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Will Your Child Believe in Santa?

By michellehorton |

Remember that 20 Things To Do Before Pregnancy #2 list? Well, not surprisingly, I’ve been much more conscious of what we do as a three-person family, and I’m happy that we can set in some consistent holiday traditions before the next one comes.

We’ve been talking about these traditions over on my blog, including the Santa vs. No Santa debate. My husband and I started talking about the Santa issue when I was pregnant, and he was firmly in the I Don’t Want To Lie To Our Children camp. I was teetering on the line.

And even though I was pro-Santa during my pregnancy, I’m surprisingly starting to become a little uncomfortable now.

I’m all for kids playing make-believe and using their imaginations — for their childhood memories as well as for their development — but insisting that Santa is a living, breathing person (and actively covering up the truth) doesn’t feel like pretending. It feels like lying. Doesn’t Santa contradict our fantasy vs. reality and truth vs. lie lessons? And I also have an issue with using Santa as a threat, only because I’m iffy about equating good behavior with “more stuff.” (“Eat your dinner or Santa won’t bring presents this year!”)

BUT.

I have no scarring or grudges from believing in Santa for 8 or 9 years. In fact, I would never want those memories taken from me. All I remember is the overwhelming anticipation and the endless possibilities. I remember imagining Santa’s workshop in my mind — an exciting yet comforting thought. I remember running to the plate of crumbs and the empty glass of milk — proof that magic happened last night.

So far I haven’t been that specific about Santa — I never took him to sit on Santa’s lap, and we never mailed him a letter. But he wants to leave cookies and milk (for Santa), plus some carrots (for the reindeer) out this year. And of course we will. Because at the end of the day, Santa is about magic and memories. Memories that I would never want him to miss out on, no matter how uncomfortable I might feel with the tradition. (Read more of our holiday traditions here, most of which we determined during my pregnancy.)

We had a little “Waiting For Santa” photo shoot with my son, featuring some yummy Pillsbury cookies for Santa. (They didn’t last too long.) Take a look at these photos and tell me if you’d ruin the magic for him. I just can’t:

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Will Your Child Believe in Santa?

Tempting, Tempting...

Thanks very much to Pillsbury for sponsoring this post and for providing Pillsbury products for me to have some fun with. Check out more posts in this campaign.

Photography credit: Nikki Addimando

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Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.

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About michellehorton

michellehorton

michellehorton

Michelle Horton is the founder of Early Mama, an award-winning site that proves young motherhood doesn’t have to define or limit us. When not writing, she’s typically pretending to be a superhero in her 4-year-old son’s imaginative play. Read bio and latest posts → Read Michelle's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Will Your Child Believe in Santa?

  1. Tracey says:

    We do have Santa come to our home each year. I haven’t said that he is a real human. Santa is magical. He has to be for one person to give to so many and somehow get into our house that special night. I will always say that he is magical not real. When my kids don’t believe in him anymore he will disappear for he is only there when you believe.

  2. sarahh says:

    I think Terry Pratchett said it best in the Hogfather when he said that children have to learn to believe in the little lies (like the Hogfather AKA Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc) before they can believe in the big ones (like Mercy and Justice). For my husband and I, our kids will definitely believe in Santa for as long as they can – not just because it’s a fun way to give them some really cool memories, but because it’s a good foundation for the other things and concepts they’ll need to believe in later.

  3. Steve says:

    My wife and I are leaning towards the “no-santa” camp, even though we both were raised with Santa as a holiday tradition. I guess we will have to wait and see how things go. I love the idea of creating magic and excitement for our kids, but am somewhat uncomfortable equating being good with getting more stuff. Wonderful photos by the way! That hat (and your son in it) is the cutest thing ever. Where did you find that sock monkey hat?

  4. Jenna says:

    We enjoy Santa (sitting on his lap at the mall, leaving out cookies, etc) because it’s a fun holiday tradition but don’t lie about where the presents come from. When the kids asked we explained what Santa means and represents and why that’s important. I grew up in a very religious home where Santa was considered borderline evil for taking attention away from Jesus’ birth and while I’m not comfortable with lying to them I don’t want to take the fun away either.

  5. Kristin says:

    Have you seen this letter? http://www.cozi.com/live-simply/truth-about-santa
    A mom wrote it to her daughter, who was beginning to figure out the truth about Santa. I think it’s a perfect response. My favorite parts:
    “Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch….So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.”

  6. Jamie says:

    I have an 8 year old who is in questioning mode and I know what you mean when you mean when you say it feels like lying. But no, I can’t spoil the magic for him either, especially this late in the game. I remember when I tricked my mom into telling me what I knew in my heart. It was one of the most awful days ever but I wouldn’t trade all the wonderful memories. I love Kristin’s and Sarahh’s comments above. Just how I feel about it!

  7. liizzzz says:

    no my son will not believe in that fake crap. fairy tales. Santa. elves. Easter bunny. tooth fairy. etc. why lie to them at such a young age then get mad later when they are a little older because they lied to you?!?! its stupid made up crap. if you’re gonna be the parent that lies about all that made up crud then you cant get mad at them for lying later in life. you lied to them and they are just returning the favor to you.

  8. Brittany says:

    We definitely have Santa spirit in our home! Not only because it’s a wonderful, fun, & magical experience while it lasts…but also because my child is NOT going to be the one to ruin it for his friends & classmates. A kindergarten student recently announced that Santa wasn’t real & my niece was devastated. That was my sister’s choice to keep the magic alive, and another child ruined it because his parents chose not to believe. Either way is perfectly fine, but please make sure your children understand that some families do believe in Santa & allow them to find out in their own time. Also, another parent told me recently that their children do not believe in Santa because she wasn’t about to allow an old man to take credit for all the time & hard work she put into their gifts. This comment made me sick. I thought the holidays were supposed to bring out the best in people? If for any reason my children were to be told by me, the truth about Santa, it would be because they’d be confused why we’re donating toys & clothes to children who won’t be getting any. I can hear their confused questions now as to why Santa wouldn’t be bringing them toys. In this case, I would explain…and I think Kristin’s explanation is wonderful!

  9. SKnight says:

    Kristin,
    Thank you for posting that letter, I was juust going to see if I could find it to post back on the fb debate. I think it sums it up just right.

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