Here comes Santa Clause

Is it just my wife and I who wonder about this?  Does anyone else feel a bit of guilt lying to their kids about Santa? Our almost-6 year old has been thinking about this and has asked us a few point blank questions such as “Are all the Santas we see real Santas?”

My wife and I have had discussions about how to approach the whole Santa deal. A friend of ours was pretty adamant that pretending Santa comes and gives presence to the kids is blatently lying to your kids – which I agree with. But then I guess the question is, is it OK to lie about Santa? I’m not so sure. Will our kids resent us when they find out we’d been lying to them all along about Santa or will they not have the maturity to think that way? It seems like most kids realize that it was just a fun ruse that Mom and Dad did to make Christmas more fun.

We haven’t landed on a firm Santa policy yet but are running out of time. One idea is to just be up front about Santa being pretend – and that it’s a fun thing to make believe that Santa is real and delivers gifts to us.

We just think its odd that at Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and then lie to our kids about a make believe Santa Clause who comes into our house and rewards “good” kids with presence.

How have you approached Santa Clause in your family?

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  1. I was actually thinking about this topic the other day. We don't have kids yet, but even in dealing with other people's kids, I sometimes don't know how to respond when santa comes up in conversation. I don't like perpetuating a lie that nowadays is too often used to readily conceal the true value of Christmas, but it is not my place to say anything contrary to parents' wishes either. If and when it is mine and my own decision to make, I think we will both lean towards telling the "true" story of St. Nicholas rather than building a lie that can only later disappoint upon learning its falsity and frustrate parents to try to maintain once the oldest child finds out. Santa can be a symbol of hope and charity, even without the lie. In addition, I think taking away the Santa story can be a way to raise kids not to be so gift focused at Christmas perhaps as well. It's easier to focus on the giving aspect and the Ultimate Gift when kids aren't rushing downstairs to "see what Santa brought." Not that there won't be gifts and a tree and unwrapping to do on Christmas morning, but my hope is that the materialistic fervor of the general populace, in large part spun by the Santa story, will be overshadowed by the true Christmas story and the spirit of giving and family in my home.

  2. That is so true – I thought of the whole "other people's kids" aspect of it after I already posted the article. Sometimes people come up to my kids and ask if they've been good this year and if Santa is going to come to their house. It almost makes me cringe a little – like, stop lying to my kids, you know. I just smile and nod. I would be delighted if my child responded "Well, actually Santa is made up. And getting gifts is not based on my merit but because those giving me gifts love me. And furthermore, there's no such thing as a good person. Merry Christmas!" 🙂

  3. We've told our kids from the beginning that Santa (i.e. St. Nick) was a person who lived a long time ago and did nice things for people. They also know the story of the make-believe version now, but also know that Mommy and Daddy give them presents every Christmas. Our biggest thing now is telling them that it is okay if their friends believe and that they shouldn't ruin it for them. Nathan and I both grew up believing in Santa, but figured we would just tell our kids the truth from the beginning. It's worked out well for us. We do take our kids to get their picture with Santa every year and they indulge him by telling what they'd like for Christmas. It's something fun to do as a family even if they don't believe.

  4. Yeah – That's the way we're leaning. Even this Christmas there were people who were playing up Santa Clause with the kids and it just made us uncomfortable. I don't fault anyone for pretending Santa is real for their kids but there's a good chance this will be our last year for it. We did put out cookies for Santa but only because someone else brought it up to the kids and we had no good reason to tell them no.

  5. Hey Ben!Thought I'd offer my two cents. Kerri and I generally answer the question with a question of our own. Like you, we weren't keen on telling an out-right lie, but we didn't see any reason to flat out burst the bubble of naïveté that is a mark of childhood. So, we don't make a big deal about it. When one of the kids asks about Santa – like how did he get from the mall to the library to the market – we ask them how they think it works, and answer with something non-committal.A year or two ago Samantha put enough together that she pretty much figured it out. At that point I filled in the details. The boys are still into it. All enjoyed the Holiday.

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