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I Refuse to Let My Kid Believe in Santa

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Guest Blogger Grinchmommy: Do you let your children believe in Santa Claus? If so, SHAME ON YOU!

girl telling a secret about santa

One of parents' primary responsibilities is to teach their children to be honest and truthful individuals, something that is a little hard to enforce when you insist on the existence of a mythical creature with pet reindeer.

Allowing your kids believe in someone that doesn't exist not only sets them up for disappointment when they learn the truth, but it also sets you up to look like an untrustworthy liar. What sane, rational parent wants that? Not me! That's why I unveiled Santa's identity to my then two year-old daughter the first time she cast a curious eye toward the throned snow beast sitting inside the candy cane cottage at the local mall.

Now, at age six, my daughter is the only child in her kindergarten class who knows the truth about Santa. This didn't pose any problems ... until my daughter started enlightening her classmates. When reports trickled home that some of my daughter's classmates had taken the revelation particularly hard -- they cried -- I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't feel an ounce of guilt or regret. It's not my fault that some parents foster preposterous fantasies and it is definitely not my responsibility to protect them.

Another reason why Santa's identity should be unveiled once and for all has nothing to do with the poor rich kids whose dreams of flying reindeer and friendly elves are prematurely quashed, and everything to do with all of the unfortunate children in the world whom Santa routinely "forgets." It is simply cruel to coddle belief in a figure who purports to know every child by name, yet is discriminate in his gift-giving, showering some children's homes while skipping over others. While no one likes to be the source of his/her child's disappointment, it is far better in this case for the parent to take the blame for the absence of gifts on Christmas morning than St. Nick. As humans, we are subject to weaknesses, inadequacies, and failings that our child will eventually understand and overcome. Such understanding and acceptance may not be as easily earned from a figure who falls short of his promise to deliver a special gift to EVERY good girl and boy.

What do you think? Comment in the momlogic community.

next: Are Some Sports Too Risky For Kids?
118 comments so far | Post a comment now
Barb December 9, 2008, 4:42 PM

I feel guilty about lying about Santa, too. Because where does it end? Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sand Man… where do you draw the line?

Alas, I think believing in Santa is a special thing for children, so I’ll keep it up as long as my kids believe (I have a 5-year-old and a 15-month-old).

To each their own, and I wouldn’t try to make other families change based on my beliefs.

Callista December 9, 2008, 4:55 PM

We’ve decided not to tell our child that Santa brings presents both because I don’t want to lie, because it totally devastated me and I hated the first Christmas following when I was told. The other reason is because we’re Pagan and Yule is our holiday. We celebrate Christmas because the family does. However I wouldn’t tell other parents what to tell their children.

Kelly December 9, 2008, 7:23 PM

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
That wonderful story written so many years ago, will enlighten you and your children in a way that being “truthful” never will.
My children were told the “truth” at a young age, and were always the first to support those who chose to believe in Santa, and the first to pipe up about Virginia when confronted with a non-believer. Santa and the magic of Christmas can mean so much to all of us, if we would open our hearts.

renee December 9, 2008, 10:08 PM

nothing like NOT letting your children be a kid

Tamerra December 10, 2008, 12:08 AM

Wow! I am in amazement of how the “adults” are acting right now! Don’t you know we live in America-The Land of the FREE! Each one of us has the responisbility to teach our children what we think is best for “THEM!” Agree or disagree just tell your child the real meaning of Christmas is CHRIST!!!!!!!!

blablabala December 10, 2008, 4:13 AM

I knew it, it was the parents all along putting the presents in the christmas stockings or under the christmas tree(thats why your parents say go to sleep or santa will not give you your present and then when they sleep you sneak out and put the presents)

But i still partly believe Santa, you dont have to get angry at me, some believe and some do not and its not like the world is revolving on you, and you are not the queen of the world.

Well, you cant force everyone to be like you, this is just a piece of advice

So if it hurts you, two words-Im sorry

Rose December 10, 2008, 8:53 AM

Sorry, I couldn’t go back and read all the posts as it looks like this story has quite a few comments already but I had to share. I didn’t ever want to lie to my children about anything and don’t believe that even white lies are okay. So we told them the truth about Santa, Easter Bunny, etc., but the interesting thing was; all three children, five years apart convinced themselves we were the liar’s and that there really was a Santa! We still participated in the fun by referring to the celebration as pretending. All grown up now, they each say they were glad we told the truth but still had fun doing all the usual activities but knowing it was pretend, eventually! Ha Ha

Alin in Baltimore December 10, 2008, 11:21 AM

What’s wrong you you people? There is no Santa, and all this hoopla is ridiculous and at this point, 100% comercial. I won’t be telling my daugther there’s one, that’s for sure, and maybe this will keep her asking for $10000 worth of presents if she knows that I’m actually buying them.
Childhood magic? Yeah, right. Kids find their magic without us having to put it in their heads.

Ginny December 10, 2008, 2:43 PM

I’m right there with you Alin in Baltimore. My kids will know the truth, and still have fun and “magic.” Since when did the love of Christmas and all it means begin and end with Santa?? As secular as people want to make this holiday, it is not. The church chose this day of the year to celebrate Christ’s birth. And in the spirit of birthdays, the joy of giving. In addition, it is the celebration of the ultimate gift that Christ gave to us. We explain to our kids, that as with most things in life, people choose to believe and do different things with their lives, and we do not push what we believe or how we choose to live on others. Therefore, we do our best to teach them to stand firm in what we believe, but not to push it on others. If other kids in their class want to believe there is a Santa, that is their choice. Not ours. Our choice is not to to go along with what’s popular at the moment, or what the media and commercialism in this country pushes because someone is benefiting or making a profit.

jess December 10, 2008, 2:51 PM

Ok Alin…so now just because most of society has commercialized christmas it means that everyone does? Bull crap… My kids ask for things even when it’s not christmas. And young children dont understand the concept of money anyway so I seriosuly doubt them not believing in santa is going to keep them from asking. I hope you don’t let them watch tv then either because they advertise toys all year. Santa is about the spirit of giving thats it plain and simple, to give is better than to recieve. I teach my children the spirit of santa. I dont teach them that santa brings you whatever you want and thats all its about. Dont speak for everyone, dude.

Jeremiah December 10, 2008, 3:34 PM

I vote for hope and innocence in the holiday season, and I doubt my daughter will blame me for it any more than I blamed my parents when I found out Santa wasn’t real.

btw, I don’t read momlogic, are all your posts anonymous, or just the absurd, closed-minded, and needlessly hostile ones?

Jennifer B December 10, 2008, 3:34 PM

“all of the unfortunate children in the world whom Santa routinely “forgets.”“
Good point. This is a tragically true statement. I wonder how children make sense of it. Maybe they think they are more, or less, deserving, depending on what side of the fence they find themselves. :(
I’d thought of this from the standpoint of giving to the less fortunate. I want my nearly 5 year old to focus on others at Christmas, so we’ve done some charitable giving. I fully expected her to wonder why we were doing Toys for Tots, (after I explained what it was), and ask why Santa didn’t give those kids toys. She didn’t.
I really don’t know if my child believes in Santa or not. I’ve sort of left it like fairies and dragons-“no one has ever seen one….”, but if she were to ask, I’d be truthful. I figure she knows that animals can’t talk, but we surely enjoy the books and videos that show otherwise. The truth doesn’t have to ruin fantasy and imagination.
It just feels weird to me to teach her facts about our world and then tell her that something magical is real. I can’t shake my discomfort at this. I feel she already knows anyway.
Thank you for this article. I struggle with this, among other things. I do agree with you, but what we believe is subjective and I feel you are very judgmental about the choice other parents are making. Preserving, or fostering, a sense of magic is not for you, but it isn’t wrong. I think some kids are crushed by the truth about Santa, but I have never met anyone who felt angry at their parents for “lying”. Everyone I’ve ever known, understood why their parents did the Santa thing. Some never even minded. I am guessing you did. I did too, which is one reason why I struggle with this, but I also loved the fantasy too, which makes this hard. I don’t think it was worth it though, in retrospect, not to mention the worry about if I’d been “good” enough. :( That part sickens me.
I personally think you have a responsibility as a human being to ask your child not to ruin the fantasy for other kids, just as you teach them tolerance in other ways. You think it is preposterous, but it isn’t. It is preposterous to some of us, but not to everyone. I surely wouldn’t want a parent of a different(or no)faith, or of another political party, or a vegetarian to tell my child I am bad or wrong because we believe differently. Some people think I am a bad parent because I am an attachment parent and, conversely, I am aghast at the Ferber people. I certainly think we all ought to realize that we have to respect the differences. It makes me sad to think you may be passing your insensitive glee at the unveiling of the Christmas lies, to your kids. Not a good thing, imo. But, I appreciate what you are saying and I think it is worth a good discussion. I want to say, “good for you” for thinking about how you want to parent, rather than going along with the culture. I parent similarly and I know how hard it can be.

jenna December 10, 2008, 8:25 PM

shannon i really like you! you hit the nail on the head! good advice. thank you.

CanYouSpell?  December 10, 2008, 8:52 PM

Labels is spelled as such, not lables.

Your child's teacher December 10, 2008, 9:57 PM

As a teacher, I guarantee that ALL of you nut-jobs that tell your child that Santa is real-YOUR KIDS HATE YOU! Their friends talk about the magic and excitement that happens at this time of year. And they are left, sitting in a corner, sad that you ‘blew it’. No matter what they tell you, you are the Grinch in their lives. All the other children at school are excited about the season, and you took the magic away. Good luck having your child love you as they realize the truth. And for the original poster, are you just too cheap? I understnad that times are tough, but seriously, fork out a little cash and make the holiday magical. Even you can redeem yourself; for the sake of your child. How sad…….

Andi December 11, 2008, 9:11 AM

We personally choose not to give our child gifts from Santa, but where did respect for others go? When he’s old enough to “ruin” it for other children, I will tell him not to. They will find out soon enough & I for one don’t see any reason to ruin their family fun.

Anonymous December 12, 2008, 1:17 AM

Didn’t sound like she SENT her daughter to do this, it’s just what her daughter told the other kids.
My son told his friend, when I asked why he would do such a thing, he told me (teary eyed) that his friend’s parents LIED to him and made him look like a fool and asked why they would do that to him?
That was OUR Santa Claus talk.
Also when my oldest was 16 and the little one was four, my oldest insisted parents lie to their kids all the time. When I heatedly denied that, he said, “Yes, they do. Like…well, what about Santa Claus? That’s a lie!” I called the little one over and said, “You know Santa Claus is just pretend, right? It’s a lot of fun to play that Santa comes and brings presents, and has flying reindeer.” The little one said, “No, Mommy, Santa’s real. He is. And I talked to him at school.” No matter what I said, he believed Santa was true - quite an eye-opener for my oldest! Besides, my kids have BEEN the poor ones before who got nothing from “Santa” but luckily knew it was because Mom didn’t have enough money and not that they weren’t as good as other kids.

gmirage December 12, 2008, 1:47 AM

Lying is bad, big or small. If kids are made to believe in lies then it would be teaching them that it is ok - because our parents lie for how many years about Santa.

This is not being mean but truthfu, whose being mean are parents who tolerate a lie.

Rose December 12, 2008, 7:40 AM

Oh, thank you “gmirage” I wish, if wishes could come true, ha ha, to see a world based on total truth! What would it be like, I would hope a lot better then what we have now!

firedawg December 12, 2008, 10:53 PM

Lady, since your so into being truthfull and honest then I hope you wont mind me saying that I am glad as hell that you were not my mother. Geeez, I cant even believe I just read this and that people are applauding your child hurting others feelings and making them feel bad to the point when they cry and you dont care,lol….WOW. Shame on us, hellooooooo, shame on you Psycho!

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