Dear Surly Amy,
I read this morning about Chelsea confronting someone at the mall for telling a child that santa is real. That made me think about what I am telling my kids. My little kids beleive that santa clause is real and I let those go on because in a sense santa is real. I am
santa. I buy the gifts and I put them under the tree with labels from Santa. I encourage my older children that realize how absurd the Santa myth is not to “spoil” it for my younger kids and let them believe. When my kids do figure out who santa really is I congratulate them on being smart and encourage them to be skeptical of any outragous claim. Utimately my question is, am I terrible for encouraging this holiday make-beleive? Is it so bad to let my little children beleive in this. In our household we don’t really permit any other such nonsense but I find myself clinging to this.
No, you are not terrible for creating Santa make believe. Not in my opinion anyway.
This topic comes up every year here at Skepchick headquarters. While some of the girls have slightly different opinions on the topic, I am most fond of Rebecca’s take on the situation. Which ultimately is the point that sure, go ahead and lie your ass off to your kids about fun things like the Tooth-fairy and Santa. The kids are going to figure out that it’s really you in the end and when they do praise them for their junior skepticism and use it at a learning exercise. Ask them how they found their evidence and then use the Santa myth as a way to explain other crazy things people believe in. That way when they come asking why your family doesn’t believe in a god but the neighbors do. You can simply explain:
Remember how you figured out there is no Santa? Well, their god is just like Santa. They just haven’t figured out he’s not real yet.
Elyse is one of the Skepchicks who feels that it is important to tell your children the truth from the get go.
Santa is a myth used to characterize good will in mankind. Mommy and Daddy play Santa.
I can completely understand this view as well. It lays down the groundwork for honesty and transparency and truth in parenting.
It’s really up to you as to which way you go with this topic and you’re not a bad parent for encouraging the Santa myth or for telling the truth. As long as it is a fun and loving experience that isn’t alienating your child from the joy of the season. Remember to have fun. To this day, I still leave presents under our little fake sparkly tree addressed to my husband that say, “From Santa” or from “Rudolph.” I don’t think he has figured it out yet and he is good every year.
Besides, I don’t play into the “War on Christmas” bullshit at all. I say enjoy the holidays. All of them. We as a community don’t need the religious aspects of the various celebrations but we do need the sense of community. So love your friends and family and share good will and good cheer.
Happy holidays everyone!
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