Santa Who?

In the spirit of Christmas, since it is Christmas Eve I’ve decided to go ahead and post this entry that I’ve had drafted for a while. I’ve contemplated if I wanted to post it at all, considering it’s somewhat controversial. I may, or may not get flack for this post, and that’s OK. Not every blog post has to be fluffy and happy and non-controversial. Really, who wants to read entries from a blogger who doesn’t stir things up every now and then? It doesn’t seem to be a very popular opinion, especially with my friends who are already parents and my mother-in-law. So bear with me.

My husband and I aren’t going to teach our kids about Santa Claus.

Well, that’s not 100% true. Let me rephrase. We will teach them of the myth and the story behind Santa Claus; the origins of the legend, etcetera. But we are not going to do the whole, “There’s a magical, obese man that squeezes down your chimney every December 24th and brings you presents if you’re good. And likes milk and cookies, which really and truly doesn’t help with his weight problem. And has flying animals. And automatically knows who is naughty or nice, and knows precisely where you live. And sees you when you’re sleeping. “ Because that last one is really, really skeevy and creepy. Sorry.

I have seen a lot of skeptical faces from my friends, and disappointed expressions from grandparents and other family members who can’t understand why we don’t want to pass on the Santa tradition with our children. I can’t remember believing very strongly in Santa. Some people will argue that if you don’t let children believe there is a Santa Claus, you are “robbing them of the magic of the season”. Since when does Christmas have to be about a jolly man in a crimson suit dropping presents (or coal) on the people of the world? To me, my fondest holiday memories are steeped in family, not whether or not the fat man existed. Memories of gathering around the table and eating, sharing stories and singing songs with my cousins dominate over the one year I recall leaving Santa milk and cookies. I don’t believe the magic of the season is lost on children at all if you create new magic, and new traditions. I also feel children need to understand where their gifts come from; they don’t come magically from a workshop in the North Pole. They come from mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles.
There’s also the matter of questions, which has been inspired by the children of friends I have who are parents. Questions like:
“How does Santa fit down the chimney?” and “How does he know where I live?”
The only response that most people can seem to come up with to perpetuate the illusion that this mythical man exists is, “It’s magic” or “Because he’s Santa.”

Um. I’m sorry, but if you have a child who is logical (like my husband is) and questions the nature of his or her reality, that’s just not going to cut it. And it’s not like you can just make something up like, “He fits down the chimney because he’s made of rubber.” Or “He knows where you live, because he has everyone in the world in his PDA contact list.”
Because that’s just flat out lying. And then you get the questions about the various other aspects of Santa, like..
“How do his reindeer fly?”

“What if my list gets lost in the mail?”

“Is Santa married? Does he have kids? What are their names? Does he get them presents?”

The questions that can fly from a child’s mouth in regards to Santa and the whole thing surrounding him could be endless.. Which also equals a parent who is frantically trying to think on their toes because they don’t want to shatter a child’s illusion of Santa Claus.
Really, I don’t want to lie to my children. I don’t want to tell them that something exists when it doesn’t. Because one day, when they find out the truth they may be upset or angry that I lied to them. I want my children to be enlightened and educated. As for “robbing them of the holiday spirit”, since when did Christmas become about Santa? For those of you who know me, or have read my blog for a while you know I’m not religious and don’t consider myself a Christian. For me, the holiday season isn’t about the birth of Jesus, or the “magic of Santa”. For me, it’s a time of family and celebration, a time to be thankful for what we have in the world and to give others gifts and show them kindness. Ideally, this behavior should be carried throughout the year but the holiday season is special. I do have my childhood memories of Christmas and none of them have to do with Santa. They have to do with fireplaces and cocoa, of carols and decorating our family Christmas tree.

So our plan to tell the truth about ole’ Kris Kringle may seem harsh or even mean to some, but to us it fits. Also, please don’t think that I look down on anyone who chooses to continue the Santa tradition with their children. I understand that for a lot of people, believing in Santa is very important and they can’t wait to pass that excitement down to their children. That’s awesome! It’s just not for us. We also plan on making it very clear to our children to keep the Truth About Santa to themselves, as we realize that others would like their children to believe. Our kids will be taught many other traditions and values to create their own memories during their holiday season.. Santa just won’t be part of it.