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To Santa or Not To Santa

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?

About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

6 responses »

  1. OMG!!!! I love this pic!!!!! Hee hee so cute!!!!

  2. Janet, I couldn’t help but comment. This one touched close to home. I taught my kids about Santa, we even went a bit over board. The year my son wondered how Santa got down OUR chimney, because it was a 6″ pipe, not a huge brick fireplace, there were wet foot prints from the front door to the tree. One year Santa sat long enough to have a snack, and accidentally left a green mitten behind. Covered in reindeer hair! As they got older, we had to get more creative, but still we perpetuated the magic of Santa. There were sleigh bells ringing on the roof, sled marks in the snow, and always a letter left to thank them for the cookies and milk.

    When my children came to me with stories of kids in school that didn’t believe, we stood firm. My answer to my very skeptical 8 year old daughter? “I would much rather live in a world with Santa, than without.”

    And so way beyond the normal age of disillusionment, my children have enjoyed the wonder of Santa. Even during their difficult teen years, Santa became a intermediary between us, and could share our hopes, dreams and fears with them. His thank you letters became personal letters of encouragement and commiseration. It has become a family conspiracy, and I have heard them steadfastly proclaim their belief. They are 19 and 20 years old, and still will never admit there may not be a “right jolly old elf”, at least not in my presence.

    I was thrilled last year to hear my grown son say to my grandnephew, who was so upset over the rumors in school, “I feel sorry for them, I would much rather believe in Santa than not…”


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