With Christmas only 2 months away, I have a confession to make; my kid’s have never believed in Santa Clause.
For Hannah’s first 2 Christmas’s Santa was a non issue because she was too young to understand what was going on, but as her third Christmas approached, people started asking her “What is Santa bringing you?”. She had no idea about Santa, but I knew that if we were going to do the whole Santa thing we would have introduce it soon.
Growing up my parents taught us that Santa was a nice story, and fun to pretend, but that he wasn’t real. I never really discussed it with other kids and it was never an issue. Mum and Dad bought me presents and to a kid the presents are really more important than who brings them. There was a photo of my sisters and I with Santa one year, but we knew it was just a guy dressed up, and on reflection I am not sure why the photo was taken; perhaps my parents felt that we should have one to be like other kids (just a guess??). None of us feel that we missed out on anything because we didn’t believe in Santa.
The Country Boy did grow up believing in Santa, but remembers feeling devastated when he discovered his parents ‘lied’ to him. He kept pretending to believe for a few more years in order to get more presents. Once he realised he got the same amount no matter what, the “believing” stopped.
Because of our different Santa backgrounds, we discussed whether or not we would introduce Santa and came to the conclusion that we would not.
How we explain Santa to our kids is “Santa is a nice story (based on a true story) associated with Christmas. He isn’t a real man but it can be fun to pretend he is, in the same way fairies are fun to pretend to be. It’s up to each child’s Mum and Dad to decide when to tell them”.
For the first couple of years the lack of Santa was no problem, but as we hit preschool and school, I wanted Hannah (and Meg) to be aware that some kids do believe in Santa. Each year in early November we have a little chat about letting parents decide how and when to tell their kids about Santa. Both kids are really good at not saying anything when a friend talks about Santa. Hannah knows that if she is asked what does she hope Santa will bring, to just answer with what she would like for Christmas. Sometimes she gives me a little secret smile as if we are in part of a ‘grown up’ secret.
I have also let the parents of her close friends know that we don’t “do” Santa, so that should any conversations come up they can help steer them in the right direction.
Not believing in Santa hasn’t in anyway diminished how much we all love Christmas. We love to celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday. We go to carol concerts and drive around looking at Christmas lights. We decorate our house and have a Christmas tree. We still give our kids presents. The kids still have problems getting to sleep and then get up way too early to look at their presents. We sing Christmas songs about Santa and even have Santa decorations on the tree. After all he is a fun part of Christmas, he is just not THE reason for Christmas.
Do your kids believe in Santa? How have you handled some of the more curly questions about him?