Easter bunny and santa - where do u stand? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 03-30-2002, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i am curious how people feel on this issue. i hate lying to my kids regarding the easter bunny and santa, but mr earthymama thinks its all in good fun. we sorta go halfway and lie but so obviously they dont take us seriously for very long. i feel if we lie about this, why would they believe us when we tell them what we believe about god? after all, they are both abstract concepts. i am interested in what other thinking people think.
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#2 of 30 Old 03-30-2002, 11:47 PM
 
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We do both, I don't think it's a big deal. We emphasize the religious aspect more though.
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#3 of 30 Old 03-31-2002, 12:07 AM
 
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I'm strange, It makes me feel silly talking about it - like a story that I won't admit is a tale.

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?"
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#4 of 30 Old 03-31-2002, 11:17 AM
 
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Hey there!! I think the important thing is if they ask you if santa/easter bunny is real that you tell them the truth.I just have fun with the girls and I think they have there whole life to be serious,who cares if they have fun with it now.I do tell them more of the spiritual aspect and try to emphasize that more,though.
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#5 of 30 Old 04-01-2002, 09:30 AM
 
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My son probably believes more in Elmo, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, Caillou, and a few other characters. He sees and hears about them much more than Santa or the Easter Bunny, although I think I'd prefer these once a year special occasion creatures over daily cartoons/puppets. I don't think it's dangerous. Eventually they ask and you tell the truth, or leave it a little mysterious like Ms. Mom. Life/culture is full of mythology. I think it's good for us and the kids, but important to introduce deeper and older mythologies in their bedtime literature.
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#6 of 30 Old 04-01-2002, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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leafylady, i am betting we have a lot in common....we a lot of mythology...love joseph campbell
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#7 of 30 Old 04-02-2002, 02:40 AM
 
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We don't do them. To me it takes away from the meaning behind the Holidays.
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#8 of 30 Old 04-02-2002, 02:55 AM
 
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We don't lie to our dd. We tell her it is a person dressed in a costume.

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.
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#9 of 30 Old 04-04-2002, 03:36 AM
 
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The Easter Bunny and Santa visit our home and leave little things for the kids, but it isn't something that we go on and on for months about. My kids haven't asked if they are real, but when they do I will respond the same I did when they asked if the story of the Princess and the Pea is true.

"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.
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#10 of 30 Old 04-05-2002, 11:47 PM
 
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My dh and I disagree on this one. He has a real problem with it and says it is lying, but I don't think it's such a big deal. We compromise and tell dd that Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc., are not real but it is fun to pretend they are. We also use the "What do you think?" response.
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.
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#11 of 30 Old 04-06-2002, 03:01 PM
 
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I decided before the kids were even born that we would not do the "Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy" thing with the kids. I can remember as a child being sat down on my father's lap and being told that santa was not real. I still very much believed in him at the time and I was crushed and very mad at my dad. It seriously got in the way of our relationship for many years and I didn't want to do that to our kids. It turned out to be a good ideas since my son has some problems distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Even as much as we have talked about how characters are not real (including winnie the pooh, elmo, etc) when my son's first tooth fell out he put it under his pillow just to see LOL (NO I didn't replace it with money)
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#12 of 30 Old 04-06-2002, 05:27 PM
 
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>>>"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"<<<

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.

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#13 of 30 Old 08-19-2002, 01:25 PM
 
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I agree with a lot of the mamas' on this one- my first memory of not trusting an adult is when my dad told me that santa wasn't real-I was very angry at him for lying to me and swore I would never lie to my kids about anything. We also had different ideas about it, my husband thought it was okay, I didn't- eventually the reasons I gave made him understand I guess and we are now in agreement. Mia can pretend if she wants to but she knows it isn't real and also knows not to tell other kids that it isn't real! We did tell her about the man that the legend is based upon and she really liked that someone nice like that was a real person at one time- we try to put the focus on our family and the other reasons for the holiday. I can't help but think that if we lie to them about something stupid like santa, what kind of message does that send when you tell them not to lie to you?
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#14 of 30 Old 08-19-2002, 02:07 PM
 
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This actually just came up (in August) because dd1 just lost her first tooth, so we had to think about the whole tooth fairy thing.

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.
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#15 of 30 Old 08-19-2002, 08:39 PM
 
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We do the whole thing. All of the imaginary characters, including some of my own creation. Sometimes, fairies or leprechauns or other characters leave little treasure hunts for my son to go on. We hunt for fairies, talk about fantasy and pretend much of the day. He has a great imagination.

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.
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#16 of 30 Old 08-19-2002, 08:52 PM
 
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I feel that fantasie is important for kids...who am I kidding, I still love living in my fantasie world! But if dd asks me one day what is real, I will not hold anything back, until then, may the magic live on!

always,
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#17 of 30 Old 08-21-2002, 02:33 AM
 
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I don't know whether Dd believes that Santa is real or not, but she loves the whole fantasy and the whole process so much, that we do it. She talks about leaving a note for Santa at our house, with grandma and grandpa's address, so he knows where she is on xmas eve. She describes how he'll come in, and she leaves cookies and cheese (has anyone seen that commercial) and milk. She is just so full of the wonder and mystery of it that, for now, it works for us.

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.

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#18 of 30 Old 08-21-2002, 07:31 PM
 
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I never have liked doing the Santa/Easter bunny thing, at least the part about making them believe it's true...but my DH loves it! I like how Hydrangea handles it, pretending to believe - that seems like a good way to go about it for me.
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#19 of 30 Old 08-22-2002, 12:55 AM
 
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Dh and I disagree too. He is all for Santa. When i was growing up we never did them. My parents told my brother when he was 5 and I was 3 that Santa brought the presents and he just looked at em like 'whatever!'. That was the end of it. Dd is only 3 now. We will kind of half ass it and not worry about it.

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!
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#20 of 30 Old 08-22-2002, 07:52 PM
 
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I have no problem with the pretending/fantasy part of these myths. We pretend and fantasize all day long with our 4.5 year old dd. (She is Lilo right now from Lilo & Stitch and tell everybody she is from Hawaii but she knows her real name and where she is really from.)

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.)
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#21 of 30 Old 08-23-2002, 06:45 PM
 
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We don't do them. Ds was 4 before he began asking about it. I told him, no, Santa is not real but some people like to pretend so he should'nt spoil their fun. I do remember that feeling of.."You lied to me!" when I learned the truth. It tested my faith for many years.
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#22 of 30 Old 08-23-2002, 06:50 PM
 
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No to the Easter bunny (don't celebrate Easter)-yes to the St. Nick of our European traditions.

Not the commercialized Santa though.
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#23 of 30 Old 08-25-2002, 04:55 PM
 
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Hi there, I have raised my daughter Winter, now close to nine years, in a relaxed pagan tradition, Goddess spirituality. Those old men in white beards definetely scared her when she was small. But I also like the fun and fantasy of magical visitors. So we have created the Solstice Fairy who visits on Winter Solstice and brings a few gifts. I grew up in a family who recognized Christmas a religious, not a commercial holiday. And we always gave more gifts on birthdays, and none at Easter and Valentine's Day, etc, but always some at Christmas and the stocking. The Magic Hare of Spring visits at the Spring Equinox and leaves one little treat and we decorate eggs in the Ukranian fashion and talk about the wonders of spring. The Tooth Fairy leaves little silver charms, a great alternative to cash, (cheap too, go to a craft or bead store). So that's us, I believe in magic and mystery and Winter still enjoys our special celebrations. Any pagan leaning mommas can get great holiday alternative ideas from Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions, by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill. We use this book a lot and I highly recommend it as a positive and accessible resource. ANyways, have fun y'all.
In peace, Sorrel
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#24 of 30 Old 08-26-2002, 01:10 AM
 
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Boy, I guess I am really the odd man(woman) out here. We do Santa EB, TF, the whole bit. I think it is fun and the kids get so excited. I feel that they are kids and should enjoy every minute of this time. As they get older, the fun things become more and more rare. When my children ask, I also do the "what do you think" or "believe whatever is right for you" thing. I know that, seeing as ds is almost 8, the truth will come out soon enough. However, I will encourage him to keep the secret from his younger siblings so that they can all enjoy it the way he has. I do not look at it as a trust issue. There are so many things in our childrens lives that we do not come out and tell them out of the blue. I have a hard time understanding why a child would be upset about the "lying" when it has led to wonderful treats for them. It is a natural part of growing up. Just keep it fun.

This is just my opinion, not to discount anyone else's feelings or traditions.
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#25 of 30 Old 08-28-2002, 08:46 AM
 
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We feel very strongly that our children should have a strong understanding of reality first so that fantasy and pretending can then be built on that later. I won't go into the whole philosophy behind it, but we believe it will help them to be adults capable of living in the present rather than victims of the random thoughts that plague the minds of most adults (including ourselves, both TV kids). So to allow that to happen we try to present only the truth for the first 4 1/2 to 5 years. That means no talking animals/cars/etc in books or TV, no Easter bunny and so on. Of course it's not easy bc we do have a TV and there are very few children's shows that fit our criteria. Basically Playschool, music acts and then into National Geographic type shows.

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.
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#26 of 30 Old 08-28-2002, 10:49 AM
 
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ooooh.. I love that this thread has come up! It has given my several new points to ponder (thanks!) as I have been contemplating this for years.

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.
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#27 of 30 Old 08-29-2002, 05:51 AM
 
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what a great topic
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
m
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#28 of 30 Old 08-30-2002, 01:41 AM
 
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Dd #1 thinks that the Easter Bunny lives at the mall . . .

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 . . .
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#29 of 30 Old 08-30-2002, 01:33 PM
 
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Well, Stephanie, I guess we are odd man out together! Is there such a thing? I am not religious; dh is Catholic but not practicing (goes to church twice a year with his mom). We do Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and the Halloween Fairy! Halloween Fairy is something I heard of a couple of years ago that we do now too. DD is welcome to eat Halloween candy for two days. Then the Halloween Fairy comes and takes the candy, replacing it with a little gift (coloring book, stickers, whatever - I usually get this on sale after Halloween the year before - gotta love those 90% off holiday merchandise sales at Target!)
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!
Kirsten
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#30 of 30 Old 09-01-2002, 06:21 PM
 
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I had sort of the opposite problem of a lot of people here....I was way past the age of belief, like nine or ten, and my parents still INSISTED that Santa was real and that the kids at school were lying to me when they said he wasn't. I couldn't bear the thought of my parents lying to me, so I insisted on believing. Caught a lot of crap from the kids at school for that.

With our kids we'll probably go the "it's just a nice story but it's fun to pretend" route.

Mommy to eyesroll.gif (age 7) and mischievous.gif (age 3)

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