Saturday, November 24, 2007

To Santa or Not?

Matt and I are in a discussion about whether or not we tell our kids about Santa Claus. I say discussion and I mean it. Neither of us are passionate in either direction, but we both have misgivings about indulging in the Santa fantasy as well as not comfortable with dispelling it either.

My suggestion is that we just don't make a "thing" out of it. If people talk to our kids about Santa, they can give the dumb, "I have no idea what language you are speaking" look to those adults. Or they can choose to go for it. But we won't perpetuate the myth or tell stories about being good and getting presents. I mean, basically our problem is not so much with Santa as the idea of flat-out lying to our kids about something that we just don't care about.

Both of our parents told us about Santa, but I don't think that my parents carried it very far. It might have just been a "theme" of the season as opposed to a real person. But, Matt said he was really devastated when he learned the truth about Santa and just doesn't want to do that to his kids. My feeling is, just don't look at it through the eyes of a jaded adult. But let it be what it is, fun. Don't make it into a big deal, but you simply play and have fun with the season. I mean, we can't make Christmas morning be the morning of dreams coming true simply because 1) we don't want to and 2) we can't afford to. By simply not indulging in that, you would think that the truth of Santa making all of your dream come true would come out eventually.
Of course, you can't control what your kids do or don't believe.

Last year, my friend gave her kids a new swing set for Christmas. She had EVERYONE she could think of go in on it. Of course, they spent the night at their grandparents house and the swing set was installed at the kids house. So on Christmas morning, they had nothing to open. Their mom told them, "You have an amazing present at home. Everyone went in on it and you will enjoy it all year long!"
Her son, Sam was seen pouting a short while later. My friend asked him what was wrong. He said, "I know what my present is and I don't want it! Cause it's LOVE and LOVE is boring!!!"

What are you thoughts on what we should do about Santa? Pros and Cons of the Santa story? Help us out!

Also, if you get a chance, please check out David Sedaris' Six to Eight Black Men story about Santa Claus. It will make you fall apart with laughter! Click here to listen


Michelle said...

I'm fully supportive of Matt's standpoint and the position that we shouldn't present our children with false information.
That said, right now it is an incredibly powerful weapon with Peter who is almost 4. Did I say weapon? Hmmmm...Not sure if that's the right word but anyway, he is starting to the understand that good behavior has better perks than bad behavior. Just like with Santa! But especially right now where Santa is everywhere all of a sudden, perhaps even I can have a little peace at Christmas this year.

Anonymous said...

I think that you both are on the right track with your discussion. I would suggest this:

#1. dont make a big deal about santa but i would not tell them out right that there is not a form their own impressions based how their parents build it up or level it out
#2. there is a way to talk santa up in a way that the children feel like "santa is magic" -- "santa will always be in your heart" reminding them all the while that when hard factual questions about santa start to arise (a few years from now of course) that santa does not have anything to do with the real meaning of Christmas
#3. ned and i have usually had 2 - 3 santa gifts each for our boys and a few gifts from us. the usual things when they are little like toys & bikes, but never a boatload of gifts like i have seen some people do and we did purposely say when we had burton that we never wanted it to be like that
#4. when kids get older one gift from "santa" will do...something minor...i.e burton did get his computer one year but he knew it was from us...he got a shotgun one year also from ned...edward got his own computer last year with 2 games on it and a computer table that sits in the den area...he knows that was from ned and i and not from santa. they both got a few things from santa...
4. i feel confident that your family traditions and your faith will surpass anything your children will hold in their heart about santa
5. when they are old enough and figure it out and then they come to ask you is santa real (edward just did this last night!!) maybe u can say as i did --- santa is magic, and you will always know who santa is in your heart...but santa is not the real meaning of Christmas...i think each child is different and will look at it in his or her own way, but by not making it a big huge thing and not shutting it out either u will find the right middle ground
6. i know we have said a few times when they were little it is time to be good cause santa is coming, but i really and truly dont remember ever using that as any kind of "you better be good cause you want santa to bring you toys" kinda thing....
#7. by the way, burton (16 yrs) has never ever asked me if santa is real, and he never was devastated (that i knew of) when he found out santa was not real...
#8. our boys know the real meaning of christmas and that is all that counts...edward does still believe and after last nights questions and my answers he just shrugged it off and said "well some kids at school say santa is not real but i do believe in santa" but i know that he knows santa is in his heart
#9. sorry this is so long but i had to answer since u asked for you, mary and ned
#10. one more thing - some years we do go to the mall to see santa and other years we do not....if we dont see him at the mall thing, then he always shows up someplace else...