The “Santa” Issue

This discussion started from David about whether or not the whole Santa Clause lie is ok with to do with kids. I mean giving kids this mythical figure that gives them presents every year is sweet and fun in one way but in another way you have to continue to lie to your children to keep up this whole imaginary person.

I think it’s particularly confusing to me because I was raised Jewish and never knew of Santa as anything other than an imaginary figure.

My mother told me when I was young that he didn’t exist. I had many friends who did believe in him and even crushed one of my friends (she was about 4 and I was about 5) by telling her he wasn’t real. You can imagine what the mother thought of me and my mother after that. Still though, you can’t control the world.

How do you keep this illusion going when it’s so easy now for a child to find out the truth. Was it my fault I told the kid the truth? Should my mother never have told me the truth? Maybe she should have just told me that Santa doesn’t bring presents to Jewish kids :)

As far as I see it, when (if) I have children I don’t want to raise them with the idea of Santa. In fact I don’t believe in celebrating Christmas or Easter or any of those holidays. I still celebrate some Jewish holidays but only with my family and I haven’t been to temple in many years.

I personally don’t want to raise my child with any false idea of Santa clause. They’ll still get presents around Christmas/Chanukah but with no illusions. No Christmas tree, no stockings and no Santa.

So then I have to figure out how to teach my child to deal with all the other kids who do get a santa and how they should handle it. Is that fair to me? Then I wonder if I should just do as my mother did and just speak the truth…let the rest work itself out.

I can imagine how unliked I might be at the PTA meetings.


  • Maureen

    When we bring the kids to a magic show, we invariably talk about ‘How did they do that?’. We’ll brainstorm all the different ways it could have been done. We might even look up the trick on-line, to help us figure it out. But, in the end, we always allow that it might possibly have simply been magic.

    That’s the same way that we approach Santa (and Easter Bunny and God and Tooth Fairy and Unicorns and Love and Life and Leprechauns, etc.)

  • Maureen

    Just read the previous comments. I think that if you’re going to tell your kids ‘There is no Santa’, it would be nice to add, ‘But some kids do believe in it & that’s OK for them’. Great way to start teaching them about not just tolerating other people’s beliefs, but celebrating them.

  • Robin

    As always Maureen you know your stuff…thank you.

  • http://egginspoon.blogspot.com jill

    Oh, I like what Maureen said. Probably the best and wisest course. But I have to say, my family pretended all sorts of things — Santa, magic, pet mice in the knife drawer, etc. . . part entertainment, part whimsical safety net and always a lot of fun. My uncle, ’til this day, won’t admit that he didn’t make the bunny he bought me for Easter pink at my command. And that’s just so cool.

  • http://urbansemiotic.com David W. Boles

    I think you’re linking the wrong article I wrote! :mrgreen:

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