“Timing is everything, in education as in many other fields. It’s not enough to teach well. You have to teach well to kids who are ready to learn, kids who are developmentally ‘ripe’ for learning.”
- Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax

Monday, December 15, 2008

TAT: Santa Claus

For today's TAT post, I wanted to get some opinions from everyone. We are at the point where our son is old enough to understand about Santa and to think that he is real, but we are trying to decide whether or not we want to do the whole Santa thing, or just let him know the truth.

"There has long been opposition to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. Some Christians say the Santa tradition detracts from the religious origins and purpose of Christmas. Other critics feel that Santa Claus is an elaborate lie, and that it is unethical for parents to teach their children to believe in his existence. Still others oppose Santa Claus as a symbol of the commercialization of the Christmas holiday, or as an intrusion upon their own national traditions." - Wikipedia Santa Claus

How do you feel about this issue? We are leaning more towards just telling him the truth. We don't really want to tell him a big lie, and we also would like Christmas to be more about our Christian beliefs, than the commercialism of Santa. My only worry is that my son could ruin it for other kids by telling them that there is no Santa.

You can find other Talk About Tuesday posts at The Lazy Organizer.


Amber said...

I found out that Santa was not real from other kids.

My friend's parents never let her believe in Santa Claus.

I think that you can have the best of both worlds. Santa makes Christmas exciting and magical and there are some great traditions that you can share with your kids (making santa cookies, waiting for him, etc)

I think just as long as the true meaning is never far from their minds that believing in Santa is okay.

Veggiemomof2 said...

I believe you have to do what is right for you & your family. We are Christians, but still kept the tradition of Santa. If it bothers you to be lying, look up the real story of Saint Nicholas & work from that. I've never had either child complain of being lied to, but I can imagine the pain of being the only child who doesn't believe in Santa in school.

Anonymous said...

If I had to do it all over again, I would tell my children the truth, that Santa is just a game that some parents play. I would not have put so much focus on Santa. However, in our defense, we were not Christians at the time.

Lindy said...

I think that it is okay to let them believe in Santa. The history of Santa is of a Christian man who did wonderful things for children. Unfortunately, Christmas has become more about Santa than about Jesus. Give one or two Santa gifts and when your son gets older explain to him how the meaning of Santa lives in our hearts and that is why parents do Santa. Let them believe when they are young... it's part of the innocence of being a kid. On the other hand, my boss is a wonderful Christian man and he never did Santa for his kids. Not because of any religious conflict but because he didn't want them to feel lied too. He made them promise to NEVER tell any other children though and I believe he threatened them with spankings if they told. (I don't believe in spanking) Do whatever you feel is best for your family, but do know that the history of Santa Claus is Christian.

Dreamer said...

I love the Little House on the Prarie books. One Christmas Ma tells Laura something to the effect of you're old enough to know that Santa is not just one man (I think she was like 4 or 5 at the time). I believe this with all my heart. To me and my family Santa is as real as Jesus, but he is not just one man. He is millions of moms and dad, he is Angel trees in the mall that get filled, he is Toys for Tots that somehow make Christmas miracles happen for many families. "Santa" could not exist if we did not ALL go about sneeking and surprising and serving others. We are all Santa's helpers. To me this realization is real and powerful. It gives me a detemination to serve, more so this time of year. I want to be a helper and to make other's Christmas magical, especailly for my kids.

KaseyQ said...

Amy, thanks for your comment on my post! My advice for this would be to just reflect on your own childhood, and have your husband do the same. Did you believe in Santa? Did you feel like you had been lied to when you discovered he wasn't real?

I know for me personally, I believed in Santa when I was young, and it was really fun, then as I got older I just gradually grew out of it as I became more aware of the difference between truth and fantasy. But even as a teenager, I still enjoyed pretending there was a Santa, and I never felt lied to.

With my own kids, we have done the "Santa thing" but I make sure that the main focus is on Christ. Just this morning in our morning devotional, we were talking about ways to be witnesses of Christ, and I talked with my 4-year-old son about how he can be a witness of Christ by reminding people that Christmas is Jesus's birthday, because, I told him, some people think Christmas is just about presents and Santa Claus, and they forget that it's Jesus's birthday. The reason we give each other presents is because Jesus isn't on earth right now so we can't really give Him presents, but it makes Him happy when we do nice things for each other.

He seemed to understand and be excited about it. He's very logically-minded, so I have a feeling that he'll probably realize pretty early on that Santa isn't real, but until then it's just another fun part of celebrating Christmas.

Sorry this was so long! Hope it helps!

Shimmy Mom said...

I wish my life had been a little less hectic and I'd done more blog surfing before Christmas.
I'm curious to know what you decided.
If you are still up for opinions here's mine:
Personally I LOVE Santa. In fact I did a couple of posts about it on my own blog. I don't buy in to the whole, he's sac-religious, commercializing, etc. bit. I think it's over-indulgent parents, marketing companies etc. that do all that. I think that Santa is great example to kids that it IS possible to be Christ-like. Santa wants us to be good, loves ALL the children of the world, no matter what, Celebrates Christs birth with symbolism (giving gifts, the color red, etc.)
I found out the truth from another kid, but it wasn't until, I think, second grade. I asked my mom the truth and she told me. I didn't resent her and I actually had a lot of fun playing along for my little brothers.
I took a slightly different approach with my own kids though. We continued the Santa tradition, but we answered questions as they came up and when they figured it out, we admitted it was us that left the gift from "Santa". But we used that time to teach them about the REAL St. Nicholas and all the good that he did to spread the love of Chirst. We explained that we let our kids believe in Santa because there was one and we want to continue that tradition of spreading Brotherly kindness.

We also make sure that we work the TRUE story into as much of Christmas as possible. We read the Bible and Book of Mormon Christmas Stories on Christmas Eve and we make a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Ever, we even sing Happy Birthday. Then Santa gets left cake instead of cookies and the kids are reminded that it's really about Christ and not Santa.

I hope that you had a great Christmas!