Does Teaching My Son to Believe in Santa Claus Make Me a Liar?


Anders has a new friend at school. A friend that has been filling his head with thoughts that are, well, true. This friend of Anders’ is a member of a religion that does not celebrate Christmas or any holiday at all, for that matter.

I won’t lie. I am becoming a little annoyed with this kid. Mostly because he’s persistent and well-informed and is forcing my kid to ask logical questions like “How does Santa visit all those houses in one night?” or “If Santa really exists, how does he carry everything in one little sleigh?”

You’re really exhausting my creative capability here, kid! So far, my carefully crafted answers have seemed to satisfy my son, but afterwards I always feel a little dirty. I am essentially weaving a web of lies — a web that my son then gathers up and carries back to class the next morning to attempt to trap his classmate.

Until now, I have never given a second thought to allowing my children to believe in Santa Claus. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of laying in bed on Christmas Eve, imagining the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof of our home, and running downstairs Christmas morning to find an empty plate of cookies and a pile of presents under the tree. It was magic and children should believe in magic, don’t you think?

Still, this new situation is a bit of a conundrum. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be in the shoes of the mother of Anders’ playmate. How do you explain to a child that while their friends are decorating trees and anxiously awaiting their Christmas haul that they won’t be participating, that Santa Claus is a big, fat, lie?

For now, I am sticking to my decision to reinforce my son’s belief in Santa. If there is a such thing as a harmless lie, I think this one qualifies.

What do you think? Is encouraging your child to believe in Santa wrong? I would also love to hear from moms that don’t celebrate. How do you handle your child’s questions?

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