Other than "lying," why don't you do Santa? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 12-02-2005, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, another Santa post. After reading the one about lying to your kids, and then the post about other lies, I was wondering.
THe "lying to your kids" concept is not why we do not do Santa with our DC. We feel that fantasy and make believe is an extremely important part of childhood, and we do not believe that encouraging it is "lying".
DD (age 4) believes wholeheartedly in fairies, and it brings her a lot of joy to build fairy houses and imagine the fairies coming to visit them. She leaves them little notes and they write notes back to her.
THe main reason we do not do Santa Clause with our children is that we do not like the whole "If you are good Santa will bring you presents, but if you are bad he will not." This whole thing bothers me so much. I feel like it is bribing your child to be good so that he/she will recieve material things. And what about kids who do not do presents on Christmas for whatever reason? I do not want my children thinking they are on "Santa's naughty list." I do not want them to think Christmas is all about what presents they and others will or will not recieve.
What are your thoughts?
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#2 of 21 Old 12-02-2005, 10:53 AM
 
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I don't like the "bribery" part of it, either, which is why we don't do THAT part of "Santa". But, I like the Santa thing, and don't see any reason to ditch the whole tradition just because I don't like one part of it. But, we also don't try to convince our kids that Santa is "real". We don't make a huge deal out of Santa coming to our house, bringing gifts, etc. Yes, there are gifts under the tree on Christmas morning, and the kids love the whole Santa myth, but I don't feel I'm "lying" to them any more than reading them Thomas stories, then taking them to see the "real" Thomas was lying.

I personally feel there are different "degrees" of Santa. I had a friend whose parents really went out of their way to make Santa "real". Elaborate explanations of how Santa does what he does, to the point of arguing with the children when they questioned it. And the dad would even go on the roof and make reindeer tracks in the snow, and track snow/ashes around the hearth to make it look like Santa came down the chimney. Would have the kids write to Santa and Santa write back. Very intense. We just tell it like any other story, and plan to let the kids believe as much and for as long as they want.

When ds was 2, he believed Thomas was real. When we saw and rode on the "real" Thomas, he was ecstatic. Now that he's 5, he understands that the Thomas stories are just make-believe, but I never had to sit down and explain it to him. This year, I can see the Santa myth starting to unravel for him too, and that's fine. I think it will happen on its own, and if he asks me "is Santa real?", I plan to help him research the matter, read about the history of Santa, rather than giving him a "yes" or "no"

Anyway, my point (I think ) was that I think you can pick and choose what you like and make your own Santa tradition.
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#3 of 21 Old 12-02-2005, 12:49 PM
 
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I like this idea! I dont' have to worry about it for a while, but I think that we'll probably do Santa, Revised. I remember when I was little, some of my good friends gathered us around to tell of the 'scandal' that had just taken place. They heard their mom and dad wrapping up their presents, and asking which was from Santa. It rocked my world.

I think that we'll have the story of santa, and all that. I don't know about paying to get a picture taken with him.. That's a little stupid to me. But, if my DS wants that when he gets here, I probably won't deny him. I think that not doing santa is a weird thing just because people will ask the DC's 'What is Santa going to bring you this year?' and 'Have you been good? Santa's watching!'

I've become much more sensitive with what I say, since I work around children. I ask them what Holiday they celebrate, and if they bring up Santa, then I play along. After having a little Jewish boy say 'Um, we don't do Christmas, and Santa isn't real', I tried a different method. Works much better.

I don't like the idea of lying to my children, and arguing with them, creating reindeer tracks, making a mess of the living room with soot, that's a little overboard. I think that telling them the story of St. Nick, and how it's changed over the years, is a much better (and more honest) approach.
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#4 of 21 Old 12-02-2005, 12:50 PM
 
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Even if I wanted to do Santa, it would be impossible with the way my 4 yo is. He still needs body contact to stay asleep. He won't go anywhere w/o me or stay home w/o me (this is a bit of regression after a bad preschool experience). Way too much effort for no apparent gain.

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#5 of 21 Old 12-02-2005, 02:53 PM
 
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I don't focus on Santa, because I always found that the buildup/letdown and effort involved in doing Santa took away from, well, Christmas! We have given dd1 gifts "from Santa" in the past, but with no attempt to build it up or suggest that Santa was a guy who literally come down the fire escape or whatever, and she was little enough not to notice the Santa concept much. This year, she is noticing, and I tell her that there's a story that Santa Clause...(insert legend here). Yet the possibility of Santa Clause visiting her doesn't seem to have dawned on her. Afraid to disturb her just-about-perfect enthusiasm about the religious and family and outdoor aspects of the season, I was thinking about just letting the Santa thing slide. Then her godmother told her about St. Nicholas (godmother's name saint and we've always celebrated together) and told her to leave her shoes out on St. Nicholas day. So now maybe we won't do Santa in the interest of avoiding ritual duplication. (Gotta run and snap up the Hanukkah chocolate coins that double as St. Nick coins before the dime store sells out!)

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#6 of 21 Old 12-02-2005, 02:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenie
creating reindeer tracks, making a mess of the living room with soot
Wow, my family never did that! It sounds like a blast. I may just reconsider and let Grace help me be Santa for daddy, just to see the look on his face when he finds the soot.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#7 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 01:49 AM
 
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i'm not into the "good little boys and girls get presents, while bad little kids get coal" part of santa. we just want to have fun getting some special little goodies in stockings christmas morning. when i was a kid, i got my "big" present from santa, but, from about 10 on, it was just treats: candy, cds, fruit, ALWAYS a toothbrush, undies and socks. k will only be 2 this year, so she doesn't have any "big" present she's desperate for (well, when asked what she wanted from santa for christmas, she answered "a light!" ), so she's getting little toys and treats. perhaps when she's older she'll get the major present (whatever that may be) from santa, but we pretty much treat him as the uncle you never see who sends the really cool presents your parents always tell you you have to save your allowance for.
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#8 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 02:14 AM
 
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Quote:
THe main reason we do not do Santa Clause with our children is that we do not like the whole "If you are good Santa will bring you presents, but if you are bad he will not." This whole thing bothers me so much. I feel like it is bribing your child to be good so that he/she will recieve material things.
ITA with your reasoning here. We do Santa, but we don't do the 'better be good or you won't get a gift' thing. For us (we're Christian) it's the opposite of the message of Christmas. We believe the gift was Jesus and that we didn't deserve him - our behaviour could never be good enough to deserve what God gave us. So I can't understand that the total opposite is being taught through Santa (because he was originally a man who wanted to share that message of Jesus).
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#9 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 02:27 AM
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DH wasn't raised with Santa. The church his family belonged to didn't really agree with the concept. It wasn't forbidden, just not encouraged. He doesn't go to that church anymore, but he still doesn't agree with the whole Santa thing for religious reasons.

I was raised with Santa and I was absolutely devastated when I found out he wasn't real, so I don't feel like we have to do Santa.

I also hate the bribery thing. Honestly, even if I had the most evil kids on the planet, I would still buy them a little something.
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#10 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 10:01 AM
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We don't do the "good/bad" part either but have not found that enough of a reason to totally ditch Santa. For that matter, we don't do the "Baby Jesus is the Savior of mankind" thing either, and have also not found that to be a reason to ditch the Xtian-related story (or other Xtian stories -- in our house Noah was a kind man who saved some animals in his neighborhood when there was a big storm, etc). We do best when we don't belabor the point about a lot of things like this -- critical thinking is good for us, but acknowledging that there is indeed a great big deal going on for a whole month in the winter & that some of our friends are more into it than our family, is OK for us for now.
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#11 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 03:11 PM
 
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One thing I hated about santa, when I still thought he was real, was that some kids just got more stuff than others - often the meanest, brattiest kids. And what is the explantion in a childs mind? That the richer, spoiled kids are just more deserving? That rich = good? I never could understand why my school did toy drives, if santa was responsible for so many of my presents. Why didn't he just give the poor kids as much as he gave me? Similar concerns about god made me a young athiest, about the same time I realized santa wasn't real

Thats one of the many reasons we are not going to pretend santa is real.

-L
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#12 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 04:20 PM
 
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I can't say I don't do Santa, as my ds is only 15 mos old. But, along with the "not being truthful" thing, I think we won't really do Santa much because I HATE Christmas presents. I hate the whole concept. Especially between adults. You're obligated to spend money on gifts, that people may or may not like, so they can spend money on a gift for you that YOU may or may not like. I don't get into it, and if I had my way, I wouldn't receive any gifts at all for Christmas. And I do tell people that, but they don't take me seriously.
Don't get me wrong, I think gift giving is a great thing- year round. If I'm out, and I see something that I KNOW a friend would like (and I have the money lol) I love to get it for them. THAT is true gift giving. Christmas inspired obligatory gifts is not.
I know it's different with kids, but I still want to keep the Christmas gift giving to a minimum (VERY minimum), and just get stuff for him throughout the year, for no reason at all except that I want him to have it. I don't like the idea that you "have to" buy gifts for your kid simply because it's a specific day of the year.
Probably not a popular opinion, but there it is.

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#13 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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You do realize that that bribe doesn't actually mean a darned thing to like 99% of children, right? We WISH it worked and could be used for a month of "good behavior", but- alas, like most similiar bribe threats made on kids... it means little or nothing to them as most parents have NO intention of following thru with the "if you're bad no gifts" notion.
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#14 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 05:01 PM
 
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When I was young enough that I was still believing in Santa I don't think I even noticed what Santa brought other kids. I was very much in my own little bubble.

I don't agree that the 'lying' about Santa is harmful or wrong, so we do the whole Santa thing here. the things I do NOT like about Santa are the materialism and the good/bad thing, so we do not practice that part at all.

It does bug me to think of kids getting loads of presents from a basically anonymous man on the north pole and that the kids feel entitled to it. For what? When my dd gets a gift I want her to know that someone she knows and loves picked that out with her in mind and that it required effort/thought/money etc. I feel that's necessary for her to understand and experience gratitude.

In our family Santa brings the stocking, and that's it. Some clementines, lollipops, a trinket or two - just small little delights that will fit in a stocking.

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#15 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 05:21 PM
 
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I did notice what santa brought other kids. We got almost nithing and I would try and be as good as could (and I was pretty darn good) and yet the mean kids who constantly teased me and tormented me always got more. lots more. and better. lots better . and made sure I knew it. I remember feeling so badly about why SAnta hted me. Everyone hated me and even santa. i remember thinking there must be something really bad about me. Of course then everyone made fun of me when I still believed in Santa.

the whole santa thing was so bad for me and beside being really mad abiout having been lied to for so long it wa s great reliefe to find out there wasn't some guy at the north pole who hated our family as much as everyone in our small town did.

not everyone thought the whole santa thing was funa nd delightful. for some of us it weas stressful and heartbeaking and just one more way to be reiminded the the whole world was unfair for some people.

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#16 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 05:36 PM
 
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lilyka- Great post. I had a lot of the same thoughts growing up.
Also when I was a little kid the whole Santa thing just weirded me out. Why was this strange old man buying me presents and not my parents? Why was it okay that he was breaking into our house? I just didn't want some stranger in my house at night when I was asleep, presents or no.

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#17 of 21 Old 12-03-2005, 11:30 PM
 
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OMG, lilyka

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#18 of 21 Old 12-04-2005, 12:14 AM
 
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Well the first reason being that we don't celebrate xmas, second being that I want all credit for gift, third I don't like telling a kid that if he's good santa will bring him a present and if he's bad he will get a lump of coal.

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#19 of 21 Old 12-04-2005, 12:27 AM
 
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It does bug me to think of kids getting loads of presents from a basically anonymous man on the north pole and that the kids feel entitled to it. For what? When my dd gets a gift I want her to know that someone she knows and loves picked that out with her in mind and that it required effort/thought/money etc. I feel that's necessary for her to understand and experience gratitude.
Yep, that.

And also, I don't want my DD thinking that other kids somehow don't deserve Santa's bounty, but she does.

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#20 of 21 Old 12-04-2005, 02:05 AM
 
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Everybody has pretty much mentioned my reasons in various posts:

1. The lying. I think you can still be magical & do make believe but not insist that Santa/other characters really exist & write letters. I love fairies & nature, but I'll tell my kids that I like to PRETEND there are fairies who live in our garden, not that there ARE fairies who live in our garden.
2. The good/bad kid theme - ugh.
3. The commercialism of the holidays - buying gifts because you HAVE to, rather than just randomly seeing something somebody would love & giving it to them right away...
4. We celebrate the Winter Solstice instead.

We'll still talk about Santa as a character & explain the good will behind St. Nick. If our kids want to pretend & play Santa games, fine, but I'm not going to lie and tell them that he's real.
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#21 of 21 Old 12-04-2005, 03:18 AM
 
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I doubt we will do Santa that way with this baby. What we plan to do is the Christmas tree angels (where you buy things for a child who is less fortunate) and take things of ours that we don't use as often and give to our local homeless shelter (handing them out ourselves if possible). And we'd like to portray Santa like that. That he's a loving, giving spirit. Not that if you don't eat all your broccoli you don't get any presents. Though, we all know many people who do portray him that way.

I think it's all about how each parent decides to do Santa.

ETA: I know this is going to come out weird, but hopefully some will understand what I'm trying to say. We are Christians, but really... I don't think of Christmas as Jesus' birthday. We focus on God and Jesus every single day. We pray every day, read the Bible every day, attend church 3 times a week (more if they have activities), etc. Jesus is part of who we are. Giving him one certain day a year seems odd to me (not for others, just for my family). More than likely Christmas will be a Santa, reindeer, Frosty the Snowman thing for us. We'll focus on Jesus just as much as we do any other day.
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