Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why we don't "do Santa"--

Hey, Everybody!

'Tis the season for people to ask my children if they're behaving so Santa will leave them lots of presents... so I felt it was time to blog about Santa.

We do not participate in the whole Santa thing. I had a photo taken of Keelin with Santa for her first two Christmases (6 months and 18 months old), neither of which she remembers! I'd always been sort of iffy about whether or not I wanted to tell my children the usual things that parents tell their children about Santa this time of year. Sure, it's a fun game... but convincing my children that it is real doesn't sit right with me.

Tim and I (and Keelin's dad) decided that we would not do Santa with Keelin. Since Jackson's birth, we don't do it with him, either. Same with Finn. We do stockings, because they're cute and hold the small gifts really well. We have told the kids since they were old enough to understand that Santa is a fun game that people play, but some children's parents choose to not tell them that it is just a game. They know what other people say about Santa just through interactions with other kids. They know that some parents encourage their kids to write Santa letters, that some parents tell their kids he will put them on a Naughty list and withhold their gifts if they misbehave... sometimes going with the Elf on the Shelf thing that seems really popular. It really disturbs me a bit, actually, that my friends tell their children the elf will report their behavior back to Santa. BUT I'm not raising their children :)

Not judging parents that do those things, but we won't be playing Santa. I'm sure finding out we lied to them about it wouldn't destroy them, but I am not going to lie to my kids about Santa. We don't have Santa stuff in our house. We don't read Santa books (we passed on the Santa storybooks that my Mother-in-law bought our kids a couple of Christmases ago...) or sing Santa songs.

When people randomly come up to my kids in grocery stores and ask them if they're being good so Santa will bring them toys, I correct them. Not rudely, but I just say that we don't do Santa. I've had people say that I'm depriving them, but we enjoy the holiday season just fine without Santa ;)

The big issue for us is that the whole farce- insisting that kids behave so an obese man will come down their chimney and bring them toys- is so outrageous... We lie to our kids to get them to behave? Really? Not in our house. I'm trying to raise my children to have respect for me- that includes being honest with them and respecting them right back. I know that most people disagree with me (people are shocked when you tell them your kids have never been encouraged to believe in Santa), but understand that I don't think parents that do Santa are doing anything wrong- my own parents did it with us on a relaxed level and I enjoyed the make believe- I don't believe that it is right for our family and we're foregoing it. It just feels wrong to me to be dishonest with my kids to encourage good behavior during the winter in order to get gifts.

But regardless of what you believe, I hope this winter finds you well and you enjoy whatever traditions bring joy to your households!


Michelle said...

I am completely on the same page with you. Excellent parenting!

Renee said...

Hey there, we've been debating what to do when our bubbys old enough to understand, it's really good to hear your perspective!! :)

Lisa said...

We don't encourage the belief in Santa but allow our children to believe if they choose to believe. We don't have gifts specifically from Santa, we just have gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. Our kids do ask to go see Santa (at least the 5 and 3 year old does, the 10 month old doesn't care).
We also don't use Santa to encourage good behavior at Christmas or anytime of the year. We expect appropriate behavior from our children throughout the year.

Our belief is that Christmas is two-fold. It's a beautiful religious holiday where we celebrate our faith in Christ.

It's also a magical, fun time for children young and old to show and encourage love, faith, and hope. To celebrate family and friends.

We believed in Santa as children and I was not horrified or scarred because my parents had lied to me, I just grew out of the make-believe stage and realized that Mom and Dad played those characters such as Santa, easter bunny and the tooth fairy.

Meghann said...

Go girl! While we do the Santa thing, I was raised without that. My mother taught me the true meaning of Christmas, and although she was a single mom, she did the gifts. She didn't agree with the Santa brings presents if ur good theory ... She had an expectation of my behavior regardless. And taught me it wasn't all about gifts . Everyone is different and I'm glad u took a stand. Gavin bought into the Santa thing but he's too investigative and has asked too many questions so I feel the Santa gig Woud be up soon,. We will hv to see :)

Sarbear said...

I like your way of explaining santa as a game as a way for your kids to better understand everything. We don't plan on doing santa when we have kids either. I agree that it isn't going to scar them if you do, but I'd rather not lie to them, even if it is for fun. We'll have to hash it out more when we do have kids, but for now, that's the plan, and I'm glad to read about others with a similar idea about things.


Mama Lake said...

We don't do Santa either... more for religous reasons:) Just curious though, what do you tell them is the point of Christmas?

tia said...

I like how you think :)

We do Santa, you know that but not too the extreme most go. We don't do the whole "Santa is watching you!" I think that's absurd and childish. We taught Adriana what Christmas is about in other cultures and for different religions, mostly because I have no religious preference. Ryland doesn't understand that so much right now but with time he will. I am a firm believer in letting my kids grow up believing in what they want to believe in- not force feeding them. Teaching them what its really about, is important to us. With Santa- well I loved it as a kid and my munchkins take to it well. They enjoy the make believe of it all but Adriana is slowly but surely starting to catch on. We only say that Santa has brought them a single present under the tree (we don't have a chimney so we say he gives it to us that night for us to put it under the tree)- the rest is from mommy and daddy and that's understood. I don't ever remember being angry learning Santa wasn't real as a kid- it's not a huge deal because it's not like once the story is up, the presents stop. It's just a cuter way to celebrate the holidays- plus St. Nick was real ;) which is more the story we stick to instead of silly books. I certainly love Christmas movie though and I will never tire of them *ahem* ELF and charlie brown! <3

Samantha said...

I feel the same way as Lisa, minus the religious aspect.

I don't remember when I found out he wasn't real, but I remember enjoying playing along for my siblings and I really enjoyed being able to do that.

BrittnaeG said...

While of course everyone is entitled to stating why and opinions, I took some offense to the post. It comes off to me that you don't respect decisions to play Santa and as a mom with an elf on the shelf, I'd like to say that it has been a great experience for my kids. It has taught them obedience, creativity (finding the elf doing different things and crafts for them), and they look forward to it every morning.

So a couple of questions I have are:
Most importantly as a previous comment said - what do you teach your children to celebrate at Christmas? Do you teach the birth of Christ? Or another religious preference to which most holiday traditions follow?

Dd you keep keelin out of her school Christmas program because she was to sing Santa songs?

What do you tell your kids to tell other kids when thy ask about Santa? You are teaching your kids not to play a game and not lie to them, but yet to ask them to "play along" with other kids is asking them to do just the same. And if they are straight forward with other kids that's not fair to other children and families in my opinion. Just as you parent your way and don't mean to "offend" those that do. I would be very upset if a child laid down all of this to my kids.