Alright, so I don’t hijack the other thread, how come some people don’t “do” the Santa thing? I grew up with my parents telling me Santa was coming - it was great fun to have this little fairy-tale thing. When you’re a kid reality doesn’t really matter, so things like Santa are fun! Couldn’t imagine Christmas without Santa, so what are the reasons for not doing Santa? Thanks.
My In-Laws, who are Evangelical, don’t do Santa or any of the “made up” characters like the Tooth Fairy, etc. Their reasoning is that God’s love for us is so completely beyond logic, that if they made up fantastical stories about things that are just as “ludicrous” but completely false, and raise their kids’ hopes up about Santa being real, that when the kids find out the truth, the parents’ claim about God may also be compromised.
It makes sense to me, but as a Catholic, I feel that most things, within reason, aren’t always harmful. I’m okay with our kids knowing about Santa, but never tell them he’s real or whatever. As they get older, I plan on letting them know that “Santa” is just society’s way to symbolize the love and generosity of Jesus Christ. We already tell them it’s His birthday (they are 2 & 3).
I have to roll my eyes at this believing God is not real because Santa is not real. The only time I think that could happen is in a not practicing of any faith family situation. I mean really. Do we say grace to Santa at every meal? Go worship him every Sunday? Study a book written by Santa and follow it as guide of our lives? We need to give kids a little more credit than that.
My husband was not allowed to believe in Santa. I believed in Santa. When I met my husband he was an agnostic. I never stopped believing in God. (Hubby’s Catholic now.)
We both believe children should enjoy the “magic” of childhood. Our daughter knows very well what Christmas is about. Our Christmas is centered on attending Mass and celebrating the birth of Christ. But the excitement of Santa coming is part of the fun of being a kid and believing in fairytales. My daughter has plenty of time for reality -all her adult life. As my mom would say, “let kids be kids.”
I so totally agree!
I STILL have the childhood JOY and EXCITEMENT over the Christmas season.
Yes, of course, the entire BASIS of the season is about Christ! It is Christ-centered, Mass-centered, prayer-centered…
But just because Christ is the CENTER of our lives doesn’t mean that Santa can’t be somewhere in the picture!
“Let kids be kids”… one of my favorite lines!
I don’t really think there’s a whole lot of harm in raising your children to believe in Santa. I grew up not believing in Santa and my parents did it for two reasons:
My mom did not find out that Santa wasn’t real until she was in 7th grade and she was CRUSHED to say the least. She never wanted to do that to her children.
She does believe that if you tell your children that Santa is real, then isn’t, the children could possibly believe the same about God.
Now, I’ve never known anyone who’s grown up believing in Santa (probably about 75% of my friends and family) to not believe in God due to this. However, my husband and I have chosen to raise our children not believing in the whole Santa myth. That doesn’t mean that they won’t know about Santa - just they won’t believe he’s a real person who comes down the chimney bringing presents.
The reason we’re doing this - I see no reason to bring Santa into it. I LOVED Christmas growing up and never once felt deprived. I’m not against people raising their children with Santa at all. In my house growing up, we knew about Santa and the whole myth behind it and we would leave cookies out (but we knew they were for dad) and had Santa decorations and no one would have known we weren’t raised that way. But I didn’t miss it and I loved to talk about St. Nicholas instead, and once my friends found out about Santa not being real, telling them too about St. Nicholas.
I also loved being able to thank my parents for the gifts and knowing that it was their sacrifice to give those things to us. When I was small, we had lots of presents and huge Christmases, but as I got older and my parents blessed our family with more children, money got tight and they were able to tell us that presents wouldn’t be as abundant and we were able to offer that up. The little ones didn’t question why I only got one or two presents (I was the oldest) and my parents and I wrapped presents together and we didn’t have to sneak around to do that.
I guess when you don’t know what you’re missing out on and you don’t feel deprived, you see no reason to raise your children any other way :).
You guys are bumming me out. I thought Santa was real.
But really, isn’t he patterned after St. Nicholas?
Here is a fabulous history on St Nicholas and the Santa connection.
My parents raised me with Santa, and DH family did too, but we won’t be doing it with our kids. I don’t think it’s right or wrong to do it either way, but a choice you make about and for your own family.
In our case, DH was raised in a very agnostically Jewish family, and though they celebrated Christmas, it was Christmas totally without Christ, and so it has morphed into something very material and competitive…we had been dating (DATING) for about 5 or 6 months, and I recieved more gifts from his family than from mine. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, because I see that this is their way of being generous, but DH and both want to shield our kids from a materialistic Christmas. We also want to evangelize to his family about what Christmas really is about, and we feel not doing Santa will make the biggest splash, so to speak.
Instead, we’ll celebrate St Nicholas, and all the other big feast days in December, and celebrate Christmas for the full time of the liturgical calendar. I think doing it this way will in no way limit the magic or wonder of Christmas, we just want to try to direct all of that awe toward the birth of Our Saviour and minimize my in-law’s rush to give bigger and better gifts each year. We feel like for us, this is the best way to raise our kids, which doesn’t mean that another family could do it completely different if they wanted, and still end up with the same resuts: kids who know what Christmas is about, and are on a path to holiness.
I know some who feel that Santa is essentially and idol of the commercial culture who is used to redefine Christmas to be about buying and getting STUFF instead of joy about the incarnation.
It’s a pretty good point actually. Most kids ARE more excited about the presents than about ‘going to church AGAIN.’
We still do Santa, but limit him to ONE real present and a pile of cheap stocking stuffers.
I happen to agree somewhat but I don’t think it’s completely absurd either - it’s a personal choice that I don’t think really makes all that much of a difference. Their kids can take it or leave it, they still get to experience a great Christmas holiday without making up stories about Santa.
My parents never did the Santa thing because they were against lying to me, they didn’t want me praying to Santa, they wanted me to be praying to Jesus and because they wanted me to understand from an early age that some mythical figure wasn’t responsible for my gift, they were and if I was grateful to anybody it was supposed to be them. Besides Santa is a Protestant replacement for Saint Nicholas. Why confuse and lie to the little ones?
I think it really depends on the temperament of the child. When I found out Santa wasn’t real, my first thought really was, “What else are they lying to me about? God?” (My family was church-going.) It actually did damage my faith in God. I think this was partly because my well-intentioned parents didn’t want to spoil it for me, and kept on misleading me about Santa even after I started to get skeptical and ask questions.
With my son, I intend to celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus, but I won’t try to make him believe Santa is real. I’ll let him believe what he wants while the magic lasts. But when he starts asking questions, they will be truthfully answered. (“No, reindeer can’t really fly. Yes, that’s just a guy in a red suit.”)
I tell my 3 yo daughter that she gets presents on Christmas because we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday. I don’t mention Santa at all, but I also don’t tell her he isn’t true, I just don’t mention him. Telling her that Santa gave her the presents makes me very uncomfortable as I don’t want to lie, but more than that, I feel it takes away from what Christmas is meant to be about ie Jesus. I believed in Santa when I was a child and I can’t say I thought about Jesus at all, only the presents and Santa and all the other hype that goes with it. I personally can’t raise my daughter to do the same to Jesus and God.
I can’t remember thinking too much about Jesus either, although I do remember wanting to get Christmas Mass over and done with (we were a regular church-going family, went to CCD, said grace and bedtime prayers together, etc., so it’s not that we weren’t told about Jesus).
I also remember having absolutely no compassion for the poor at this time of year because I had “faith” that Santa would give them what they needed and wanted–and why should WE give to them, then?
These are just two reasons we questioned “doing” Santa with our kids. And after considering it, I think my husband and I counted 8 or 9 reasons why we’d rather keep him as a myth instead of pretending he’s a real person.
To the OP: you say you “Couldn’t imagine Christmas without Santa.” This is a little sad to me. Santa should be a very disposable aspect of Christ’s birth. If you can do without anything on Christmas, shouldn’t it be Santa? In some of our own childhood experiences, it was Jesus, Mass, compassion, or the spirit of giving, that went by the wayside to make room for the all-important Santa tradition. I think when it gets to the point where you are unable to feel fulfilled at Christmas without Santa, that’s taking it a bit too far.
I’m not the OP…
But I agree that Santa is an important part of Christmas. Certainly not the center, but an important part.
I think, if Santa is explained correctly, he can really ADD to proper sentiment. St. Nicholas was an EXAMPLE of charity. I often explain to my boys that "Santa likes to throw a GREAT BIG BIRTHDAY PARTY for Jesus!.. that’s what Christmas is all about… celebrating JESUS’ BIRTHDAY PARTY!"
Santa’s just the party-thrower!
Keeping him in the picture isn’t a bad thing. It can help encourage charity and giving and foster a sense of responsibility to help our neighbor.
But how many people do you know do this? I don’t know anyone. It’s all about getting presents and what did Santa bring, etc…It’s much easier to focus on the reason for Christmas by downplaying Santa and focusing on Jesus and the REAL Saint doing genuine acts of charity and mercy.
I don’t focus on what others are doing…
My point was do to exactly what you said… but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Santa IF the focus of the holiday is on Christ.
When my daughter was 5 she used the easy bake oven Santa brought her to bake a birthday cake for Jesus. Then we put candles on it and sung Happy Birthday to Jesus. In our family the fun and fantasy of childhood is something I want our daughter to enjoy.Our daughter is homeschooled with a Catholic curriculm, we read the Bible every night, pray the rosary ect. She gets to participate as an angel at church on Christmas Eve, which is very exciting for her. She knows what Christmas is truly about. Our life is centered around our faith. Santa, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny are part of being a kid.
It doesn’t have to be an either or situation. Having Santa as part of Christmas doesn’t have to take the focus off Christ. Our family isn’t overly materialistic. There aren’t a hundred presents under the tree. We open our gifts Christmas Eve and Santa fills the stockings on Christmas morning. We focus on charitable giving especially during the holidays.
My husband was not allowed to believe in Santa, Easter bunny ect. Sitting on Santa’s lap was so exciting for me as a little kid, it makes me sad he missed out on that. Parents have the right to raise their children the way they see fit. But just because some parents choose to include Santa as part of the celebration of Christmas doesn’t mean that Jesus is no longer the focal point.
All I was trying to say is that in todays’ culture, keeping Santa at bay and focusing on Jesus is very difficult. Those that have decided to not do much with Santa are responding to this trend (at least in our house). We use St Nicholas’ to focus on helping others. When we see Santa I always focus on who St Nicholas was and how he helped others, not on “What’s Santa bringing” which most other people focus on (even people at church ask that question after Mass). It’s not like we put blinders on the children and they never see santa, I don’t even care if they want to sit on Santa’s lap, we just choose to not do much with Santa and presents. If you want to use Santa, no problem for me. My point was that today it’s hard to seperate Santa from the ‘gimmees’ and presents. I’m sure that was as clear as mud! LOL
i remember thinking that all poor kids were bad because santa brought gifts to good kids so why did we need to donate toys to the poor…
something to think about
i hated hated hated the fact that my parents lied to me about santa but then again i was lied to about a lot and had a rough childhood so my reaction makes sense there
we’re still working out details but it will be downplayed…only one present max…and def. not the most exciting present…i want the birthday cake for JEsus to be a much bigger deal