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Old 12-12-2019, 07:18 PM
6,558 posts, read 5,639,078 times
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Originally Posted by clawsondude View Post
I brought this topic up over lunch with my colleagues yesterday. One guy mentioned that they had to tell their kids the truth when they entered middle school. Another guy said that his daughter is in 7th grade and still believes

They all thought it was wrong that I was hoping my 6 year old would start questioning things. This thread has helped me to realize that no, I shouldn't spoil it for him at this point. I guarantee though, that if my children approach puberty as Santa believers I will pull the rug out from under them.

I believe in this thread that someone mentioned income could also play a role. Most of my coworkers are what most people would consider upper middle class and live in affluent neighborhoods. I think they also go out of their way to make the Santa experience more believable. I grew up in a solidly working class home, but my family is definitely more comfortable money-wise than may parents were. As I mentioned before, we don't do anything extraordinary to make Santa seem real, so I hope that our children figure it out at an appropriate age. I definitely don't want to need to explain that Santa isn't real and have the sex talk with my kids in the same year like it sounds like my coworker may need to do.
Religion, too, plays a role. One year we hosted Christmas for DH's family (MIL, FIL, siblings, nephew, nieces, stepnephews, etc.) Many of them are (or were at the time) very strict conservative Seventh Day Adventists. They didn't believe in the secular tradition of the Santa myth, and their kids weren't raised to believe in Santa. They had a tree and gifts from family (though not so many), but Santa never "visited" their home on Christmas Eve and left them a Mount Rushmore of presents. Also, we were worried they'd say something to my youngest DD (who was 5 and still believed).

The cousins all stayed over Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning we were in a quandary what to do...my kids literally had "mountains" of gifts, many from Santa (including a bicycle for the oldest). The cousins, not so much because Santa didn't exist, and didn't bring them anything. I have two brothers who don't have kids of their own, and always spoiled my daughters mercilessly Christmas and birthdays. They had sent a literal truckload of gifts UPS, which I had to hide in my room (with the bicycle), because I didn't want to create an uncomfortable situation. I didn't want to downplay my kids' Christmas, but I didn't want the cousins to feel bad, either. We decided to wait until that night when the cousins left to let our kids open the majority of presents. But it was awkward when my family called that afternoon, and we had to tell them their presents hadn't been opened yet, and why. That was the last "family" Christmas we had with the inlaws.

On top of that, there was always the unamused disapproval by MIL and FIL, because at our house we weren't religious church goers, and we made a big deal about Santa...our Christmas celebration wasn't "Jesus" oriented.

Also, I learned early in my marriage that if Christmas falls on a Saturday, SDA's can't open presents and celebrate Christmas day, because it's the "Sabbath". Must be a bummer for the kids.

Last edited by Mrs. Skeffington; 12-12-2019 at 07:49 PM..
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by clawsondude View Post
This is something I think a lot about every year. My wife and I have two children, ages 6 and 3 (close to 4).

To give a bit of background information in case it is useful, my wife and I are atheists. Despite that, we are very into celebrating many of the secular aspects of Christmas, because we love the family gatherings, decorations, traditions, music, etc. This is partially because I have a very close family and enjoy in sharing in these celebrations with them.

When our oldest child was born my wife and I debated on whether or not to perpetuate the Santa myth with him. At that time we decided to go with it because we thought it was fun, relatively harmless, and because his cousins, who he would be seeing often, have Santa in their household. Now that he is older, I regret that decision.

Our son absolutely loves Santa, and he is mesmerized by him. He gets incredibly excited to see him in the store, talk to him, and has a twinkle in his eye when he goes to sleep on Christmas Eve. Part of me finds this endearing, but another part of me feels incredibly guilty about it.

I have a few main concerns, some short term, and some long term. In the short term I am afraid that when my son realizes that Santa isn't real he will be crushed. What I find more concerning are my longer term worries. I'm afraid that perpetuating this myth will erode his trust in the people he should be able to trust most. I am also concerned that we may be damaging his critical thinking skills. It is our goal to raise children who are skeptical and rely on logic and reason to come to conclusions. I keep hoping to see our son debunk Santa by using those skills, but it hasn't happened yet!

My wife and I do not go out of our way to make Santa seem real. We don't do Elf on the Shelf, don't send letters from Santa, and we do not leave any tangible evidence that he visited other than gifts under the tree. When my son asks how Santa does this or that, we turn the question back on him and try to have him think through it. We never give a concrete answer. I was hoping this would be the year where he might come to the conclusion that Santa isn't real, but it doesn't appear to be the case. I very clearly remember coming to the realization on my own at his age, but I guess he isn't 100% his father's son.

I'm really hoping that by next year he is over it. I feel like if he is not by then, we may have to be proactive and figure out a way to let him down gently while still preserving trust. I didn't write much about his younger sister. She isn't nearly as enamored with Santa as he was at her age, right now I'm hoping she never is! I really wish we had told our children Santa was pretend from the beginning.

I'm sure others out there have faced a similar dilemma.
I have never heard of the Santa issue completely ruining a child's trust in their parents if there aren't much more serious issues going on. Just gradually shift your talk about Santa to refer to the Santa at the mall, and if the kids ask you about what Santa will get them, say you don't know.

The ultimate critical thinking skill, for a young child, is knowing what do to next when their parents don't know something.
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Old 12-14-2019, 09:14 AM
Location: Wonderland
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Originally Posted by bale002 View Post
Just a respectful suggestion that perhaps you should review the real impact of story-telling in the history of human consciousness.

As a senior co-worker repeated to me many times many years ago when I was young, "more truth said in a jest".

What is the pragmatic meaning of the Santa Claus story?

It's not my favorite story, but that's what stories actually do.

More truth said in a jest.

Or to say it in Italian, se la mia favola diventa realità, raccontala come una favola.

Because it has more meaning that way.

Or again, you earnestly want to tell a joke. Or its corollary, "What are you laughing at? The joke's on you."

It has more meaning that way.

All the best!
I like stories, which is why I never told my kids that the Santa on the sled going all over the world delivering gifts was REAL, but I also put out cookies and milk for Santa and we always put out reindeer food too. I'm all about encouraging kids to use their imaginations and I like the universal stories about elves, fairies, mythical beings, etc.

Also - I always conveyed the "pragmatic meaning of Santa" to my kids. For starters, St. Nicholas WAS a real person with an interesting story anyway so it wasn't hard to talk about. I never avoided Santa or Santa stories. I just never told my kids that Santa Claus on a sled watching kids all year long and then delivering gifts all over the world was real.
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:45 AM
Location: A tropical island
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Originally Posted by BoSox 15 View Post
I think you're really over-thinking it. You're projecting your life experience onto a child who has yet to live his. I don't think he will be crushed to find out Santa wasn't real. I cannot think of one single person I've ever met in the entirety of my life who was "crushed" when they found out. If anything people (myself included) appreciated the childhood memories it provided.

In a similar manner, I don't think the child is equating Santa to an all-seeing, all-knowing, god like figure. If that were the case you'd be dragging them to church (or whatever) on a weekly basis where they can be bashed over the head by the "good word" and constantly reminded that they're not worthy. This is not that scenario. It comes once per year, it's all in good fun, and as long as you continue to make it fun for them, they will enjoy it too.

In other words, just chill and have a good time, don't read too deeply into this.
I was rather traumatized when I found out there was no Santa, which is most likely why we told our children the truth about Santa all along (that he was a fun, pretend character).

Granted my experience was unlike any other I've ever heard of, but here it is:
When I was in 2nd grade (7 years old, decades ago), our teacher was having each student come to the front of the class and give a short speech on a topic she gave us. When I went to the front of the class for my turn, this teacher said, "Kayanne, I want you to tell the class how you found out Santa Claus is not real." I burst into tears, mortified that I must be the only kid in my class who didn't know Santa wasn't real (of course, as I got older I realized that moment was probably upsetting for just about every child in the class, not just me.)

To this day I shake my head when I think that a woman whose life work was to teach 7 year olds would think that was an age-appropriate thing to say. But I swear it truly happened.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:40 AM
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I don't know why, but I was always really skeptical about all the major make-believe kids characters- Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy. I figured out all were fake by the time I was 6. The first was on accident. I woke up early on Easter and saw my mom hiding eggs. She tried to lie and say she was just helping the Easter Bunny, but I didn't believe her. I don't think I was upset about it, but I immediately questioned all the other characters that didn't make sense to me. Later that year I lost a tooth and didn't tell my parents to test the tooth fairy, and lo and behold, it was still under my pillow in the morning. At the end of the year, I stayed up and snuck down the stairs and hid behind the couch to see my mom filling our stockings. I don't think any of it was harmful, I remember the make believe characters being fun as a small child.

Now I have my own 5 year old, and I can see she is starting to question Santa. Like my mom, I'm not a very good liar, so I'm sure she'll figure it out soon. This morning she was asking me about our burglar alarm, which I thought was a little strange because she had never asked about it before, but I rationalized that it was because a relative had their resort room burglarized the week before when we were all on vacation together. Then her last question was "How did Santa get in the house without setting off the alarm." I told her the chimney didn't have sensors, but I'm not sure if she bought it.

Then tonight, 3 hours after she went to bed, she called me to her room. She doesn't do that very often, and usually if she does it is because she wants a glass of water or needs to go to the bathroom and is scared to get out of bed in the dark. Instead, this was the conversation when I went in her room:

"How come Santa doesn't give you guys presents?"


H- "How come Santa doesn't give grown-ups presents?"

M- "Oh, uh, well, grown-ups have jobs and our own money, so Santa doesn't need to give us presents." (I'm feeling pretty good about this on the fly, late at night answer).

H- "Oh, well what about grown-ups that don't have jobs or money?"

M- "Uhhh." (WTF?)

H- "Like poor grown-ups?"

M- "I don't know. I've always had a job and worked a lot since I was an adult, so I don't know."

H- "Oh...ok." (Skeptical look on face).

Looks like I'll have to institute a tooth count at bedtime, going forward, to make sure she's not hiding teeth under her pillow without telling us :-)
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:16 AM
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Propagating a tradition of giving kids ( and others). Gifts
Fun and festive gathering - decorating. Houses and trees

Sounds positive to me

Sit a 5-6 yr old down have them listen to the 6 o’clock news
It’s totally depressing every night
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