Do you do the whole Santa Claus thing? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-10-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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""We keep the Santa myth going in this house. My older one figured it out at some point but had such fun with it and likes to help the little one write notes for Santa and talk about Santa. We don't do the "he keeps a list of nice kids and naughty kids and naughty kids get coal" thing. We say Santa loves all children. But we do it.

But I know a lot of parents don't, for a variety of reasons. What do you do in your house?

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Old 12-10-2013, 08:18 AM
 
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We did Santa ( no naughty lists and he brings only 1 gift) but I decided from the start that I would be honest when DD asked for the truth. Well, that happened last night---DD is 6. She was totally fine about the whole thing but I'm a little sad and DH is very sad too, especially since he wanted more kiddos and she's our only and growing so fast. Bit of a tough day for the grown-ups in our house. DD is just as excited about the holidays though.

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Old 12-10-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ha! This is so why we had a second, and why they're 7 years apart! LOL orngbiggrin.gif

(She was also going to be an only.)
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:07 AM
 
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No santa here. I had big time trust issues with my parents after discovering that most of the fun stuff in childhood was a lie and fabrication. (santa, easter bunny, tooth fairy) We traveled when the kids were small to avoid the holiday stuff and then we invented our own quiet solstice thing that we still do with them as teens.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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When I was a kid, I was very shy, and had a hard time with the other kids at school. I don't remember how old I was, but I still believed in Santa at an age when other kids didn't. I vividly remember getting teased about it at school, and insisting that Santa MUST be real, because there was no way my mother would EVER lie to me. Then I got home from school, and my mom had to tell me the truth. I was devastated; my mom still thinks I overreacted. greensad.gif

When my older kids were little, we didn't boycott Santa (didn't avoid movies, books, or decorations with Santa, and we even took them to see Santa at the mall and labeled our gifts to them as being "from Santa"), but we made it clear that Santa was just a game. It was a fun thing that we enjoyed, but not any more real than Mickey Mouse or Cinderella. It worked for us, and none of our older kids seemed the least upset by the way we did things.

But then my middle daughter (our fifth child) came along. She would get very upset at any suggestion that Santa was not real. She is almost 9, and still insists that Santa is absolutely real, and will NOT hear otherwise. And I kind of feel like it would be just as upsetting to her if I took that away as it was for me to find out that my mother had "lied" to me. So we have a compromise. She's not allowed to get upset that the older kids don't believe, but no one is allowed to try to convince her that Santa isn't real. It's sort of live and let live.

The only complication is that now our youngest two take for granted that Santa IS real in much the same way that the oldest four took for granted that he isn't. I never argue with them or try to convince them Santa isn't real. If they outright ask me, I say that I don't believe, but it's fine if they do. Mostly they don't ask me. I guess it's good that my kids have the strength of their convictions, and feel confident enough to believe even when half of their family doesn't.

That said, I do insist to all of the kids that Daddy is the tooth fairy. I tell them that he puts on a tutu, ballet slippers, and wings, and he waves his magic wand to become teeny tiny when he collects their teeth. I even have photographic evidence! And I swear that he's got a magic castle full of children's teeth hidden away where they can't see it. Not a one of them believes me. :P

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Old 12-10-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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We don't plan on doing it, but there is a lot of Santa centered stuff out there. DS is already asking questions about it, just from information he has gleaned from outside sources. Gah! I like the idea of not reinforcing the belief, but allowing kids to think how they please.


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Old 12-10-2013, 01:07 PM
 
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We don't do it.  I don't like that the whole "magic" is centered around consumerism.  My older kids are instructed not to let out the secret to other kids because it could hurt their feelings (shaking up the belief system!), and my littlest one is still blissfully unaware of the whole charade :)


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Old 12-10-2013, 01:32 PM
 
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My girls are 32 months and 4 months so I'm not super experienced with Santa stuff yet. We don't plan on making a big deal about it. A gift from mom and dad and a gift from Santa for each kiddo. I'm generally a bit picky about toys so if there's something one of them wants at some point with all their heart that I cringe at... Well that can be from Santa lol. We won't do elf on the shelf or naughty/nice or anything and keep things small and budget friendly. I like Santa as sort of a background character but he's not going to be a big deal if I can manage it smile.gif
Edited for the run-on sentence from hell wink1.gif
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:47 PM
 
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I wrote a whole article on why my kid never believed in Santa: http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2013/09/25/why-my-kid-never-believed-in-santa-claus/

Basically, we have 3 reasons:

We didn't like the idea of feeling like we were lying. The inadvisability of doing so was obvious by the time our son was 2 because he's a very analytical type who wants to know all about how things like magic tricks and special effects work--can't fool him!

We wanted him to understand that holiday "magic" is something we make for each other, which takes some effort and money--not something that comes out of thin air.

I wanted to teach him to believe in God, and I feared this could be undermined by also teaching him to believe in other supernatural entities that don't exist.

It's worked out really well, but we have learned that it's crucial to remind him every year before Thanksgiving that he needs to be tolerant of those who believe and not spoil it for them!

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Old 12-10-2013, 01:47 PM
 
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It's really time for me to decide this! Lol... Santa is fun but at the same time it would feel really strange to lie to my kid! I'm always trying to explain the world, you know? Hmm

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Old 12-10-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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I never liked the lying thing. So, mostly I've avoided the topic. I simply say, "Well, I've never seen anyone come down the chimney. I don't see how that would be possible." Or, "I've heard that, but I'm not sure if I believe that." Or, whatever else is appropriate. The kids usually fill me in on what somebody else tells them and then I turn it back on them with a "What do you think?" I don't want to lie to them and I don't want to take away a need they may have to believe (like michelleepotter's middle daughter).

So, I just let them tell me. It's worked so far. DS at 6 has asked some pointed questions this year which I've answered truthfully. "But, reindeer don't fly mom. How is that possible?" "You're right honey. Reindeer don't fly. I don't see how the whole thing is possible." But, he hasn't yet followed up with any "gotcha" questions. But, I remember just figuring it out on my own and continuing to live the dream for quite awhile. My sister filled my niece in at 7 with the whole truth. She took it and then the next year was all in and believing and writing letters and everything and we all just accepted it and ran with it. I've seen this with other kids, too. So, I think you just let kids follow their own path on this subject and they'll do what they need to do.

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Old 12-10-2013, 02:15 PM
 
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We have mostly avoided the Santa thing at our house. The kids believe so I don't crush their spirits by saying anything. We decided Santa only brings stockings. Everything else comes from mom & dad. We decided it that way so they would know mom and dad works/worked hard to afford the things they get.


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Old 12-10-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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Nope... he's a nice character in stories, like Frosty and Rudolph. Jesus is the star of Christmas, and Daddy works hard to provide us with the gifts they get, so they need to be appreciated and respected. Being good doesn't magically get you a wish list full of crap, just like lean years when we can't afford much don't mean they were on some naughty list and therefore didn't get stuff as cool as what "santa" got their friends.

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Old 12-10-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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No. I don't want to lie. At 5, he hears a lot about it at school, but the way we explain it is that "Santa is the spirit of giving." And then we turn the focus of the conversation on the importance of giving. 

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Old 12-10-2013, 04:44 PM
 
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Yes, it's fun. I don't normally "lie" to my kids, but this is one area I don't mind. I do however only have a single gift from Santa. The kids know the others are from mom and dad.

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Old 12-10-2013, 04:48 PM
 
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Nope. We're Jewish. When my now-four-year-old saw Santa last year he thought it was Moses because of the beard. We will be teaching him not to spoil it for his cousins that do celebrate Christmas.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nope. We're Jewish. When my now-four-year-old saw Santa last year he thought it was Moses because of the beard. We will be teaching him not to spoil it for his cousins that do celebrate Christmas.

Little kids are so cute! That's adorable.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:53 PM
 
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We do Santa at our house. With our first, I was torn on whether or not we should, but DH thought it would be fun, etc. So, there is a Santa at our house... until there isn't. We don't do Elf on the Shelf though.


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Old 12-10-2013, 05:09 PM
 
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Yes we do the whole Santa thing. I had a wonderful experience believing as a child, one of my happiest memories. I came to the conclusion on my own when I was 8 that he wasn't real, but wasn't devastated. After that I had fun instilling the belief in my younger siblings. My oldest is 6 1/2 and very much believes. I love seeing her eyes light up when she gets her return letter from Santa in the mail.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We do Santa at our house. With our first, I was torn on whether or not we should, but DH thought it would be fun, etc. So, there is a Santa at our house... until there isn't. We don't do Elf on the Shelf though.

I should TOTALLY do a thread on Elf on the Shelf! I think it's pretty creepy. I'm on it!
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:22 PM
 
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We don't do Santa. I made it very clear that he's a nice story, a happy idea, but he A. isn't real and B. doesn't make a lot of sense. What about kids who live in areas of the world where they don't do Christmas? Who gets to decide who is naughty or nice, and what constitutes being "nice" anyway? I want her to appreciate, also, that her gifts come from me- I plan and think and buy everything, very carefully- and her grandparents, aunties, etc.

I'm getting a LOT of resistance from my 5yo DD who wants to believe- and tells me, "he is TOO real, you just think he isn't because he's INVISIBLE!" I don't belabour the point, but I have made it clear that I don't think he's real. I've said so far that she is welcome to believe whatever she wants- everyone is allowed to believe whatever they want- but not to be surprised if there are no Santa Clause presents under the tree, this year or any year.


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Old 12-10-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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No santa here. I had big time trust issues with my parents after discovering that most of the fun stuff in childhood was a lie and fabrication. (santa, easter bunny, tooth fairy) We traveled when the kids were small to avoid the holiday stuff and then we invented our own quiet solstice thing that we still do with them as teens.


Philomom, this sounds like exactly what happened to me as a kid! My littles are 2 & 4 and this will be our 2nd year celebrating Solstice rather than Christmas. We're still searching for traditions that fit us. Would you mind sharing some of yours?

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Old 12-10-2013, 06:33 PM
 
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We don't do Santa.  We can't avoid the presence of him at Christmas time, but instead of carrying on the myth, we talk about the history of the St Nicholas, and the spirit of giving, and refer to Santa as being a fun character.  We homeschoold DD and most of her friends are homeschooled as well, so the school influence is not really present.  We are clear with her about our disdain for consumerism.  In our immediate family we only give handmade gifts and we do it at Solstice.  Our extended families all celebrate Christmas with varying degrees of religiousness.  We let each part of the family give Christmas gifts, but with a no Santa policy.

 

Our solstice traditions are just evolving, but the week before solstice we string popcorn and dry apple rings and make birdseed ornaments, felted ornaments, etc and then on solstice go to our outdoor balsam tree and hang decorations and talk about the importance of the dark time and celebrate the coming of the light with songs and merriment around our tree. It is along our cross country ski path so we visit it all throughout winter and remind each other about the returning light.  (We take the decorations down at the spring equinox.) We have our dinner by candle light. And then we each share our homemade gifts.

 

On Christmas day we go for a family hike and also have a nice dinner, and open the gifts that our family has sent.


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Old 12-11-2013, 05:45 AM
 
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Full-on Santa family here! tiphat.gif  I don't consider myths lying at all and, although I think there are ways to provide this type of cultural identity and fantasy if a family isn't comfortable with this type of thing, I think these types of myths & traditions are important for kids, whatever culture they come from.  But, we don't do "naughty or nice" at all. Our Santa is unconditional. :wink  We also don't do the Elf on the Shelf because there are enough old traditions in our extended family -- no need for us to add new ones when there's barely time for the old. 

 

FTR, we are an atheist family and very comfortable in our skin about that. My DH is the first generation of his family to not practice Christianity. I am the third. It's slightly harder for him to reconcile practicing Christian traditions than it is for me. We tell our DC that we are "culturally Christian" because our extended family were part of that religious tradition and so we honor our heritage in a non-religious way.  I mean, we all know that a lot of the Christmas traditions pre-date Christianity and/or has no real relationship so it's really not a hard thing for me to reconcile. 


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Old 12-11-2013, 06:34 AM
 
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We are a Santa family too, but don't really talk about it much, never have. Stockings get filled overnight and boys are happy in the morning. They haven't really believed after age six and my older son was never the type to swallow the story. We just haven't discussed it much, it's always been such a peripheral part of the holiday, and my sons sensed that from my attitude and didn't question the issue much, I guess. Once they were big enough to know better they knew better but it wasn't a stark moment of change. I presented it as a fun idea that was mentioned only once or twice per season and left it at that. I assumed they've pretty much always understood it as a myth.

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Old 12-11-2013, 05:29 PM
 
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We do Santa but not like most people do. We make sure the kids know that Santa isn't a real person, but we all, even the kids, pretend that we think he is. *wink wink*

 

When we were reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I loved the part where she started to grow up and began to realize on her own that Santa wasn't a real person. Her mother stressed that Santa IS real. Santa is the name for the magic of Christmas which is love. 

 

"Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning, you saw what that had done. "

 

I just love that quote. It's so beautiful. We don't put any presents under the tree all of December. The tree stays empty. Then on Christmas eve, the kids go to bed excited and the adults bring out all of the presents from hiding and put them under the tree. In the morning "SANTA CAME!" And the kids get to take part in being Santa, too. They can hide their own presents to others under the tree when they wake up in the morning before the adults do and then they get to say "why, I don't know where those presents came from! It must have been Santa!" 

 

Santa is a lot of fun around our place.


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Old 12-11-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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Full-on Santa family here! tiphat.gif   I don't consider myths lying at all and, although I think there are ways to provide this type of cultural identity and fantasy if a family isn't comfortable with this type of thing, I think these types of myths & traditions are important for kids, whatever culture they come from.  But, we don't do "naughty or nice" at all. Our Santa is unconditional. winky.gif   We also don't do the Elf on the Shelf because there are enough old traditions in our extended family -- no need for us to add new ones when there's barely time for the old. 

FTR, we are an atheist family and very comfortable in our skin about that. My DH is the first generation of his family to not practice Christianity. I am the third. It's slightly harder for him to reconcile practicing Christian traditions than it is for me. We tell our DC that we are "culturally Christian" because our extended family were part of that religious tradition and so we honor our heritage in a non-religious way.  I mean, we all know that a lot of the Christmas traditions pre-date Christianity and/or has no real relationship so it's really not a hard thing for me to reconcile. 

We do Santa, and no, we're not lying to our children. No more than when we read fictional stories, play make believe, or leave out tiny presents for the fairies.
We didn't bother with Santa at all until she was three and was 'getting it' from all around the community. At that point, DP and i decided to play along, and be honest when she inquired. At almost four, she asked if we believed in him. We said that so many people believing in the spirit of Christmas makes him real. At almost five, she's asked again.
Me: I believe in the spirit of Christmas.
Her: Do you believe that Santa is real?
Me: People make him real.
Her: I believe in him.

And that's where it's at this year. I expect that next year, she'll be Santa to her little brother.

Might be worth mentioning that we do a pretty simple Christmas. We stay out of the stores this time of year. We go visit a low key, no-mall, no-photo-package-required 'pretend Santa,' one that our kids know is not actually Santa. Our big celebration is the Solstice. We rent a cabin and light a fire and send our wishes for the new year into the world by putting them in the fire. Is that any more of a lie than Santa?
As for Christmas proper, we do stockings, and one gift.

I wrote about attachment parenting and Santa on my blog last year. Here's the gist:

"I’m not lying to my child. I’m encouraging magical thinking. There is great value in magical thinking. We need to be able to believe in things we can’t see and concepts that challenge our imaginations. There are all kinds of things that we can’t see or prove exist, but are, nonetheless. Love, hope, faith, to name a few. We need to be able to take a turn at being enchanted, in order to understand how to enchant others. We need to be able to take a flight of fancy, because we are a species of storytellers and story listeners. Stories are an integral tool when it comes to absorbing and understanding human nature. Childhood is filled with stories of all kinds. Or, at least, I hope it is. And I think it should be."

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Old 12-11-2013, 06:35 PM
 
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There's a part of me who would love to say that we do a simple Christmas but THAT would be a lie. :rotflmao We DO IT UP!!  For whatever reason my extended family just showers gifts for this holiday. So much so that nearly everything I own was a past Christmas gift. All my kid's clothing, toys, our kitchen stuff - nearly every thing we own besides the stuff we thrift for the rest of the year. From the outside looking in it probably seems pretty consumerist but we aren't consumers the rest of the year and the gifts we exchange are by-in-large well-made, ethical, useful gifts. 

 

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I wrote about attachment parenting and Santa on my blog last year. To quote myself:

I’m not lying to my child. I’m encouraging magical thinking. There is great value in magical thinking. We need to be able to believe in things we can’t see and concepts that challenge our imaginations. There are all kinds of things that we can’t see or prove exist, but are, nonetheless. Love, hope, faith, to name a few. We need to be able to take a turn at being enchanted, in order to understand how to enchant others. We need to be able to take a flight of fancy, because we are a species of storytellers and story listeners. Stories are an integral tool when it comes to absorbing and understanding human nature. Childhood is filled with stories of all kinds. Or, at least, I hope it is. And I think it should be.

100% agree and love how you phrased this! 


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Old 12-11-2013, 08:23 PM
 
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My oldest has always been a very cautious child. She can be very naive, too, but she never truly believed in Santa. I think the idea of some strange man in a funny suit sneaking into her house in the middle of the night just freaked her out too much. I wanted to have the stockings and the trappings so we did read Santa stories like "The Night Before Christmas" and I sort of suggested to her that "wouldn't it be cool" in the same way that wouldn't it be cool if we could fly, etc. I never suggested that he really was real or that it was all fake. I just left enough room for her to pretend if she wanted to. My younger daughter did want to believe at certain times. I know one year maybe in the summer she was convinced it was all parents and no real Santa, but then when Christmas rolled around she really wanted to believe again so she let herself. We didn't contradict. It can be a fun game to play. I remember when I was a young adult I really liked filling the stockings for my parents and brother and sister when I would go home for Christmas. At this point I'm a little more Bah humbug about the whole holiday, but I try to keep up a good front for the kids' sake. 

 

Elf on a Shelf was concocted by a mom in Georgia or Alabama in the past ten years or so. The little guys have been around since the 50s. My folks had them when I was growing up and I think I still have one I inherited somewhere, but they weren't spying on you back then. That part is a modern invention.


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Old 12-11-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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DS, 6yo. Just asked if I believe in Santa. I told him I like to believe in Santa. He said he liked to believe in it too. Belief is kind of like a choice this way.
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