Did you tell your children about Santa? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok so I am on the fence and looking for suggestions/thoughts...

My DD is almost 3 and I am not sure I want to tell her about Santa. She already knows a little about him from the mall, music and books. But I am not sure I want to...well...lie to her about it. I feel uncomfortable about it. But at the same time I believed in Santa and most kids and adults I know did at one time. I think maybe part of my hangup is I remember calling a "meeting" with my mom when I was about 7 because my older brother had told me Santa wasn't real. I sat my mom down and had a "serious" talk with her and told her I wanted the truth...lol. Maybe I was mad that she lied to me, I don't remember. I certainly don't have any negative feelings about it now. And I think it's really cute when kids get excited about Santa. It's just that I feel weird and uncomfortable putting on the whole dog and pony show for my DD. Not to mention the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy.

So I'd love to hear from some people who didn't do the whole santa thing....what was your & your kids experience? Do your older kids now feel they missed out?

Do any people do a middle of the road kind of thing....like maybe Santa doesn't leave presents under the tree but you read books about him and visit him at the mall?

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#2 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 07:20 PM
 
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I tell them about St Nicholas, and what the legend about the North Pole workshop and all is, and say I don't know if it's true, I haven't seen the real Santa personally. Then I leave it up to them to tell me what they think the truth of it is.

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#3 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 07:28 PM
 
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My husband and I decided we would not 'do' Santa. As my ds learned most things about Santa the same way you describe. Sometimes he would say something about Santa and we wouldn't correct him but would just listen. He asked a few questions about Santa and I would reply, what do you think or something similar. He started to love the idea of Santa. He is very imaginative and creative. As his sister grew older we did the same thing and when she was 3 (he was 5) she burst his bubble. He went on and on about how Santa should be real, he wished for him to be real, etc. So asked if he would like it if we play that Santa is real. YES! So we talk like he is real, he leaves one gift for each child, etc. My ds is now 7 and knows this is a game but he really enjoys it, the magic of Christmas, etc. Its working for our family.

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#4 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 07:37 PM
 
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We're making this decision too at the mo - and I think we're going to go with a bit of Santa...but making sure she knows he is fictional - i.e. he's a story character...and then all the traditions associated can be part of the story.

We won't be doing visiting a 'real' santa or anything, so don't have to deal with that bit.

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#5 of 22 Old 12-07-2013, 11:57 PM
 
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We do Santa, my 13 year old found outslowly that Santa was not real and she had an easy transition, my other daughters are still hardcore believers. My parents did Santa and when I found out he was not real I didnt have a bad time. Why not do it? Kids get excited and its beautiful to see them get excited when Santa is coming. 


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#6 of 22 Old 12-09-2013, 03:52 PM
 
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I've tried to tell my DD Santa isn't real at least twice, and she doesn't believe me!  The first time she was 4 or 5 and upset bc her friend got a letter from Santa and she didn't.  I told her it was pretend, and she didn't believe me at all.  Just last night, I tried to bring it up again and tell her that it's something parents make up for fun, and she turned away from me and laughingly said "That's none of my business."  So, I'm pretty sure she knows at this point and is choosing to participate in the fun of believing.  I get tired of the dog and pony show too, and I want the credit for the best present under the tree!


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#7 of 22 Old 12-10-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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My oldest is now 13. She is a smart, sensible girl who has questioned religion and God, but until I broke it to her last year she still believed in Santa. There were tears over it. I was surprised she still believed. Her sister who is 3 years younger had known for years that Santa was pretend, but was keeping quiet for the sake of her older sister!! 

I regret letting it go on that long. I thought it was just a fun game, wink wink sort of thing. I still get presents from Santa in my grandma's handwriting. I did not think she took it that seriously.


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#8 of 22 Old 12-10-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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 I get tired of the dog and pony show too, and I want the credit for the best present under the tree!

 I hear you! When dd was 11, I tried to hint that he wasn't real by giving her a cultured pearl necklace instead of a toy from santa. She opened it and said, "Now I KNOW Santa is real! You would never get me something this nice!" rolleyes.gif


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#9 of 22 Old 12-10-2013, 02:13 PM
 
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My weirdest experience with other parents regarded Santa. A mother at daycare came up to me one day as I was picking my daughter up, and started YELLING at me, calling me a horrible mother, because my daughter had had the nerve to tell her son Santa wasn't real...

 

But, yeah. My parents did not tell me about Santa. In addition, I was a very skeptical child because... well, I had an older brother. Need I say more. It did not take away my love for Christmas though. To this day, it is my absolutely favorite time of year, and I am just perpetually happy from December 1. So I felt no reason to tell my daughter about Santa. I tell her the story, but I make sure she knows it's fictional. I do my best to not lie to my daughter about anything else, why should I make an exception for Santa?

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#10 of 22 Old 12-10-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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We do one gift labeled as the Santa gift and I talked about it as a fun tradition. My dd believed for a long time and that's no big deal imo. She also believed fairys were real despite me flat out saying they weren't on several occasions.
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#11 of 22 Old 12-12-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is really great feedback! Thank you.
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#12 of 22 Old 12-13-2013, 08:13 AM
 
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Spklvr wrote:

Quote:
 My weirdest experience with other parents regarded Santa. A mother at daycare came up to me one day as I was picking my daughter up, and started YELLING at me, calling me a horrible mother, because my daughter had had the nerve to tell her son Santa wasn't real...

I think she overreacted, but I can understand why she was upset: She taught her child the beliefs she wanted him to have, and your daughter told him his beliefs were false.  Some people feel very strongly about Santa, so it's just as upsetting for them as if they had taught their child that Jesus rose from the dead and your kid said that wasn't true.  When my son made an anti-Santa comment in preschool, it was handled as an issue of Respecting Others' Beliefs, and we thought that was appropriate.

 

Here's why we didn't tell our kid Santa is real. It's worked out well for us.


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#13 of 22 Old 12-13-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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Spklvr wrote:

I think she overreacted, but I can understand why she was upset: She taught her child the beliefs she wanted him to have, and your daughter told him his beliefs were false.  Some people feel very strongly about Santa, so it's just as upsetting for them as if they had taught their child that Jesus rose from the dead and your kid said that wasn't true.  When my son made an anti-Santa comment in preschool, it was handled as an issue of Respecting Others' Beliefs, and we thought that was appropriate.

 

Here's why we didn't tell our kid Santa is real. It's worked out well for us.


Seriously? Even as an agnostic/atheist, I would feel offended if someone compared a child's belief in Santa to religious beliefs (which people actually DO believe in). Those beliefs I have taught my daughter to respect.

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#14 of 22 Old 12-13-2013, 11:53 AM
 
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I think it's silly to feel so strongly about Santa, but since I've encountered people who do, I try to be respectful about it.

 

Perhaps a better comparison is the other issue my son got in trouble for talking about at preschool: Our family is mostly vegetarian because of the health risks and environmental impact of factory-farmed meat.  His school served the cheapest of meat products, so he would bring some beans or something to eat on the days they were serving meat.  However, it was not appropriate for him to tell the other kids at the lunch table that the nuggets they were eating were made from sick chickens who were raised in a crowded barn and then killed and cut up by machines.  True though that is, it is up to those children's parents to decide when their children learn about it, and it is not our business to undermine other families' decisions about what to eat.


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#15 of 22 Old 12-13-2013, 12:52 PM
 
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Spklvr, are you saying that kids don't actually believe in Santa? I think that we shouldn't be choosy about what beliefs to respect.
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#16 of 22 Old 12-15-2013, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know I think what is really bothering me is that when I look back at my experience when I found out Santa wasn't real, I remember being really upset and hurt that my mom had lied/deceived me for so long. Sounds a bit dramatic I know. But I still remember the hurt from it. I guess as a kid I didn't understand why my mom would lie to me. I'm sure as a kid I wondered if my mom lied about Santa what else did she lie about. As an adult I understand it now. But maybe deep down I don't want my DD to have that same experience. I don't want to break her trust one day and have her question other things.

We read books about Santa and she hasn't asked if he is real yet. I guess I will probably tell her that he isn't real but we can pretend that he is. And maybe she will get a gift from Santa one year...so far she hasn't.

I'm sure this will go over real well with the rest of my family :eyesroll.. Not looking forward to that conversation.

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#17 of 22 Old 12-15-2013, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by spklvr View Post
 

My weirdest experience with other parents regarded Santa. A mother at daycare came up to me one day as I was picking my daughter up, and started YELLING at me, calling me a horrible mother, because my daughter had had the nerve to tell her son Santa wasn't real...

 

But, yeah. My parents did not tell me about Santa. In addition, I was a very skeptical child because... well, I had an older brother. Need I say more. It did not take away my love for Christmas though. To this day, it is my absolutely favorite time of year, and I am just perpetually happy from December 1. So I felt no reason to tell my daughter about Santa. I tell her the story, but I make sure she knows it's fictional. I do my best to not lie to my daughter about anything else, why should I make an exception for Santa?

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#18 of 22 Old 12-15-2013, 08:07 PM
 
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You know I think what is really bothering me is that when I look back at my experience when I found out Santa wasn't real, I remember being really upset and hurt that my mom had lied/deceived me for so long. Sounds a bit dramatic I know. But I still remember the hurt from it. I guess as a kid I didn't understand why my mom would lie to me. I'm sure as a kid I wondered if my mom lied about Santa what else did she lie about. As an adult I understand it now. But maybe deep down I don't want my DD to have that same experience. I don't want to break her trust one day and have her question other things.
We read books about Santa and she hasn't asked if he is real yet. I guess I will probably tell her that he isn't real but we can pretend that he is. And maybe she will get a gift from Santa one year...so far she hasn't.
I'm sure this will go over real well with the rest of my family eyesroll.gif .. Not looking forward to that conversation.


I had serious trust issues with my folks after having being lied to about all the fun stuff in my childhood. I left their home, their church and their lives for many years just as soon I turned 18. I mean, if santa, the tooth fairy and the easter bunny are all a hoax, your jesus and god must be made up, too. I'm still a non-believer and we did not do the santa myth or any magical stuff with our kids. You can still have a childhood with wonder and sparkle without parental lying. And no, my kids never spoiled the secret for any other child. I coached them on this well. Some of their friends were terribly disappointed at xmas time when they had "been so good" but santa brought them the "wrong" present.
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#19 of 22 Old 12-15-2013, 08:56 PM
 
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I talk about Santa to my son all the time, but have never pretended he was real. My son loves pretend characters, from Dora to Spiderman to the Giraffe we're pretending is in the living room. He will not mind that Santa is pretend.

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#20 of 22 Old 12-16-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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Radiantl wrote:

Quote:

 I guess as a kid I didn't understand why my mom would lie to me. I'm sure as a kid I wondered if my mom lied about Santa what else did she lie about. As an adult I understand it now. But maybe deep down I don't want my DD to have that same experience. I don't want to break her trust one day and have her question other things.

Exactly.  As a developmental psychologist--although I don't know of any research on this particular issue--I'm aware of many situations in which adults lying to children leads the children to believe that the adults are generally untrustworthy.  For example, "scare tactic" approaches that teach that if you have sex you WILL get pregnant and die of AIDS and go to hell, or that if you use any illicit drug you WILL go crazy and end up in jail, tend to result in kids actually having more unsafe sex or using more drugs than kids who had no "education" on the subject or other approaches, because once they have a little sex or smoke a little weed and the horrible stuff doesn't happen (or they talk with a few older kids who are sexing and drugging and doing fine) they conclude that the adults don't know what they're talking about.

 

My son needed some dental fillings when he was 6.  Over 2 years later, he is still talking about how the dentist said he was going to "drip this onto your gums" and then injected it, said the white powder in the air was "medicine" when it was obviously pulverized tooth, etc. etc.  We may have to switch dentists because whenever this one tells him something, like "rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda," and we later remind him to do it, he points out that this dentist is a liar and can't be trusted....


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#21 of 22 Old 12-16-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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I think a doctor lying about reality is a very different than a game in which people pretend Santa is real. Imaginary games were so big in my life during childhood that it is hard to understand how anybody could see them as lies. The dentist scenario id just plain deceit and sounds like an ethical violation. I wouldn't stay with a doctor who wasn't able to be straight up about what was going to happen during a procedure.
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#22 of 22 Old 12-17-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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That's an interesting thought, where if the parent is lying about Santa, maybe the parent lies about other things.  I would think if a parent is consistently honest, and the only deliberate non-truths are Santa and the Tooth Fairy (or Easter bunny), I would hope the child might feel a tinge of regret and move forward and realize it was intended to make it fun/magical/special for a young child.

 

My daughter is 5, believes in Santa, but he's a minor part of our mainly secular lengthy Christmas holiday season.  Starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we decorate the house, the yard, drive around to other houses to admire lights and get ideas for our house.  We bake cookies, sing songs, listen to music and talk about what presents to give the cats for Christmas.  When she snuggles in each night, she tells me that her favorite part of Christmas is setting up the tree and each day she shows me her favorite ornament for the day (it varies).  For us, the focus of the December holiday season is more about the activities than getting presents.  She has a mental list of 3-4 things she wants - and one of them is earrings from her cousin, so only 1-2 things would come from Santa anyways.  Most of it is from aunt, cousins, grandparents.

 

I'm wondering if kids worry that if they no longer believe in Santa, that they won't get gifts?  

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