Santa Claus/Father Christmas

My baby won’t remember this Christmas but by next year we need to decide if we’re going to make her believe the story or not.

I’m torn because as a child the Santa Claus thing felt very magical and made Christmas feel so much more mystical and fun.

However, I don’t want to lie to my child and set the (subconcious) example that she can’t trust what we tell her.

Do you think she could still enjoy the christmas magic even if she knows Father Christmas isn’t real?

  • You should tell her the truth
  • You should keep the Santa magic alive

0 voters

How does your family handle this?

  • We tell the kids Santa is real
  • We tell the kids the truth
  • We don’t celebrate christmas

0 voters

1 Like

We play along with [name_f]Santa[/name_f]. If the kids came to us in the future and specifically asked if [name_f]Santa[/name_f] was real id say that some people believe he is and other people don’t. I wouldn’t ever use [name_f]Santa[/name_f] as a threat for bad behaviour or anything like that. I treat him more like a character from a book.

6 Likes

its getting to a difficult time in my family now where my oldest child is 9 and my youngest are 11 months and will be 1 when [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] hits. I think my eldest is catching on but I would trust her to keep it alive for her siblings as well. We are jewish and do celebrate [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] but more for the festivities and family time rather than symbolically so a lot of it rests in ‘the magic’ for our children.

A little tip for you though which I found out by accident is that, from the ages of about 0-3, children will be impressed with anything, so you don’t have to worry about making their first [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] special by getting them lots of gifts, I did this with my daughter (as I was a young first time mum) and she was more interested by the box and the wrapping than the actual present - so honestly, your daughter I am sure would be delighted to receive a few wrapped boxes with cool paper - you will inevitably get gifts from other people for your daughter and I still find it funny seeing my youngest children light up when they receive an empty box with fun wrapping paper!!

3 Likes

@EmilyMcA I’m the oldest of 5 and my mom made me keep the secret for my siblings. It wasn’t an issue though since I really wanted to keep the magic alive.

I’ve witnessed the gift phenomenon a lot. It really doesn’t matter what you give to toddlers. I have two books and a wooden toy reserved for my child but they’re really for me :joy:

I don’t want my children to grow up materialistic anyways so I’m planning on giving them just a couple of thoughtful gifts. Quality before quantity. I think they’ll give greater focus and appreciation for each gift if they get 2 instead of 10. I want them to learn what really makes them happy and that’s not stuff.

2 Likes

one thing i would point out is that toddlers can’t keep secrets, so (if she’s in a childcare setting) there’s a good chance your daughter will try to “correct” other children and tell them that santa isn’t real. that’s one of the main reasons i have for wanting my future kids to believe in santa - telling a toddler the truth often takes the choice away from other parents.

what i’ve seen some families do is tell their kids that parents buy presents and santa just delivers them, so the kids still understand that not everyone will get the same/they’ll be grateful to the parents.

6 Likes

To add to the gift thing, we’ll be doing small gifts such as sugar mouse, satsuma, toddler crayons, bubbles etc from Santa in the stocking and then follow the mindful gifting idea- something you want, something you need, something to do, something to read, something to wear- as our gifts from us. For our daughter this year that looks like
want- a canvas toddler swing seat to tie in the tree in our garden
Need- beach towel
Read- Grumblina book
Wear- dress
Do- box of Duplo.

3 Likes

Yes, I’ve thought about that and I don’t want my child to ruin things for others. However, that happens all the time with everything because different families have such different belief systems and ways of living. The parents have the opportunity to correct the children at home and the child will believe their parents rather than a peer. As the children grow they will learn to respect others’ points of views and not to spoil secrets for them (if the parents explain that to them).

1 Like

[name_f]My[/name_f] son doesn’t understand this year, but next year he will be nearly 3 so I’ll be starting the magic of [name_u]Christmas[/name_u]. I think Father [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] is so magical and I loved the excitement of [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] as a kid so I want my son to have the same. I don’t see the issue with this lie because it creates magic, it’s a harmless lie that he will come to realise was told to him for a good reason when he finds out the truth.

But Father [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] will only deliver the stocking, I don’t want him taking credit for the money I’ve spent :sweat_smile:

5 Likes

@eireann I get that, it was very magical for me, too but because of that it was heartbreaking when I realised it isn’t real! It made a lot of christmases around the age 8-12 kind of bland because I didn’t know how to feel any magic knowing the truth.
I’ve been thinking about creating magic without building it around a lie. What if they knew from the beginning that Father [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] isn’t a real magical figure but still a fun and exciting part of [name_u]Christmas[/name_u]? They’d get to enjoy the story without having to believe it’s true. That happens all the time with books, plays, movies etc. Kids know they aren’t real but still enjoy them a llot and let their imaginations run wild.

2 Likes

I think it makes [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] much more magical for a child to have the story of [name_f]Santa[/name_f] [name_m]Claus[/name_m]. Like someone else said above, we treat him more like a book character, and would never use the story as a threat or bribery for bad behaviour.

I was the oldest of the kids in my family and when I got to about 9 or 10 I asked my dad outright if [name_f]Santa[/name_f] was real (away from the younger kids because they still believed and I didn’t want to potentially ruin it for them!). I distinctly remember my dad telling me that yes, [name_f]Santa[/name_f] is a real person but obviously no one can really fly around the world in a single night, so he asks the parents/adults to help by putting out the presents. This was a perfect halfway explanation for me and I was happy to let my younger siblings and cousins go on believing the whole story!

5 Likes

We’re dealing with this, too. I’ll first say that I don’t think there is a right or a wrong here. Parents who encourage [name_f]Santa[/name_f] aren’t liars and parents who don’t encourage [name_f]Santa[/name_f] aren’t uppity. Not saying you insinuated either but this topic gets surprisingly tense!

I grew up with [name_f]Santa[/name_f], until I realized around the age of 6 or so that [name_f]Santa[/name_f] and my mom had the same handwriting. Lol. I have younger siblings and a slew of younger cousins, so I was sworn to secrecy. I did feel a bit put off and it created tension between my parents and I as I got older. Part of it was just me being a bratty teenager but yeah… You see, my mom is religious and, while that didn’t stop her from doing the [name_f]Santa[/name_f] thing (literally everyone we knew did it), it did make me question how I was supposed to know what things I was taught were real and what was fake. It’s complicated.

I try not to carry baggage into my parenting. I don’t want to deny him participation in a fun holiday tradition because of something that doesn’t involve him. Still…we decided not to do the [name_f]Santa[/name_f] thing in the traditional “creepy old man watches you and so you better behave” deal. We think we’ll teach him the origins of [name_f]Santa[/name_f] and make it a game. Like the secret [name_f]Santa[/name_f] thing adults sometimes do. Maybe DH and I will take him out to “be santa” at our local humane society or for a friend or something.

There’s so much magic in [name_u]Christmas[/name_u], [name_f]Santa[/name_f] or no. The lights. The music. The glittering snow. The excitement. Yes, even the presents! I’ve known the truth for over 20 years now and this holiday still means the world to me…even more now that I have a little family to share it with.

2 Likes

absolutely this, lol. I had it happen to me as a child and it was really hard for my poor teacher to do damage control. It wasn’t a matter of differing beliefs in that case though, just a case of an angry 8 year old who figured it out and told the whole class. I think if my parents had told me, I would have taken it better because the way I was told was abrupt and cruel in a way.

[name_f]My[/name_f] mum would tell us once we started to catch on, that [name_f]Santa[/name_f] [name_m]Claus[/name_m] was a real person (as in, the actual St. Nicklas) but what we grew up with and what parents do for their children, etc. is in the spirit of [name_f]Santa[/name_f] [name_m]Claus[/name_m] - his generous and giving nature to the children in his village sort of thing.

If you don’t want to “lie” per se (I don’t feel like [name_f]Santa[/name_f], the Tooth [name_f]Fairy[/name_f], etc. were lies that my parents told me - more like playing pretend?), then maybe telling them about the spirit of [name_f]Santa[/name_f] and the story of the original saint would be a good middle ground?

3 Likes

@leafsgirl44 Weeell, I’m an atheist from Finland so I’m definitely not gonna tell about [name_u]Saint[/name_u] [name_m]Nicholas[/name_m]. The modern day [name_f]Santa[/name_f] [name_m]Claus[/name_m] is a combination of multiple different stories and figures from different cultures. In Scandinavia our “Santa Claus” is based on the pagan tradition of joulupukki/julgubbe/julemanden “Yule man” or “Yule goat”.

Also, historical records on [name_u]Saint[/name_u] [name_m]Nicholas[/name_m] are very scarce and almost nothing concrete is known about his life so who’d know what to tell…

Thank you for the comment though! It might help someone else!

I’m not a parent, but I do love [name_u]Christmas[/name_u]. I would say tell your kids about [name_f]Santa[/name_f], but in a vaguer way. Personally, I consider my grandfather to be [name_f]Santa[/name_f]. This is partly from his Santa-like appearance, but also because I figured out a while ago that he was the one stuffing the stockings and everything. This still makes [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] magical to me and my family. That said, I don’t really like the concept of “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake” for reasons I can’t really explain- it just seems odd.

So in summary, I would say: tell her about [name_f]Santa[/name_f] - it doesn’t need to be specific or complicated, but just a little magic for the holidays. I hope this helps, and happy (almost) holidays!

3 Likes

i would tell her santa is real, because i think it actually teaches an important lesson once they find out: adults do not always tell the truth and sometimes they will lie to you, so it’s best to not believe everything they say.

i learned that from an atheist group where parents were discussing what to do, and since you’re an atheist as well, i thought i’d mention it

3 Likes

I think that’s understandable, you can go either way and I don’t think you’d put your kids at a disadvantage. I was never upset or anything when I found out it was pretend, so I can’t relate to that. [name_f]My[/name_f] plan is to let him know gently, although I am not sure how I will do that as I (hopefully) have a while yet. I am atheist so the religious side of things will never be mentioned or believed, so it’s nice to just focus on the magic.

We will do Santa’s grotto visits, leave a carrot, milk and mince pie out on [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] [name_f]Eve[/name_f] and a stocking from [name_f]Santa[/name_f], but I will not use threats of [name_f]Santa[/name_f] keeping presents for behaviour etc.

I think it’s just finding the correct balance that works for you.

3 Likes

We tell our children [name_f]Santa[/name_f] is real. I remember it as something magical and wonderful from my childhood, and I don’t want to deny them that. [name_f]My[/name_f] twin brother and I weren’t exactly traumatized by the fact that [name_f]Santa[/name_f] didn’t exist. I figured it out before my brother did, but never told him because I thought he’d be upset. But I quite enjoyed that time, I felt really smart :sweat_smile: We never thought of our parents as liars or untrustworthy because of this.

5 Likes

I was raised in a family that taught me that [name_f]Santa[/name_f] and the [name_f]Easter[/name_f] [name_f]Bunny[/name_f] and Tooth [name_f]Fairy[/name_f] were real. However with my own kids I am choosing truth as we navigate the holidays. [name_f]My[/name_f] children are 5 and under…. I tell them about the real [name_u]Saint[/name_u] [name_m]Nicholas[/name_m] and how now there are those who pretend he is a real person named [name_f]Santa[/name_f] but that [name_f]Santa[/name_f] is in fact pretend.

We still enjoy ‘Twas the night before [name_u]Christmas[/name_u]. We still have [name_u]Christmas[/name_u]. We still listen to [name_f]Santa[/name_f] Caluse is Coming to Town and make watching Frosty the Snowman and [name_m]Rudolph[/name_m] a part of our yearly traditions. But my kids know the truth. I will say Indint jam it down hsir throat. The same way I don’t tell them Curious [name_u]George[/name_u] isn’t real and big bird and little Critter. .

2 Likes

Saw this an wanted to say that’s actually what we do. [name_u]Early[/name_u] on hubby said three sounded good. I added a stocking. So with three gifts and a stocking each kid has
More then enough- especially when the people outside of our little family gift them extra stuff!!!

2 Likes

I have told my 7yo the truth always but he still believes conceptually in [name_f]Santa[/name_f] as a spirit of the winter holidays, and that’s kind of how I explained it, that [name_f]Santa[/name_f] represents an idea, an energy of holiday time.

3 Likes