It never occurred to me when I was a young mother to NOT teach my kids to believe in Santa Claus. There was just no question. I believed in Santa, and my kids were going to.
My kids with Santa 30+ years ago
I remember clearly when I discovered he wasn’t real. I was standing next to my brother’s crib talking to my mother and she said something casually about there not being a Santa Claus, and I was surprised. She was surprised that I was surprised, somehow thinking I no longer believed (I mean, I was seven, after all!) She thought I was pretending to believe because I was afraid I wouldn’t get any presents if I didn’t! My question was, “Well, does that mean there is no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy either?” Somehow I survived the revelation that it was all pretend.
So when my grandchildren came along there was no discussion about whether or not to tell them there was a Santa, it just happened. I must have known that some people don’t teach their children to believe…I mean, who hasn’t seen “Miracle on 34th St?” But in my world, everyone did.
Then when Hannah was in kindergarten, one of the kids said that there was no Santa, and surprisingly, no one but Hannah was surprised. She goes to a Seventh Day Adventist School, and I guess they don’t teach their kids there is a Santa, because they are afraid if they tell kids there is a Santa, then that he’s make-believe, the kids will think the same thing about Jesus. As far as I can remember, it was the first time I actually KNEW people who didn’t.
Fortunately, as a big sister, Hannah is keeping the secret for her sister and cousin. Bea asked Santa for a set of American Girl Toddler Twins (“a boy and a girl with yellow hair”) for Christmas. I made the girls each a scarf this year, and with the extra yarn made a scarf for Hannah’s full-sized American Girl doll, and the girl twin that Bea will be getting. I put them in the girl’s advent boxes, thinking that Bea would think it was for her baby doll. But, when she opened it, she said, “Oh look, a scarf for my girl twin!” I said, “Well, Bea, you just asked Santa for one, that doesn’t mean you’ll for sure get it.” To which she said, “Well, Gaga, whatever you ask Santa for, that’s what you get.” I love it.
The kids know what Christmas is REALLY about, and that Santa is just another part of the holiday. Somehow I just can’t imagine it being any other way. Christmas is just so much more fun when there are Santa believers in the house!
So what do you think? Is the Santa thing a fun part of childhood that we all seem to survive with no harm done? Or is it a fraud we perpetrate on our children that could have potential negative consequences?