Yep, I said it. We don’t believe in Santa Claus. (Or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny…)
Gasp! I know many of you are probably thinking, Why? Don’t you have a kid? Isn’t that the fun of Christmas? Fun-sucker! You are a fun-sucker! Grinch! Well, you’re entitled to your opinions, but even though we aren’t planning on teaching Judah about Santa, we still fully enjoy the holiday spirit.
I grew up in a house that didn’t believe in Santa and I turned out just fine. And no, I never ruined any other child’s visions of reindeer or jolly red suits. In fact, I used to leave out cookies and milk the night before Christmas, the only difference was, I always knew my parents would enjoy them while putting together all of our awesome toys for ridiculously long amounts of time the night before. Seriously though, assembling children’s toys is pretty much like constructing a small village using tiny plastic pieces. I mean, it’s insane. It’s kind of a nightmare. So, I’m sure those cookies were much appreciated.
Kyle and I decided before we had Judah that we weren’t going to do the whole Santa thing. Not because we frown upon others who do, it’s just not something we want to do with our family. We don’t see the point in lying to our kids for years, only to bring disappointment when they find out that we have been lying to them for years. After some discussion, Kyle and I realized that in the long run, my Christmases as a non-Santa believer were no different than his as a Santa-believer. So because of this, we came to the conclusion that there’s no point in breaking our kid’s heart. He’ll have plenty of time for heartbreak and let down in his life, and Kyle and I are fully aware we will cause more than enough of those feelings through faulty parenting, so consciously doing it is something we struggle with.
That being said, no, I don’t think that parents who choose to embrace Santa are bad parents. Let me say that one more time. No, I don’t think that parents who choose to embrace Santa are bad parents. I actually think that when kids learn Santa isn’t real, it can be a very valuable teaching moment. However, I don’t necessarily love the fact that when kids realize Santa isn’t real, they also eventually put together the fact that their parents fibbed to them for quite some time.
I will say, some of the traditions that go along with Santa are pretty fun, and there are so many times that I do wish I could say, “Judah, listen to mommy and daddy…Santa is watching!” Oh the power Santa has on a young child this time of year…Also, I love following The Elf on the Shelf shenanigans that people do. I think it’s super cute and so creative and I actually look forward to seeing what little messes those elves get into every night via social media.
So, now that I’ve confessed that we don’t believe in Santa, how will we handle Christmas? And, most importantly, how will we make sure our child doesn’t spoil the Santa fun for others?
We decided that we’re focusing on the reason we celebrate Christmas–Christ’s birth. I know, you can believe in Santa, and still bring the focus to Christ. I know, I know. I’ve seen it done with many, many other families who I very much respect. I also know I wasn’t deprived for not believing in Santa as a child. Christmas was still super exciting. Our house was beautifully lit and decorated, my sister and I were definitely spoiled on Christmas morning with awesome gifts, and we got to hang out in our pjs all day, eating candy and playing with our super cool new toys, or trying on all of our awesome new clothes. Christmas growing up was no different to me than any one of my friends who believed in Santa. The suspense was still there. That magical feeling only Christmas brings was felt.
I’m sure Judah will ask us about Santa. And, we will tell him that Santa is a story which many children believe to be real. We will also let him know that every family has different traditions, and that out of respect for those traditions, we don’t ever want to spoil what they look forward to. We will teach our son to be courteous to others, and respecting their belief in Santa is one of the ways he can show respect to his friends and family to whom this idea is very important.
I’ll admit growing up, there were a few years that I wondered if Santa was real. I wondered, yet I still knew my parents put all the presents under the tree.
I also put money under my pillow for the tooth fairy, fully aware that my parents were going to sneak in and place my monetary reward under my pillow before they went to bed.
Yes, we will celebrate many of the same traditions that go along with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Who doesn’t love the joy of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas, or waking up to find money under your pillow because you lost a tooth? However, our intention is to give gifts at Christmas because we love each other and are carrying on in the tradition of the wise men giving gifts in honor of Christ’s birth. We will congratulate our son for losing his tooth and taking yet another step toward growing up. And on Easter, we’ll celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by reminding ourselves of his precious gift of forgiveness and life through obscene amounts of chocolate and huge meals with friends and family.
So, instead of Santa, we will celebrate Christ. We will celebrate generosity. We will celebrate family. We will celebrate our unique traditions. And you better believe we’ll be cozied up watching all our favorite Christmas movies and eating way too much sugar all holiday season long.