🍷 opinion / 👶 motherhood

should I perpetuate the myth of santa?

should i perpetuate the myth of santaI saw him at the mall last weekend.

I pointed excitedly to a stuffed likeness of him on a neighbor’s front porch.

I even sat and watched a movie with Pumpkin and Peanut about how elves saved him in time for Christmas.

Yes, you know who I’m referring to.

I know the modern-day Santa has roots in the tale of Saint Nicholas, who was a real live person. He gave toys and gifts to needy families, and everyone sang his praises. The guy was great, I’m not denying that.

But…

…we all know Santa Claus has been and still is being heavily marketed as the mascot for Team Christmas. (I promise not to give a religious sermon, but technically isn’t Jesus the Reason for the Season?)


IN THIRD GRADE, MY CLASSMATES AND I MADE A BET, TO SEE WHO WOULD BE THE ONE TO SEE SANTA. MY BROTHER AND I STAYED UP LATE, AND I SAT UP IN MY BED, STARING FIXEDLY AT MY RED FELT STOCKING TAPED TO MY HEADBOARD (WE DIDN’T HAVE A FIREPLACE).


When I was a little girl, as far back as I can remember, I was told that if I stayed up late on Christmas Eve, I would see Santa himself come down the chimney and put our presents under the tree.

In third grade, my classmates and I made a bet to see who would be the one to see Santa. My brother and I stayed up late, and I sat up in my bed, staring fixedly at my red felt stocking taped to my headboard (we didn’t have a fireplace).

We wondered: How would Santa enter our house? (We didn’t have a chimney either.)

Would he come through the stove hood? No matter, we decided. We were going to see him no matter what.

Next thing I knew, my mom was waking me up, saying it was Christmas morning and there were presents under the tree.

Rats! I missed him again! None of my classmates had seen him either.

I was pretty bummed as you can imagine, but I got over it quickly enough, determined to catch the bastard next year.


BUT BEFORE I REACHED THE FOLLOWING CHRISTMAS, SOME OF MY CLASSMATES (WHO APPARENTLY WERE A LOT MORE MATURE THAN I WAS) SUDDENLY CLAIMED THERE WAS NO SANTA!


But before I reached the following Christmas, some of my classmates (who apparently were a lot more mature than I was) suddenly claimed there was no Santa!

How can he go to every house in one night? they scoffed. If he’s so fat, how can he fit in the chimney?

I didn’t even have a chimney–what about ME?

I began to seriously question everything I had ever believed in.

Does Santa visit non-Christians too? What about time zones? How can one sack carry a toy for every kid in the whole world? And why was the toy I received on Christmas morning already laying not-so-hidden at the top of my parents’ bedroom closet?

The truth finally sunk in. There was no Santa. The realization hit me hard, and I was in a daze for much of the early ’90s. I was thankful for my family, and liked the awesome gifts they got for me, but now it’s got me wondering…

Should I perpetuate the myth of Santa?


SHOULD I TELL THEM SOMETHING I KNOW TO BE FALSE, JUST TO ENTERTAIN THEM FOR A WHILE, BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF THE CRUSHING BLOW THAT IS THE TRUTH?


I have kids of my own now. Should I tell them something I know to be false, just to entertain them for a while, before the arrival of the crushing blow that is The Truth? A truth they will most likely come to know at the hands of suddenly skeptical classmates?

They can’t avoid seeing Santa wherever they go this Christmas season, but I will not be the one to tell them they need to be good or they’ll receive a lump of coal, or that Santa lives at the North Pole with a bunch of toy-making elves in a sweatshop.

No. I’ll be telling them that Santa is just another Christmas character, alongside talking gingerbread men, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman.

 


Do your kids believe in Santa or not? How would you tell them he’s not real?


 

 


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29 thoughts on “should I perpetuate the myth of santa?

  1. When I had discovered that Santa was a myth all along … I was frankly devastated but I found out at a really young age because I had terrible older cousins who thought it would be hilarious to attempt to ruin my childhood. Soon after that … I had seen how much my father used to do for me during the holiday season from ensuring I had gotten everything on my wish list, to decorating the tree together, baking, shopping for others and gifting/donating our time to those in desperate need during the holidays. My dad would even go that extra inch to dress up as Santa Clause every Christmas eve so that we could take family pictures together. At a really young age yes I found out that there was no Santa Clause BUT I saw the true form of Santa in my father and forever will. Haha a bit of a sappy story but I think to categorize Santa into the same genre of all other Christmas characters is the best thing to do! I know my parents, especially my father conveyed to me at a very young age that Christmas is that holiday where we should empathesize and be grateful for all that we have in our lives. AND more significantly lend a helping hand to those who are not as blessed as we are. Wow! Such a long rant haha.

    Xo. http://www.sonamnaiducreative.com

    • Wow, you’re dad sounds awesome, and really embodies the true spirit of Christmas ❤ And it’s so important to help those less fortunate, while we also reflect on our blessings and feel grateful.

      Incidentally, my dad dressed up a few times as Santa to distribute our gifts on Christmas morning (but this was after I found out there was no Santa, which was a bit awkward!) 🎅

  2. I’m sorry but I want my children to believe. There is magic in Christmas. In the belief in Santa. Kids are forced to grow up so fast in our day I want them to have hope in something unseen. I hope when they loss that belief it will not be crushing. I hope they still have belief in the goodness of people and faith in things beyond themselves.

  3. I think there is so little magic left in the world that letting a child believe in Santa is perfectly ok. I tend to explain Santa to my nephews and nieces like this : that he was a real person once but now he exists more in the spiritual sense, in bringing joy and happiness at Christmas time and maybe helping Mummies and Daddies pick out gifts. Plenty of time for a child to lose that sense of wonder and belief when they’re older. Even though the gradual coming to terms with the truth about Santa is sometimes traumatic, I wouldn’t want to have never believed in him. I still remember being very small and seeing the sleigh tracks that Santa (ie my Dad) had left on the lawn, and the leftover cookie crumbs and glass of milk. It’s magical and beautiful and kids grow up way too fast these days and become cynical and jaded well before they should. Mind you, I still kinda believe in fairies, magic AND Santa, so maybe I’m just speaking about myself 🙂

  4. My husband and I began talking about this before we got married. We decided to tell Bubba the real story of Santa and just have one or two special presents for him each year rather than tell him Santa is real and all that jazz. I remember finding out (I was a LATE bloomer) and it was devastating for me and it got me teased, a lot.

  5. We have never done the Santa thing, although it’s fun for children to believe in things because they are only young once. So I do the tooth fairy. But with Christmas, the real story is so much more beautiful than any make believe. We are Orthodox Christian and celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. We do the Christmas movies and such. But when there is a real story, why change it?

    • I love your comment. The Santa myth works for those who wouldn’t otherwise celebrate Christmas. But for Christians the real story is much more powerful. I do the Christmas movies with my kids too, but Santa is just another character in the story to them. I don’t take the extra step of saying he’s real and he’ll bring gifts etc. and they dont ask. Granted, they are both under 5, maybe that helps!

  6. As adults its easy to forget how deep beliefs can be rooted in a young innocent mind. If a child realizes there’s suddenly no Santa and there never was, its like a punch in the stomach. That’s how it was for me :\

  7. We heard Santa from others, but when I asked my mother about it, she said Santa was symbolic of all gift givers and “anyone who gave a gift was a Santa”. I was one of those deep thinking kids anyway. Oh well.
    I think it is a good policy to just never tell even what you consider a small lie to your children. Ever. If they can wonder enough to ask, make sure they get the info from you instead of someone else. Trust and love are the only things we can really pass on to them that lasts forever.

    • I like your mother’s take on “anyone who gave a gift was a Santa”. I wouldn’t want to intentionally tell a lie to my kids about the existence of Santa Claus that I would then need to un-tell, breaking their little hearts. And what would they think of me? As humorous as my post is at times, I really still remember how shocking it was to find out the truth so abruptly. I didn’t like it.

  8. These days kids will just Google it and find out. I don’t think it’s wrong to let them believe.. Kids will get that feeling of finding out the truth either way… It just happens in life.

  9. Its almost as though children are catching on sooner, the mall santas all now have real beards–to keep the kids from pulling off the fake ones!

  10. I think it’s up to the parents. I have never told my children Santa is real. One, because I work too hard to buy those presents to go have my kids think they miraculously appear, and two, I don’t want to lie to them about such things. There are plenty other things to lie about 🙂 I’ve also seen the heartbroken child who comes to the realization that Santa isn’t real and it’s not pretty.
    That being said, my older child never bought into Santa but the younger one insists that he’s real!

  11. Why not? It can be a fun childhood tradition like the Easter bunny or leprechauns. And at least the kids will be good leading up to Christmas!

  12. I don’t think teaching children about Santa is a bad thing…it helps them learn what faith is all about and can really help a parent establish a foundation that can be built upon as they grow up.

    My parents allowed us to believe in Santa, but they also helped us understand the importance of what Christmas was really about: Jesus being born. Savior of the world, Son of God coming into the world.

    Funny thing…I’m quite a bit older now and I still believe that Santa exists and expect him to show up on Christmas eve…

    I’m always left disappointed on Christmas morning. 😉

    • Yeah…I see where you’re coming from…but I still remember that feeling of finding out the truth…it was a slow realization I made on my own, instead of someone letting me down gently. It shocked and hurt me at the time. I would feel strange purposely doing that to my daughters. Faith can still be taught through spiritual beliefs and God, which we’re doing.

      Sorry Santa hasn’t shown up for you yet! 😀 Leave tastier cookies!

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