, Ramadan, Yule, Solstice, New Year and Chinese New Year.

Dd went to see a Santa and had her picture taken with him. She loved it. She's four. She thinks his fave colors are red and white and that's why he wears those colors. She thinks he is coming to our house to fill the stockings with candy (where she got that idea, I dunno....) and that she will feel all the warm love all through the whole house and it will wake her up so she can come downstairs and have cocoa and open presents...
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