But, dh LOVES it, so I bit my lip and let him. However, I've never promoted it. And, when ds has asked if it's real I ask him "do you want it to be now?"
She is not afraid of the Easter Bunny but WAS very afraid of Santa. Alot of kids are. We took a family picture with the person dressed as a bunny yesterday. My dd peeked into the mask and it was a smily teenage girl. We saw other parents FORCING their crying babies/children to take a picture with the Easter Bunny and we have seen it at Chrismas too. (We have only one family picture with the person dressed as Santa Claus because since then our dd, who is now 4, was afraid of Santa.)
I had a black employee once who said, "I don't tell my kids that if they are good a white bearded man bring them gifts. I work hard all year to buy my children special things." I couldn't have said it better.
About God, oh my gosh you had to ask. I am 40 and still learning what She is or isn't and that is what I tell my dd. How about a description of God from a Tomie dePaola book (which I just happened to read to her tonight)?
I LOVE YOU, SUN. I LOVE YOU, SHEEP. I LOVE YOU WIND. I LOVE YOU, TREE. I LOVE YOU BIRD, I LOVE YOU FISH. I LOVE YOU FLOWER, I LOVE YOU RABBIT. I LOVE YOU ROCK, I LOVE YOU BUG. I LOVE YOU STARS, I LOVE YOU WATER. I LOVE YOU, WOLF, I LOVE YOU, MOON. I LOVE YOU EARTH, AND YOU LOVE ME.
"what do you think?"
I really don't think of it as lieing but rather as teaching them our culture's mythology. Santa is a symbol of alturism, he is the spirit of Christmas, of giving to people who can not give anything back. The Easter Bunny is a symbol of spring and fertility, as are eggs.
That is, when they ask.
Most of the time, I think, she is happily immersed in the fantasy. But underneath all that, I think she is aware that they are not real.
TRhat is exactly how I feel and what I tell people. I give my children gifts because I love them and I want my children to know those gifts are from mom and dad and were not bought without sacrifice and are not from some mythical man who needs or deserves no thanks., I also don't believe motivation for beiing good should come from wanting to please some make blieve guuy so you get more loot. And what about the fact that "Santa" brings really great gifts to some kids while other, obviopusly better behaved children get next tonothing. (I was always the really good kid who got next to nothing. Still pisses me off.)
Anyway we play with SAnta because he fun and has some fun stories. We don't do the Easter bunny because we don't celebrate anyhting called Easter and it is pretty contrived to make a big deal about a bunny who isn't even that totally present. We celebrate Resurrection Day at church, Passover and good friday with family and leave gifts for friends on May Day without any expectation of reciprocation. The girsl also get May baskets on may day. this year they have a small stuffed toy, a little candy. new fun tooth brushes, bubbles, finger puppets, socks in spring colors, bracelets, and hair rollers. An odd mix for sure, but again we stress this is from mommy and daddy because we love you, not because you earned it and not because it is what people do because today is today.
Isn't the tooth fairy real? I am sure she is.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
It wasn't hard to decide for us. We did what we do with Santa and the Easter Bunny. We talk about how they're not real but it's a fun thing to pretend, and my girls enjoy that. For the toothfairy, we talked about that, and then that evening I reminded her to leave her tooth under her pillow "for the tooth fairy," and she even decorated an envelope to put it in for the fairy. I replaced it during the middle of the night with another decorated envelope containing money and signed it "With love, the Tooth Fairy." When she woke up I asked her what the tooth fairy had left her, and she grinned and told me. Then a few minutes later she laughed and said, "but the tooth fairy is really you, Mommy."
So we pretend together, which I actually think is really fun for all of us.
Some of my fondest memories in childhood were imagining about Santa, the North Pole and the elves. I would lie in bed and swear I heard the reindeer on my roof. My brother and I believed for a long time, we actually had to be told because other kids knew before we did and they were teasing us. Once I found out, I was a little disappointed, but I was then allowed in on the fun with my brother. Also, my mom loved to play Santa, and as long as we "believed", he came, even when I was 18 and my brother was 14. It was such fun. The Easter bunny was a stretch, but it was fun pretending.
I don't feel like it is lying, just pretending, and we do that all of the time. My son is convinced that a character from Thomas' Magic Railroad gave him a special gift. He sent Ben on a treasure hunt around the house and ended up putting a very special engine in his potty (at least it is getting some use LOL) I came up with this method of giving him little gifts that I want him to have, so that he doesn't always ask for so many things. I think it is just fine either way.
We are not a religious family, more spiritual than religious, so we don't focus the holidays on those aspects, we focus on pretending and spending time with our family.
Also, Santa brings only one gift and the family gets to play santa by giving each other stocking gifts. There is no contingency on good behavior either. I never liked that aspect of it. Our Santa is not extravagant, but he brings the one specialgift.
I do remember, however, being really crushed when I found out Santa wasn't real. I was 7, I think, and my dad and I were driving out on a camping trip. He thought I already had figured it out, and just said something casual in conversation referring to the fact that Santa isn't real, and I freaked out. Part of me had probably known, but I loved the fantasy of it, and didn't want to be disillusioned. From that year on, we went right back to the fantasy, and even in my teen years, when I would thank him for a gift from santa, he would feign ignorance, and tell me not to thank him, bcs it was from santa. To this day, my dad still sends me gifts from Santa.
I believe that the reason kids believe in fairy tales and fairies is that we (society) haven't convinced them yet that they are mistaken. I think that they can see and know things about the world that we can't. Who says all imaginary friends don't start out real? I love my dd's "imagination" and fantasy tales.
Welcome to baby Fiona with a giant omphalocele, 6/17/10!
Here is why I don't think it'll work on my dd. Keep in mind she is just over 3. We are trying to get her off the binky habit. I told her if she got her 4 binkys together and put one each night under her pillow the binky fairy will take it and leave a quarter. She looks at me and says: mom , i think the binky fairy is just my parents!
The problem I have with Santa and the Easter bunny, etc. is when parents insist they are real. I think that is lying and it is something I try not to do to my child.
I have dressed up as Santa before too and it is a blast. I actually went dressed as Santa to Six Flags over Texas and you would not believe the controversy I caused ("Santa is not a girl?" You mean a woman? Who says she isn't? Have you looked? ha ha.)
In peace, Sorrel
This is just my opinion, not to discount anyone else's feelings or traditions.
There are several books written specifically about when to introduce fables and myths to young children, and the damage that can be done if introduced too early.
Basically I have to say, if you allow Big Bird and all that stuff, but don't let your kids believe in Santa then it's very hypocritical.
My ds is just 11mo, so we have a little time left. I do think it's lying - but having said that, I never felt betrayed as a kid when I found out the truth... (somehow I actually felt sad for my parents that they would not have the joy of seeing my enthusiasm at the whole santa experience) Anyway, motherdownunder has a very interesting point - "if you allow Big Bird and all that stuff, but don't let your kids believe in Santa then it's very hypocritical"... seems logical to me, but that also includes all other fantasies, as motherdownunder pointed out... I do think there should be some (understood) fantasy play. So that leads perfectly to how Hydrangea handles it - pretending to believe. I do think I will try to incorporate that into our philosophy because I think it would be fun and honest.
I have been trying to celebrate the changing of the seasons. I really love the thought of that - seems to help keep me connected to what is really important. I think I may check out the book that sorrel mentioned.
The thing is we are not very 'religious' - so we may just celebrate the equinox at the Easter time of year, while celebrating the solstice & christmas (in a minor fashion) at that time of year.
I dont do Santa or EB- but I do BB Ernie and Elmo, etc, ofcourse they know its someone with a costume on, just pretending, it isnt real,
The reason we dont just "pretend" about santa or EB also is that I dont believe in the commercialism and over abundance of presents, over the holydays we celebrate Yule, Christmas, Channukah and Kwanza ... hows THAT for hypocritical <GRINNING with love>...and we DO give presents, mostly household needs that I hold off untill giving at that time, ie brushes, pillows,
Relatives do things like, Santa left this at our house for you and it doesnt bother anyone at all- they know we know everyone knows -I DO try and get my mom to not give the kids sleighfull amounts of presents tho -whats with that anyways...? a child spells love T I M E and (imho) lots of presents create a higher risk of them not being taken care of properly and just ending up thrown away or unappreciated- (more garbage/plastic/) and...what do I want my child to appreciate anyways...? mary
ps/edited to add we do the tooth fairy tho , I mean to say that we "play " pretend. if I forget they're like, mom, you forgot to do the tooth fairy, and I keep all their teeth so they KNOW who the fairy is, and whoever had that idea about the charms? I LOVE IT! thankyou, Ill be using that one
We both feel kind of ambivalent about Santa. It is very important for us to emphasize the Christian meanings of Christmas and the Resurrection, and we tend to keep those separate from "Santa". We don't do Easter Bunny.
I don't know what the right answer is about fantasy vs. reality. In one sentence she will talk about Jesus and Thomas the Tank Engine, and at least in her mind they are all as real as her sister. I don't think that always telling the strict truth will prevent children from developing an active imagination, but I just try to accept that all these things are real to her and she'll sort it out as she grows up. Being able to see it or not doesn't make a difference either, because she has a significant everyday relationship with Jesus. I was just going to say that even before she saw any shows with talking trains, airplanes, etc., she was already having those types of things "talk" to each other, even without faces or whatever. She doesn't play with dolls--she plays with trains . . .
Xmas and Easter were not celebrated religiously in my home when I was growing up - neither are they for my kids now. Xmas is about singing carols and making snowmen and sending pictures/letters to our friends (dd1 sent her own Xmas letter this year - it was so cute!) and making gingerbread cookies and decorating the house and tree and making/buying presents for our family and friends and pets. I was 20 before I understood why there were so many religious Easter cards at Hallmark! We did/do Easter baskets, egg hunts, and a special dinner.
I think holidays are fun part of childhood (and adulthood!) I was not hurt/distrustful when I found out that Santa and the Easter Bunny were my parents - it was more like I felt grownup and smart to have figured it out. Then I enjoyed being a helper to keep the magic alive for my younger sister and brother.
DD1 is now 6 and has been asking (last year first time) about the reality of Santa. I did the "what do you think?" line. She will soon be my helper. I think if you go ahead with Santa, then when the time comes, let your child figure it out for themselves instead of you sitting them down and telling them it isn't real. I can see where that would be hard - maybe the kid isn't ready to discover that right then. When they are ready, they will notice the gift is wrapped in paper she saw in the closet or the handwriting on the card is yours or whatever. Made me feel like a smart kid when I figured it out!
With our kids we'll probably go the "it's just a nice story but it's fun to pretend" route.
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