To Santa or Not to Santa…

I loved the magic of  Santa as a child, and I loved recreating that magic for my children when they were little.  But in the back of my mind, it always bothered me a little that I was lying to my children – or at least not lying exactly, but going along with a falsehood.  While I loved the joy and excitement that Santa’s gifts brought to my children, I didn’t like that it came from some random magic man and not someone they could thank – namely us, their awesome parents.  So, as they got older, we still did the Santa thing, but we didn’t go out of our way to build it up, if that makes any sense.

Of course, there is another equation in my story of Santa.  It’s that my dad IS Santa.  No really.  My parents are Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

When I was a photographer, my dad, who always sports a snow-white beard, would begin to let it grow longer in the late summer.  By November every year, he was the perfect Santa for my studio, where he spent a week with me being Santa for pictures.  This is his 5th year – and even though I no longer own the studio, he still went back for pictures.  After all, some kids have grown up knowing him as Santa – he couldn’t let them down.

So, having your Papa as Santa adds another element to the whole “Santa” experience.  The year my youngest was 2, EVERY Santa we saw out and about – be it at the mall, or even large yard decorations, was “Papa!”   The next year, my 4 year old was convinced that her Papa was THE Santa.  Like, for everyone.  It was quite a magical year knowing such a fun secret!  I think having my parents pose as Santa and Mrs. Claus every year added to the realization early-on for my children that Santa was “pretend”.  And as I said before, we didn’t push the Santa thing on them, so if they asked us point blank THE question… we answered them truthfully.  This is the first year that all of my children know the secret, and we are all okay with that.  In fact, we are not doing “Santa” at all this year, and I’m honestly kind of excited.

Of course, my children are still getting gifts, but as we have cut back this year, they are getting one “big” gift and one “handmade” gift, and they all seem okay with that.  I’m still very excited about what each of them is receiving, and the Christmas “magic” will still be there.  It will just be coming from Mom & Dad instead of a man in a big red suit.

Will my children continue to take pictures with Santa every year?  Of course!  Santa is a part of the magic of Christmas.  But it’s part of the fun of the season and not something I feel guilty about keeping from my children.  We all know the secret “together” and it’s fun to keep it.  We had a moral “dilemma” with my middle child this year.  As we were headed out to a Christmas gathering where Santa and Mrs. Claus were going to be present, we went over the usual..

“Be sure not to call them Nana & Papa, and under NO circumstances are you to tell anyone that Santa is not real.”

“But, that’s a lie.  I’ve been working on not lying, and I don’t want to lie.”

Ugh.  Yes, we’ve been working on not telling lies with that one… It’s a tough situation.  You do want to teach your child to be truthful – but on the other hand, you don’t want your child to be responsible for “spilling the beans” to another whose parents aren’t quite ready for them to know.  What we decided in the end was…

A ~ They were not to bring up the subject AT ALL.
B ~ If someone comes out point blank and asks them if they believe Santa is real, they are to answer “I think you should talk to your parents about that.”  That way, they aren’t lying, and they aren’t ruining someone’s Christmas either.

So that’s where my family is with Santa.  It’s not a particularly helpful post, probably, but it’s just some random thoughts that have been in my head.  Whether or not you choose to do Santa, I hope that you have a truly magical Christmas at your house this year!

~Mama Tutu

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About Laura

A Christian wife, mother, daughter, former educator, photographer, amateur chef, pretend gardener, alto 🎶, book nerd, cancer-survivor and laundry-hater.

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4 Responses to To Santa or Not to Santa…

  1. Lana December 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    BAH HUMBUG! ;-)

  2. debi Kirksey December 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Oh how I love this photo of the girls!

  3. Mim December 14, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    I was heart-broken when I was made fun of in 4th grade for still believing in Santa. I never wanted that to happen with my kids and so we did a modified Santa experience. Santa only ever brought one present. The rest of the presents would be out under the tree in the days leading up to Christmas, but one specially wrapped present would appear after bedtime. When other kids stated, “there is no Santa. I get presents from my parents.” My kids were taught to reply that of course Santa wouldn’t bring you a present if you didn’t believe! Once Lydia realized, she became my helper elf and helped keep the magic alive for Luke.

    Luke still believed this year and I had to break the news to him. I didn’t want him to be teased by his 5th grade classmates. I explained that he was now part of the Santa help-team and it was his job to help spread the joy of Christmas to little kids. He loved that idea.

    PS- I love that Papa is Santa :)

  4. Hollis December 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    You know, we had this same problem!! We decided to do something similar…we went with Santa and if specifically asked, we told. Cate, of course, asked when she was 3. Sigh. But I told her about St. Nicholas and the idea behind giving and then we talked about the real reason for Christmas. Then she promptly forgot about it that year and went with the whole Santa thing. This year, we had an issue with the tooth fairy. She lost her first tooth, and several weeks before she asked about the tooth fairy, and if she was real. I said that it was just for fun, and she sighed and said, “I wish she was really real!” That made me sad. :-( Then the night before she lost her tooth she burst into tears and cried, “I wish you had never told me the tooth fairy wasn’t real!” I said we could pretend and she replied, “No we CAN’T because it’s JUST NOT TRUE!” Oh, dear…so I went with my mom’s motto. I said, “Well, what I have always been taught with regard to Santa and the Tooth Fairy, etc. is that if you don’t believe you don’t receive. So I still ‘believe’ in the tooth fairy. What about you?” She thought about it and didn’t really say anthing, but the next day when she lost her tooth she looked at me and said, “Do I put it under my pillow so that you – I mean, the TOOTH FAIRY will leave me something?” I said yes, and that’s what we do now. So far she has not told Claire, and I told her not to discuss the matter with friends or with Claire because it was not her place to tell other people, but while I am glad we are not lying to her, I am still a little bit sad because I remember having such fun with Santa and co. as a child! :-) Glad to know others are just as conflicted as I am!! Oh – my mom had letters from Santa sent to them this year, and when Cate asked, “who sent these to us? DId YOU?” I said that I did not, and she looked speculatively at me. I think she is reconsidering. haha!

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