I'm seeking out other parents who avoid getting their kids hard into the Santa-Easter Bunny-Tooth Fairy...insert any other fictional characters here.... craze.
Our boys are very young, though they've had a couple major holidays under their belts so far, and my partner and I are foreseeing lots of broken-record style explanations as to why we won't just lighten up and dive into the commercialized craze of buying tons of gifts and scribing Santa's name on the gift tags, doing the milk-and-cookies thing, and solemnly swearing to lie, lie, lie that this jolly guy is for-real, even when the kids get to that awkward age when they start flat out calling us out on the not-so-realiness of Santa Claus.
And on and on it goes for the other mystical holiday characters...
And honestly- I love celebrations! Getting together and having a good time is what life's about, and I want my children to celebrate as much as they possibly can in their lives! I'm just not going to lie to them about creatures that aren't real- it's not my thing. We'll play a game of pretend about these creatures if the interest is there, we'll read stories about Santa characters, or Easter Bunnys- but they'll be pretend stories, I won't run with them beyond that.
Anyone with me? Just wondering what experiences are like of those who also don't partake in these things.
we don't do santa or easterbunny either. people say we are to hard and to lighten up. we are nondenominational christians and i just teach our kids what we believe the meaning of each holiday to be and let them know that the characters of the season are just as imaginary as dora or bigbird. if they receive gifts they know where they came from and who to thank.
I don't do that stuff either! My ds is only 2 so he wouldn't kow the difference yet- but I guess I didn't really have that in my childhood either. I was not raised christian. I did have holidays from the religion I was raised with (don't want to talk too much detail) but none of them included those fictional characters. Oh wait we did do the tooth fairy- I am not sure how I will do that one- I might do that one. I was gonna say how santa and other things feels like lying to me- I kow that is not a common belief for people and I am not downing anyone who does it- I know it means a lot to many people and I respect that. But for me personally it feels odd. Probably cause I wasn't raised with it. I think I will for sure tell ds the stories- the myths- about it. But I will not tell him santa or the easter bunny brings gifts. I do want to include holidays and mythology in his upbringing- but just by nature I am pretty honest and some what blunt- so I would tell him my truth of it. How I understand it. the way it has gotten commercialized and sanitized doesn't appeal to me. so to sum it up- I will for sure not do santa or easter bunny- and am on the fence about the tooth fairy. I can't see myself tellling ds that an actual fairy comes and takes his tooth- I may come up with some other way when I cross that bridge.
I don't have any advice for handling this, but I'm with you in spirit. I don't want to lie to my kids about these things. I'll tell them about Santa, Fairy, etc, but it'll just be a fun story.
It seems like many kids think fictional characters are real even if you don't claim they are (e.g. your kid will think Mickey Mouse is real whether you like it or not), so I don't see why you need to lie for your kid to experience the "magic." Isn't the historical story of St. Nicholas nicer than the fake Santa Claus? He went out and help people even though he didn't have a team of flying deer and a workshop full of free elven labor. Fake Santa starts to get weird or depressing if you put more than two seconds of thought into it.
Maybe if your relatives start to give you crap about it, you could preempt their use of the words, "Lighten up." As in, "Lighten up, I don't see why us not lying to our kid about something so frivolous is such a big deal to you. He's still getting presents and having fun!"
OMG, some people are so crazy obsessed with keeping up the act. Once when we were short on money and it was looking like we wouldn't have many presents, my step-dad told my nine-year-old sister (adopted; she was removed from her bio parents because they were criminals and generally just unfit losers) that Santa might not be able to come this year because he forgot to renew the licence plate on his sleigh and thus got arrested. Great thing to tell a little girl who's already predisposed to hate police officers....
We have never used those things. We were just honest from the get go. Having said that, I am not the type to push away "normal" interactions. If we get a Santa book from the library, it's NBD. We still "do" tooth fairy for fun and reward but they've always known it was us. I think they like being in on the whole thing.
We also celebrate the holidays and milestones without Santa, the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy. Like a previous poster, we talk about what certain holidays mean to people we love, what they mean in historical terms and we make up our own traditions too. We are not Christians, but have many family members and friends who are so we also discuss the religious aspect of holidays versus the historical aspect. My 6 year old and I were walking to an Easter Egg Hunt in town talking about how Easter is about rebirth and gave Christian examples as well other examples. For us, Easter is about Springs return and my dd total understand that. The "Easter Bunny" was present, but my kids did not even notice.
Lots of others disliked that we did not "do" Santa, Easter Bunny, but I think that was largely because I made a big deal out of it. When I stopped worrying about what other people thought and did not turn it into a heated debate, things eased up and people just accepted it. My kids are 6 and 9 and I believe they have turned out just wonderfully!
We celebrate holidays without the characters as well. We are not religious so we don't approach it from that angle but that it feels like lying to me. We still do X-Mas and the kids usually get an easter basket of goodies but they always know it is from mom and dad. My oldest child is only 9 but we've never run into issues. The kids eventually get old enough and decide to just say yes and name a present when an adult asks if santa came.
I would go so far as to say DH and I are very anti-santa. Yet, DS learned about Santa from other little kids and is so desperate to believe. There is simply no fighting. When he would start in on Santa around the holidays, it didn't stop, he would go on and on and on about Santa and beg me to tell him that Santa was real. I would just smile and say it was something fun that some people like to think about around Christmas. Sometimes, despite one's best intentions and wishes, kids believe what they want to believe.
we let the kids believe what they want and "do" the santa/easter bunny etc only enough to facilitate that. its a fun ritual but we treat it just as that. my kids are 6 and 3 and the 6yr old wants to play it out but im not sure if he really believes. i remember "finding out" around that age and i was just kind of like, "oh yeah, of course". i expect it will be the same sort of quiet epiphany with our kids.
It really hasn't been a big deal for us. Our experience has been that kids who aren't indoctrinated to believe in Santa/The Tooth Fairy/The Easter Bunny just ASSUME he's a fictional character like Dora or whatever. I think our eldest was five before he realized that other kids sincerely believed these characters were real. We do give them Xmas gifts/Easter baskets/money for lost teeth, but they know those things are coming from us.
The only issues we've had are with relatives insisting that we're stealing our kids' joy (to which I always say, Stop by our house on Xmas morning, and see if you can imagine our kids being any more joyful!) and a few acquaintances who, upon learning that my kids didn't "believe," urged them not to spoil the fun for the other kids. This hurt my kids' feelings, because it made them feel they'd done something wrong, or might without meaning to.
Dh and I are of the position that if you want to indoctrinate your kids with a set of beliefs, and that process requires the cooperation of the entire universe--um, good luck to you! It's not my kids' job to "protect" other kids' beliefs, anymore than it's other kids' jobs to prevent my kids from being exposed to these myths.
We don't either, but are fine with them watching stories about the characters. We have one relative who claims to still actually, really believe in Santa Claus, who makes a fuss once in a while, but the kids are old enough to let slide. The one issue we have had is that my kids are not tactful in the least when it comes to strangers randomly asking them what Santa is bringing them.
We don't do them. For all the reasons listed above by PP's.
Nope we don't do any of them and my kids are turning out awesome in spite of me and dh being magic-killing, no-imagination-having, childhood-memory-depriving people with no hearts
Seriously though, we have lots and lots of fun. We do lights, presents, crafts, baking, cocoa, baskets, surprises under pillows, egg-hunting, little gifts for losing little teeth, etc etc etc and so on. We don't feel we need the character aspect to have whimsy, magic and fun
If my kids wanted to pretend, we would pretend -- but like all their pretending and imagining, they know it's not actually real and we wouldn't present it as though it was real.
We don't really *do* them either, but we talk about it like it's a fun story or pretend- in sort of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge kind of way. Like, my dd found the wrappers for the candy that was in their Easter baskets in my closet, and I told her that the Easter Bunny was being lazy and didn't throw the trash away. Of course she knew it was me (Mama = too lazy to throw trash away!) My oldest is on the spectrum and to him lying is lying, no matter the motivation, so that's really why it started. But I like it better this way and we still have lots of fun during the holidays without all that stuff.
We make videos of the Tooth and Birthday fairies, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Once, the tooth fairy was the cat with a cape around his neck. Another time, daddy. I was the Easter Bunny once. Favorite toys make the delivery sometimes. Birthday fairy shows up at midnight to cast a charm over the birthday girl to magically make them 5 (or whatever). They know they aren't real, but are always excited to see the next one caught on video. It's always a surprise and always silly and never, ever misleading. We are not trying to trick anyone with this, it's just funny to see daddy all dressed up in pink creeping around to deliver the quarters under the pillow, etc. I forgot last time (Zzzzzzzzz) and the girls were a little sad that we didn't do easter bunny video, but they got over it. They ask us..... "who's the tooth fairy this time? I think _______ should do it!"
I told my kids that when it's Christmastime, that's the time of the year when a lot of people pretend that Santa is coming. They still get excited about him sometimes, but my favorite was when they watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town (oh, grandmas), and they sang the song with this slight variation: "Santa Claus is not even real."
Also, the Easter Bunny has been upstaged by the Easter Bear, who leaves a pile of poop outside for each lucky child. The poop tastes just like a snickers bar. No chance of them taking that to heart. They just laugh and eat their poop.
My kids really enjoyed this book:
It's about different traditions around the world for when people lose their teeth. So we aren't doing the tooth fairy, but my kids have decided they want a mouse to come. :)
Just today my 6yo DD and 4yo DS were asking if Santa was real. And we have been very clear and honest with them from the get-go. DS thinks Santa is real, DD doesn't. We do celebrate St Nick's Day and talk about the example of generosity and about "being Santa", and the kids have taken that how they want and go with it. It was funny trying to talk to them about it, though, because DS is so admant that Santa is REAL, even though we haven't ever told him that, and he won't hear otherwise and keeps giving these logical arguments for why Santa must be real. And I really feel like a scrooge to be pointing out faults in a 4yo's arguments... so I wasn't crazy about it, but I did affirm for my DD that Santa doesn't walk around every day like we do and left it alone because DS was being 4...
I did have to also explain to my DD that we let kids enjoy their imaginations about Santa. We've discussed that before, but with new understanding comes more discussion.
And for Easter - we don't do the Easter bunny, but we do have a GrandmaBunny who gives the kids a basket. They know it is their Grandma, but it is fun to say it that way, and Grandma seems to not feel like we are sucking the joy out of her life that way too. :)
We don't do the whole Santa Clause/Easter Bunny thing, either. There isn't a real reason why we chose not to. I just decided when she was a baby that I wanted credit for her presents and didn't want her to grow up thinking some stranger with a limitless wallet brought her presents. This past year, in 1st grade, she developed such an interest in Santa that we followed his path on GoogleMaps. She knew it wasn't real, but it was a lot of fun for her and a free geography lesson to boot! The Easter Bunny hasn't been an issue since she is absolutely terrified of big bunnies. She can handle little baby bunnies, but adults dressed in bunny costumes have always scared the living daylights out of her. She runs away screaming for her life.
I work with preschool kids and the subject makes me a bit uncomfortable sometimes. I usually avoid mentioning Santa or the Easter Bunny unless a kid brings it up first. Then, I'm fine with asking them what they asked Santa for. However, I never want to be the one to bring up those characters because I respect other parents who have chosen not to use them in their holiday celebrations. I live in an area that has a lot of very conservative Christians. There are a few different religions that I can't quite recall the names of. They're about 2 steps above Amish, very simple, plain, modest/old-fashioned style clothes, and holidays are strictly religious, not commercialized.
We do Santa in a minimal way -- it's fun! -- and let the kids "unbelieve" on their own. We don't do lists and the believer is allowed to ask Santa only for one thing. I agree with the posters that kids often take their belief wholeheartedly from other children. This is sort of where our Santa comes from -- he's a kids' culture Santa. It's such a brief time in childhood and I'm not eager to have my kids be the ones who tell the neighbors what's really up.
We don't do the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy is erratic; I think she only came once or twice. (I think that was the first clue it was me :-)
We've also had other fictional characters over the years to help us solve problems or provide fun -- these were characters the kids made up -- which were similarly real and comforting to my children.
Our daughter recently lost her first tooth and we decided to do a charm bracelet to commemorate it. We gave her the bracelet and her first charm (a silver tooth!) and will add a charm for each lost tooth thereafter. We also put her tooth in a little bag with the date and how she lost it and then placed it in a small silver trinket box for safe-keeping. We're expecting a boy now, and I'm not sure how we'll adapt this for him (maybe shark teeth on a necklace instead of a charm bracelet?) but I like the idea of having something special that builds on itself with each lost tooth, which is much more spiritually fulfilling than getting a dollar under a pillow.
we dont even celebrate xmas or easter so of course we dont do fictional characters. we also dont do the tooth fairy. the kids take their teeth to nana and she gives them money. my ex was super po'd that he was lied to so he of course didnt want to lie to his kids
I've done them all, and even I don't get people who insist on fighting about it. I don't care if other people do it, or if people don't. We stopped doing Santa this last year, because dd1 and ds2 asked if he was real, I said, "what do you think?', and they both said, "I think he's you and daddy", and we were done. I have friends who celebrate Yule, and friends who celebrate the Winter Solstice. Since they don't even celebrate Christmas, they obviously don't "do" Santa.
I'd just stick to the broken-record. With any luck, people will back off eventually. I really don't get why people get so worked up about other people not doing Santa. It's not a freaking requirement!
We do not do any of these things either, and it's refreshing to hear from others. I have had people of almost every religion act as though I'm a destroyer of souls for preventing my children from experiencing the height of life's happiness, the belief in Santa. Life is full of magic and wonder all on its own!
But trying to explain it to people has always left me miserable.
On the topic of other people's children, I have pointed out, when this concern is raised to me, that all families have different beliefs (God, Jesus, Mohammed, Santa). Kids can handle that just fine if they are raised to know that there are many beliefs on this planet. I think it's the parents who don't want their kids to know that, that have the trouble.
Another family here that doesn't "do" any of the fictional characters. For us it was just because we didn't want to lie. We don't hide from Santa or the Easter Bunny - we read stories and play games and stuff involving their characters but dd has always known it was make believe. We always said that if she really truly wanted to believe we wouldn't tell her otherwise (she never had that desire/need) but I wasn't going to tell her Santa or whoever was real.
A lot of people have an issue with it but that's not my problem. I'm not out to ruin anyone's fun .. other families can do what they want. Now that dd is older, I have told her that a lot of kids think Santa is real so we shouldn't tell them he's not. That's for their family to decide just like religion or what you eat or a whole host of other things. It's funny how even with this, I've had people who are downright afraid their kids might catch "unbelieving" from dd. It would be really funny if it wasn't such a sad commentary on how intolerant people can be.