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

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Guest Blogger Emily: 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!" 

Santa going inside fireplace

"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' Saint Nick -- a holiday icon for the majority of the world -- is fake, and that he's not even real for the kids whose 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 that our game plan would be to tell him 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 to 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 had 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 who 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 -- and little Timmy and Jane in Bumble F*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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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gail Cooke December 9, 2010, 3:36 PM

Wow, your husband is a real jerk. How dare he encourage his child to hurt other children. It’s fine if he insists on destroying your child’s Christmas and a part of his childhood but encouraging your child to destroy other’s? What business is it of your husband’s to dictate what other parents allow? If your kid ever did that and I heard about it, I’d rip a strip of you and your husband. How dare you impose your pathetic will on others. What a mean spirited and spiteful man. You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

Lisa R.  December 9, 2010, 4:42 PM

I hope you win this argument w/your husband. You sound like the level-headed, clear thinking one of your duo. I agree that it is unnecessarily mean to crush a kid’s hopes & dreams of Santa by insisting on telling him Santa isn’t real. That is always, ALWAYS about the parent, not the child, not the myth. The myth of Santa hurts no one. And it’s not about truth, either. It’s just about, I don’t know, Scrooginess. But I did want to say you should count your blessings Hanukkah hasn’t been mainstreamed like Christmas. The secular world has ruined the religious aspect of Christmas. No one even remembers what it’s really about anymore.

Robin December 9, 2010, 5:05 PM

We could probably get an update on how this worked out… you know, since they ran this post last year. (And maybe the one before that?)

Anonymous December 9, 2010, 5:25 PM

I thought the same thing Robin…all the holidays seems to bring reposting or it is called regifting???

KS December 9, 2010, 5:27 PM

Wouldn’t it be funny if the child your child tries to “educate” gives your kid a lesson on how god isn’t real. I wonder how that would make your husband feel. It’s one thing to have a different tradition but when it comes to faith keep your mouth to yourself.

Gina December 9, 2010, 7:41 PM

Yeah, the reposts are getting a little old. Anyway, I do want to point out a few things. First, my religion does NOT embrace Santa Claus. My religion embraces the birth of Christ. Santa Claus is just for fun. [Perhaps you’re confusing Saint Nicholas with Santa Claus? Not the same person.] Secondly, my kids don’t believe in Santa Claus, but not because I told them the truth. I just didn’t tell them anything. On Christmas, they get presents from Mom and Dad. We have a tree and decorations and they encounter plenty of pictures of Santa and I say, “That’s Santa Claus,” when asked, just the same as I’d say, “That’s Big Bird,” if we’re watching TV. Santa Claus is a fun character from a story and nothing more. However, that being said, now that my oldest is 7, I’ve had to tell him that some kids think Santa is real and not to spoil it for them and he happily complies. It just never seemed to make much sense to tell my little kids that a big man was going to come in our house in the middle of the night.

Mom December 9, 2010, 7:52 PM

Actually Santa Claus IS Saint Nicholas. He has been hijacked by retail, but it is the same person. Claus is Klaus as in Nikolaus or Nicholas.

Kathy December 9, 2010, 7:52 PM

you both should have had this conversation before the kids were born. btw tell your jerky husband thanks for some day ruining my kids holidays because he told his son to be a bigger jerk than he is!

Gina December 10, 2010, 7:33 AM

“Mom,” I know that Santa Claus gets his origins from St. Nicholas, but still, they are not the same person. St. Nicholas was a (real) bishop during the 5th or 6th century and the patron saint of sailors. Santa Claus lives at the North Pole with a bunch of elves and reindeer.

ss December 10, 2010, 9:33 AM

I’m always astonished to hear about parents who think it’s ok to go around breaking childrens’ hearts. Santa is magical and if you don’t want to share him with your child that’s fine but to go around ruining that magic for other children is cruel. I’m sorry to hear you’re married to Mr. Scrooge.

Anonymous December 10, 2010, 10:27 AM

Sorry, Santa is SO a Christian figure -he’s based on Saint Nick and is the symbol of Christmas. As a Jewish mom I have to say you can’t be Jewish and celebrate with Santa.

Alisa December 10, 2010, 11:43 AM

I’m Jewish and from Ukraine. We essentially celebrated “Christmas” on New Years and had a Hanukkah Bush.

There’s a big difference between what you do religiously, and letting your kids have a magical holiday.

I mean really, if you were all so religious, none of you would be focusing on gifts and decorations.

Leave the kids alone, they only have that magical joy for a short time.

Anonymous December 10, 2010, 8:18 PM

I like your husband.

As for Santa being true, why is everyone so determined to lie to their children, especially when so many of you want to make your children believe in god? As far as I’m concerned, a man climbing through non-existent chimneys in apartments is just as likely to exist as an invisible magician in the sky. I’m sure they’ll make that leap of logic too one day.

Gina’s method is spot-on. Santa makes for a nice story. Try to teach your children that.

noteveryclaus December 27, 2010, 5:12 PM

Saint Nicholas is not a religious figure for everyone who celebrates the birth of Christ, it depends on your version of Christianity. And being ‘based on’ something does not make it any less fictional. Like a movie is based on a true story much of it is still fictional. The real thing is religious to some, the fictional part is enjoyed by many, but those who celebrate the religious part know the difference. Don’t confuse the two. Santa Claus is fictional and not a religious figure, Saint Nicholas is non-fiction and a religious figure. Clear?

Jen March 12, 2011, 1:50 PM

It’s cruel to to lie to your children that Santa or some of the make believe things are real. I’m glad my mom never told me Santa was real

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