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I wasn't going to teach my son about any of these. We are Christain and I want to stick to teaching him more about God. But then I got into Waldorf. I know it is very into make believeand all. I just don't want him to be hurt when we tell him there is no Santa and such thinking we lied to him but on the other hand it does fit into Waldorf right? Any opinions would be helpful. Thanks.:x
 

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They ARE real - they are real actual cultural myths. They can be restricted to a small group like a family or they can be multi-cultural, like "Saint Nicholas."

Are you familiar with Jung and his work on archetypes and psychology? Archetypes enable psychological development and processing. The Great Mother is an archetype that I know intimately and is my primary "relationship" since I have no women in my life who fit that role, and since I need the mentoring and comfort of that archetype.

Deceiving your child is different than encouraging psychological processing and imagination. Imagination is real, it's real psychological creation and interrelation. It's as real as emotions and doing math in your head.

I don't know anything about Waldorf but I don't see that cultural archetypes are "outside" of any religion, to my understanding. All religions use archetypes to aid seekers to find paths to the Divine. From what I understand.
 

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They ARE real - they are real actual cultural myths. They can be restricted to a small group like a family or they can be multi-cultural, like "Saint Nicholas."

Are you familiar with Jung and his work on archetypes and psychology? Archetypes enable psychological development and processing. The Great Mother is an archetype that I know intimately and is my primary "relationship" since I have no women in my life who fit that role, and since I need the mentoring and comfort of that archetype.

Deceiving your child is different than encouraging psychological processing and imagination. Imagination is real, it's real psychological creation and interrelation. It's as real as emotions and doing math in your head.

I don't know anything about Waldorf but I don't see that cultural archetypes are "outside" of any religion, to my understanding. All religions use archetypes to aid seekers to find paths to the Divine. From what I understand.
I am not Christian, but I also was never going to teach my kids about Santa or any of that...and then life happened. ;)

I am so glad we got to participate in the fun and mythology of the make-believe lives of Santa, his elves, all kinds of fairies (the Toothy one, especially), the Easter Bunny and helpers...it's been a great journey with all of the kids. None of them felt we lied to them. They just sort of came to me (one at a time, at differing ages depending on the kid), and informed me that, although they know Santa or whoever isn't real, they love the pretend.

My 9yo still believes fairies leave her gifts at the bottom of the drive. She has a fairy house set up there and leaves them things like a peanut, a dime, some fresh water, a mushroom, a berry...and they leave her glitter, hair bands, stickers, etc. :) It's a joyful, wonder-building experience for her, and it's not something I think she will be harmed by.

The need for myth---for make-believe, for "magic"--is in all of us. It's a wondrous thing for us to foster. If you foster a love of wonder, it is not hard to include the wonder of your faith.

:)
 

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Sorry! I meant to quote the OP. :)
 

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I think this is a very personal decision, and there are arguments for both sides. I didn't grow up Christian (although I am one now), but the land of make believe was a huge part of my childhood. There were fairies for everything (flower fairies, fire fairies, the tooth fairy, the birthday fairy, etc.), gnomes, elves, angels (even though we weren't Christian, we believed in guardian angels), Santa Claus, St. Nicholas (we children thought these were two different people), and the Easter Bunny. We made fairy houses, my brother and I would make gifts for the tooth fairy, and everything magical or out of the ordinary that happened was always due to the gnomes.

Each of my siblings had a different experience with finding out these things weren't real. I cherished these aspects of my childhood, and heartily believed in them until I was around 11-12. After that, I allowed myself to continue believing, even though I knew deep down that it wasn't real. I believed for as long as I could (until I was 15) because I loved it so much. I would do everything I could to convince my siblings that they should believe, too. To this day, I consider that magic and whimsy an essential part of my childhood. The rocks and trees were my friends, I had dreams of and talked to the angels, I gave and received gifts from the fairies, and I'm so glad I had all of that. I would have felt very deprived without it.

The eldest of my brothers believed in these things fully for a very long time. He was so convinced that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were real for so long, that finally, his mother had to tell him the truth at the age of 13, because it got to the point that it was embarrassing. I remember one time when he was 12, and one of his friends was complaining that he didn't have money for a book he wanted, and his parents wouldn't buy it for him. My brother, in all seriousness, said, "Well, just ask the Easter Bunny to bring it to you."

My second eldest brother did feel a little betrayed when he found out Santa wasn't real. He was much younger, 8 or 9, when he stopped believing, and I think he was a bit let down. He did feel like he'd been lied to, and I think Christmas was a difficult time for him after that, because the magic was gone. He'd seen the man behind the curtain.

My sister stopped believing earliest of all, at the age of 4 or 5. She'd seen the presents hidden away in the closet, and she knew. She was very matter of fact about it all. She didn't feel lied to or betrayed, although she did try very hard to convince her older siblings of the truth. She was never really into make believe, although I really wanted her to be.

My youngest brother was very enthusiastic about anyone who was going to bring him presents, so Santa was a big deal for him. It was less about the wonder and magic, and more about gifts (although he did have a great imagination, and made some very compelling arguments for dragons having existed; he's now a science fiction writer). He realised that Santa and the lot weren't real around the age of 9-10, but he pretended that he still believed for a few years longer, because he wanted to ensure he'd continue to receive presents. I don't think believing in them mattered to him much, either way.

Now, my friend's brother is a pastor with three young children. My friend and his brother both grew up in a Christian home and believed in Santa Claus as children. However, my friend's brother chose not to continue the Santa tradition with his own children, for this reason: "My children have a natural sense of wonder about Jesus, but if I tell them Santa's real, then when they grow up, they may think that wonder is just for children, and I don't want them to lose that sense of wonder when it comes to God." This, I feel, is by far the most compelling argument to not teach children about Santa Claus or anything else that isn't 'real'.

If I were ever to have children of my own, I think I would talk about the wonderment of childhood. I think the fairies and gnomes would be part of our life, and Santa and the rest would visit our home. However, I think I'd try to keep it minimal. Santa would bring maybe one present for each child, and perhaps some very simple stocking stuffers (nuts, fruit, chocolate, a few small toys). The fairies and gnomes would be part of nature appreciation, as a way of understanding the world through a child's perspective. But Jesus would be the focus of each day, and praise and thanks would go to Him. I think the main issue with Santa is that he's almost turned into God for children. The whole, "He's watching you! He know's when you're good!" Santa brings the child their greatest dreams and often grants their prayers. When I was little, I remember praying to Santa Claus - not God. Father Christmas becomes such a central figure in a child's life, which is augmented for those children who don't know God. But when St. Nicholas is just an elder who visits your house once a year and leaves a few small gifts, he's secondary. Jesus did way cooler things than anything in the Santa folklore. And I think children know what's real and what's not, based on how their parents feel. If you believe in Jesus but not Santa, your child will sense that and know the difference. And when your child is ready for it, you can tell him the truth. And Jesus is the truth.
 

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One of the best phrases I ever heard about the "truthness" of mythological figures is that they're "real on the inside but not on the outside." If you think about any spiritual traditions in which the reality of the deity or saint cannot be ultimately "proven," this principle is at work.

Childhood is a magical time. There won't need to come a time to "tell" a child things aren't true. Reality unfolds gradually within them as they develop. Or a big sister tells them....! But the rituals and stories you tell them, yes, as archetypes, will live within them, despite their evolving grasp of reality. And the wonder of it will live inside them.

My 17 yr old still likes to build fairy houses (as do I). Even if no fairies come, it is still delightful to behave 'as if!'

That is the place in our psyches, where Santa and the tooth fairy live.

For the Op, I can recommend a really good book on rituals and the traditional Christian traditions. I'll be back later to post it as I forget the name.
 

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I grew up christian, and in a socialist society, so this fairy stuff was just for babies, My grandmother knew some old folks tales about the elves inhabiting our attic etc, and accidentally said some things about them, then shunned herself that believing in this stuff is a sin. Believing in Jesus and heaven was never a wonder to me as a child. I would pray for jesus to help me with my issues, then quickly ask for forgiveness for asking him to worry about such a material thing, and please just go help the hungry kids in africa. I was full of worry over the hungry kids and the possibility that my sins were unforgivable and I would go to hell. And my parents were not even church attending christians, or overly moralistic in life... they just tried to raise moral beings, and what ever indoctrination my grandmother was going through was affecting us.
So I truly wish I had more of them fairies and make believe in my life. I have cherished that so much for my own kids, my older one is now 10 and seems to believe in all this 100%... I worry about him finding out one day that santa Claus is not real .. then what is left of christmas? So I'm thinking emphasizing that this is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, not your presents, is in timely order. Maybe then "finding out" won't be such a disaster. Shoeg8rl, thanks for your stories, i enjoyed reading them, and really makes me feel better about my son's near future with the santa...
 

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I think it would be more in line with make believe to do santa if the child knows it's a game. In waldorf make believe is encouraged and it's called make believe and there is no question between the participants that you are playing a game.

Perhaps you can approach santa that way, not that it's real but that you like to pretend that it is and you would like to pretend with your child.

Personally, DH and decided against Santa because of the gift aspect. we want the gifts to come from the person who worked for them and bought them and for our children to feel the connection between that gift and that person. The pile of presents under the tree has less meaning for us and we can see how it has less meaning for our children too.

For me the whole make-believe thing is secondary. But I think if I were to do Santa I would explain that it is a game, that it is not a real person but that it is a fun game and a fun story.
 
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