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To Santa or Not To Santa?

Submitted by on December 3, 2012 – 9:57 amNo Comment

Do You Encourage Your Kids to Believe in Santa Claus?

Do You Encourage Your Kids to Believe in Santa?

by Kerrie McLoughlin

Who knew Santa was such a loaded topic? Most parents can talk rationally about it, but some people get downright hostile about whether or not they play Santa and why, and they will defend their decision to the death! Of course the Santa decision has much to do with how you grew up, but you also need to consider how your spouse grew up then take into account your religion, your beliefs, how you want to raise your kids and more. Let’s explore both sides of the debate.

The Case for Santa

I grew up with Santa visiting my house and held onto the idea of him like a dog with a piece of bacon until I was about 13 years old. When I finally conceded that it was my parents bringing me the presents, I did not feel betrayed or lied to; I was just disappointed that the magic was over.

These days you can find my husband and I plotting and planning as Mr. and Mrs. Claus to our own 5 children. We’ve built family traditions around Santa. For instance, it’s fun to go to the mall to see him, and snuggling up to read “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” is always a hit. Don’t forget all the terrific movies and shows that have Santa in them, like “Polar Express” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

We feel like we’re bringing them something special when we sneak wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree and fill their stockings on Christmas Eve. We enjoy watching their faces light up when they see the tree in the morning. They even get a letter from Santa, and they love that the cookies they put out have been eaten.

The kids keep me on my toes with questions about Santa, like:

  • What if you don’t have a chimney? (he comes in another way)
  • Why didn’t Santa bring me the things I really wanted, like a cell phone and a Barbie Jeep I can ride around the neighborhood in? (be grateful; Santa uses his judgment on what you can have)
  • Why is the Santa I visit at the mall different from the Santa that comes to Daddy’s work Christmas party? (Santa has helpers who take your list to him)
  • How do reindeer fly? (magic)

The Case Against Santa

You only need to read all of the above to see that being Santa is exhausting, folks. Hiding presents, using different wrapping paper for Santa gifts, writing like Santa on gift tags, trying to shop without kids around (may I suggest online?!) and more makes it a lot of work. By the 26th I am wiped out, and I understand why many parents don’t want to even get that started!

Of course, those on the Non-Santa team have better reasons for being there than just not wanting to do a bunch of work. Not wanting to lie to their children is a big reason I heard when I did my informal Facebook poll. I mean, if a kid finds out Santa is a lie, then what else are his parents lying about? Jessica Epley, mom of 2 boys, said, “I don’t lie to my kids. I tell them they can believe in Santa if they want as Santa is the magic that lives within us.”

There’s also the disappointment of finding out there is no Santa when kids at school or family members tell how they do it in their home, so the Non-Santas want to understandably avoid that for their child. It’s also difficult to explain to a child, if a financial situation is not great, that Santa could not come this year or could only bring one small gift.

Another reason to go Non-Santa, is that Christians might want to represent the true meaning of Christmas instead of focusing on a make-believe person. They might instead talk about Saint Nicholas and his giving spirit and what that means to their family, and concentrate less on the material aspect of Christmas.

I’m going to end this debate by telling you something you already know: When you’re a parent you win some, and you lose some. Just do what you think is best as far as Santa is concerned, and you probably won’t be dragged into therapy with your kids … over THIS topic, anyway.

Kerrie McLoughlin writes about her 5 kids and life after 40 at




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