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Hey Kid, Santa Doesn't Exist. Spread the Word!

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Guest Blogger Emily: After reading guest blogger GrinchMommy's post, I Refuse to Let My Kids Believe in Santa, I started to wonder if I was married to "Grinch Daddy."

Santa going inside fireplace

A few weeks ago, as my husband and I walked past a way-too-skinny Santa at the mall, I asked him if he would ever allow our son Jacob to take a picture with Santa. "No, we're Jewish," he said incredulously. "Santa's bullsh*t!" 

"Well, I grew up taking pictures with Santa at the mall, and I was never confused about what holiday we really celebrated," I said defensively.

"Yeah, but Santa's not even real. And I'm going to tell him that."

"What?! Why would you tell him that?"

"Because he should know. Why should he grow up believing that a fat guy in a red suit is going to climb down his chimney, let alone anyone's chimney, and deliver gifts?! That's ridiculous. Might as well tell him the truth now ... and tell him to spread the word."

WAIT. STOP. Is my normally festive, forward thinking, and liberal-minded husband suggesting that we teach our son that good ol' St. Nick -- a holiday icon for the majority of the world -- is fake and that he's not even real for the kids who's religion actually embraces him??? I was floored.

I figured, that as Jacob gets older, he will obviously hear about Santa and will want to know about him ... and I figured our game plan would be to tell them that Santa doesn't come to our house because we celebrate Hanukkah, BUT that on Christmas he may go to his friend Blake's house or our next door neighbor's house or get too drunk with Mrs. Claus and stay in for the night ... I don't know, something! But I had never intended on disclosing the real truth behind Santa. Why would I? Won't he grow up one day and figure it out on his own -- or be told by guest blogger Grinch's mean daughter that Santa's not real?! Why should our kid have to be the bearer of bad news?

When I was a kid, I can remember going to school one day after losing a tooth, and proudly exclaiming that the tooth fairy left me 50 cents under my pillow (btw, a ten spot would've been nice, mom). But when the girl who developed before anyone else told me: "The tooth fairy?! The tooth fairy's not real. DUH! It's your mom, stupid," my heart sank. What?! I was devastated and begged my mom to tell me the truth. But it was too late (and my mom was a terrible liar). My hopes and dreams that a little fairy that looked like Tinker Bell and carried around bags and bags of baby teeth from children around the world were ruined. With that image in mind, the thought of spoiling whatever fantasies and make believe that swirl in my son's brain seems cruel.

Obviously we're Jewish and obviously we don't "celebrate" Christmas, but that doesn't mean we have to put the kibosh on Santa ... he's not really even a religious figure at this point anyway! And sure, it'd be nice if the rest of the world glorified Hanukkah and made it as mainstream as Christmas. But the reality is, it probably never will be -- and little Timmy and Jane in bumblef*ck, Nebraska, aren't ever going to yearn for Hanukkah songs and dreidel games.

We will never hang stockings, or have a Christmas tree or leave cookies out for Santa.But if Jacob wants to believe that Santa's busy at the neighbor's house, trying to stuff himself through the drain in the sink to get inside (which is what I imagined as a child, since no one I knew had chimneys), then so be it. Now the Easter Bunny, that's a whole different story ...

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous December 10, 2008, 2:26 PM

I for one think your husband has a point…the holidays should be about family and friends and the exchanging of gifts… stop the lies and the commercialization of the Christmas and holiday season!

Mom of five angels December 10, 2008, 2:39 PM

Wow! What a sensitive article after reading that other trash that was posted and the pure disregard for other peoples feelings. You obviously are a very sensitive person not only to your own family but those that are around you. Hopefully your son will learn from your example. Happy Hannukah!

From a Christian Mom who happens to enjoy playing Santa!

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 3:37 PM

I am so tired of these kinds of posts about people who blatently disregard other people’s feelings and traditions they hold important with their own kids. If you choose not to do Santa, fine, but don’t ecourage your child to ruin it for everyone else. Your feelings aren’t the only ones that matter. BTW this is aimed at the husband, not the wife-she is obviously considerate of other people. Thank goodness.

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 3:58 PM

It seems to me that lately a lot of the beliefs that I hold so dearly are coming under attack from so many people. I have tried all my life to be respectful of other people who believe differently than I do. I have always tried to keep an open mind and open heart to many things that I personally don’t agree with and understand that every person needs to live their life according to their own beliefs but I have to tell you that the more I try to be understanding, the more I feel that other people feel they have more of a right to try and force their beliefs on me. To me beliefs should be more than just what is considered to be “P.C” in this ever changing world we live in. So again, live your life and I won’t try and force you to believe in what I believe in and PLEASE let me live my life and believe in what I want to.

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 4:05 PM

“NO, we’re Christians…Jews are Bullsh*t.
It doesn’t feel so good on the other side of it does it?

Bunny December 10, 2008, 4:49 PM

So what you’re saying is, you’re going to let your Jewish kid think that Santa is real but just doesn’t give him presents because he’s Jewish? That’ll make him feel great about being Jewish, now won’t it? Jewish kids already have enough trouble feeling left out and strange at Christmastime. Why would you want to compound that for your child?

One way or another (and I know this from experience), he’s going to feel very left out of Christmas (Hanukkah just isn’t the same). Let him at least feel like he has the edge on the gullible Christian kids by filling him in on the truth about Santa; just tell him not to tell the other kids, because believing in Santa is fun and it wouldn’t be nice to mess things up for them.

Anonymous December 10, 2008, 5:03 PM

You obviously have never experienced Hanukkah correctly, I never felt left out around Christmastime. My f and the other Jewish families I grew up with all celebrated Hanukkah with lots of love, gifts, food and fun…As a matter of fact it was my non Jewish friends that felt left out and we made it a point to have them over and enjoy the Festival of lights with our family.

karattu83 December 11, 2008, 8:29 AM

Okay, first off… its TOTALLY cool if your husband wants to ruin the whole idea of SANTA for YOUR kid… But, understand this, If you and your husband are selfish enough to RUIN something that children all over hold very dear to their heart, you both OBVIOUSLY do NOT understand what it is to be a TRUE parent. While I may have reservations about peoples chosen ideology, I would NEVER, absolutely NEVER, ruin something for a child. Your hubby seems pretty bitter…are you sure he didn’t secrety wish for a stocking growing up, instead of that wooden spin top and those chocolate coins…

Be jerks amongst yourselves,and family, not others who really enjoy the spirit of Christmas and giving.

Linda December 15, 2008, 10:30 AM

Why would you allow your child to “believe” that a character who brings gifts to “good” children, but not to him, is real? You don’t teach him that “we have Hannukah instead” because that sets up the comparison - and there is no comparison. In fact, the whole point of Hannukah is that it was a victory of identification over assimilation - or didn’t you ever learn that? It was a war that ended with the the Jews again free to practice and learn, overwhelming those who wished the traditions to be quashed. Teach your child the pride in identifying with those who fought for religious freedom and let him know that he is good - he doesn’t need a character from his neighbor’s tradition to confirm (or disprove) that.

Fabiola December 17, 2008, 10:41 PM

Wow! I understand the whole idea of wanting your children to believe in Santa. In fact I came across this e-mail because my son (now seven) recently told me that he has been thinking that Santa has to be mythical. He said that he has been reading everything about the North Pole and he found out that reindeer do not fly or else they would be able to escape from wolves. Of course he has for a long time known that Santas at the mall are not the real thing because “Santa would not ask him for money to take a picture with him.” (His words). And yet last year when my niece came to visit after at her school her kindergarten teacher broke the news and she felt like sharing, my son not only didn’t believe her but convince her otherwise.

My point is that children believe and fit what they want to believe for as long as they want to believe. Last year you could not convince my son otherwise, this year, he wants the truth. I want to come clean and let him know he’ll still get presents (He said that if he doesn’t get a piece of coal this year he’ll know for sure Santa’s not real… He believes that Santa brings coal to kids that don’t believe in him).

He believed in John and Vin (his imaginary friends) despite my pleas to stop his games. He truly believed until one day he laughed at his grandma for asking if Johns and Vin were coming down for breakfast. He used to demand a place mat for them.

In short kids don’t ruin or prevent other kids from believing. Kids do it by themselves. Their world view is full of magic and wonder. You want to keep your children wonder and innocence, they don’t need Santa. Pick up a science kit, be a Santa for someone else, take them to the mountain and see a sunset,and share your faith.

Don’t get angry with someone who “ruin it” for your children. Although, I do agree that is just good parenting to teach children respect for other’s people’s believe.

Margaret December 5, 2009, 5:51 PM

you can be honest and truthful without being mean and cruel. you don’t want to make him feel like a fool when he’s confronted by peers at school but you still want him to have hope and festive attitude. we are chinese and buddhists, so a lot of western holidays are not ‘really’ celebrated or taken as ‘truth’ but that doesn’t mean we can’t share that joy with others or worse, ruin it for them.

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