Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tell Your Santa Story

Do you remember the moment you found out Santa wasn't real? Did it break your heart? Or did you get over it?

Do your kids believe in Santa? What about the Easter Bunny? Tooth Fairy?

We don't do any of it. Never have. Since Peppermint Patty was about 2 years old, we've always been a non-Santa household. I'm not ANTI-Santa, but we're definitely all about telling our kids the truth. We tell them that they can feel free to talk about Santa, pretend about Santa, read books about Santa, etc. But Santa is like Sponge-Bob or Elmo: fun to pretend and have fun and tell stories about but not real.

I would NEVER begrudge anyone about their belief in Santa. I think every family must do what is right for their family. Our kids have strict instructions NOT to spoil the Santa fantasy for other kids, but if they are asked they should answer honestly but politely. We've suggested, "Well every family believes in different things" or "Well, what do you believe?"

I'm curious to know how finding out about the truth of Santa changed you as a child or pre-teen. Did you start to question other things you thought were true? Did you continue to believe the Santa story even though you knew it was just a story?

And please, no stories about "Santa is the SPIRIT of Christmas" because I'm not talking about believing in good cheer, giving to those in need, and the enjoyment of receiving a gift. I think we can all agree that those things exist 365 days a year with or without Santa, even though people tend to feel more inclined to actually ACT cheerful and giving at the holiday season time.

What I'm talking about is believing that a fat man in a red suit has a toy factory on the North Pole, and he delivers millions of gifts to children throughout the entire world in one evening on December 25th, where he squeezes himself down a chimney (or through a keyhole for the homes that don't have a chimney, or through the radiator, or whatever), all without ever being detected. Because I think it takes a lot of faith to swallow that whole story and never blink twice about its validity. But I know that children have enormous faith. And so, that is what makes me ask:

After believing in Santa for so long, and then finding out that it was all just a story, did it change you? Did it make you trust your parents less? Did it make any difference at all?

I got on this train of thought by reading an article in Good Housekeeping in the July Issue, titled "Lying to Your Kids" (I can't find the article online yet). The author discussed how different parents gave "good" reasons for lying to their children (none of which I can agree with, but that's just my opinion and I know every family does what they need to, so let's not go there.) Of course, the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy issue was discussed, and that's what got me thinking.

So, tell me your Santa Story.


Anna See said...

We've downplayed Santa and the tooth fairy all along. It bummed me out, but I did it to support my husband. He felt completely lied to when he found out about Santa a a kid. As a result, he lost his faith in God: "If they would lie to me about that, they're lying about God." Sooooo, even though he found faith in his 30's-- we didn't do much about Santa here. To tell you the truth, I missed the tooth fairy the most. I'd say Jake and Molly have had no illusions about this since about age 3.

McVal said...

My husband and I were brought up to believe that "other" kids believed in Santa. So we've raised our kids that way too. In 1st grade, my son came home and said, "Can I just pretend there's a Santa Clause?" Apparently he was having a hard time convincing the little boys at school his beliefs and he got in a fight...
The only ornament we have of Santa on our tree every Christmas, is Santa kneeling in front of a manger.

Christine said...

I was raised in a snata household, but it really didn't effect me at all when I found out the truth. I had never intended to do the santa thing with my girls, just because to me why lie, when that is not what I celebrate at Christmas anyway. It is about the birth of Christ, period.

Like other parents there just seemed to be no way aroun it when we went to Christmas with family and Santa gifts appeared like crazy, and I had Regan crying because she was terrified of him coming in the house.

Several years ago I sat down with them and explained the myth of Santa and all the rest, and Rebecca was disappointed....but now they think it is funny to lose a tooth and just come ask me for a buck, so they can pass it off to every one else that the tooth fairy came to visit.

Jennifer said...

I grew up believing in Santa, but I don't remember a specific incident when I was "told" that he wasn't real. I just kind of grew out of it. My husband and I both love the tradition and we do it with our kids. It is part of the "magic" of Christmas. No, that really isn't what it is about, but we think it is fun.

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

Lying, deceit, malice. Jiminy, it's Santa. I did not feel any of that when I found out about the "truth" of Santa. But I do understand the parents who do not do Santa. (That's sounds bad, sorry!) I have friends who "lie" to their kids about their teenage years and how they never did anything wrong. Now, I figure those lies are more substantial and might come back to bite them in the butt. Grandma may inadvertently spill the beans and then what?

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

You mean he's not real?!
LOL When I was about 9, my parents got me the book 'yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus' and this helped me so much. I know you don't want to hear about the 'spirit of Santa' but that's what he morphed into--even now. I just always felt when when I learned he wasn't real, real, that he was a symbol of giving, charity and endless love just like the main point of Christmas--God giving His son to the world.
As an adult, I love the whole generosity feel of Santa--his sweet giving nature. it's a good role model for my kids if that makes any sense.

Jen said...

we do the whole Santa thing. But I have no idea how we are going to tell them the truth. I guess I should figure that out.

dianthe said...

when i asked my mom if Santa was real, she told me "if you don't believe, he doesn't come" - for that reason, i continue to believe ... in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy!