December 11, 2015

Why We Won't Do Santa

We won't be doing Santa Claus when we have kids, and here is why:

When I was little, my parents would deny that he wasn't real, even when I began to question it. This hurt and obviously had a lasting impression on me. To me, Santa is just a lie. There was no magic or excitement. He never brought what I asked for, which as a kid, your kind of told he would, but then he doesn't because well your parents don't want you to have a cat, and so they pretend Santa has "run out" or "knows your mom has allergies," or whatever excuse "he" can come up to write you each year. It kind of makes you hate "Santa" and well, I think I would have been better off not believing such a person existed.

I have no problem with fictional Santa. I intend to share the movies and the stories, but my problem is with how personified he is. You can write letters to "Santa," you can sit on "Santa's" lap (which I will never understand why parents force their poor babies to do this when they are obviously terrified of the strange man!), you can see and talk to "Santa", etc. It's like our whole society revolves around this lie that Santa is real and somehow this is okay? To me this lie is harmful.
"I'm simply saying that we should treat the Santa Claus story just like we treat all other stories—as a story. To do otherwise would be to cruelly take advantage of the child's naïveté and possibly hinder his/her intellectual development." (source)
I'm sure we will get a lot of backlash from our families, claiming we are robbing our children of their childhood or that our children will ruin it for everyone, but those are really lame excuses to make our kids believe Santa is real.

If your kid needs Santa to have a happy childhood, then there is something wrong with their childhood. Our kids will know of Santa, he will be a fun story, so it's not like we are removing him entirely from the picture. We just aren't going to lie and say he is a real man that can travel the world in one night to deliver toys to thousands of girls and boys.

Our kids will have trips to the park, toys to play with, books to read, etc. You don't need Santa to have a good childhood. Having Santa was actually a bad experience for me, so that's proof that Santa doesn't always make for a happy childhood. What made my childhood happy was having a big backyard to play in, walks to the creek, playing with kittens at Grandma's, etc. I did not need Santa and I am sure my kids won't either.

As for the fear of my kids telling everyone Santa isn't real, well that could be any kid! I remember being told Santa wasn't real in elementary school. Some kids agreed, but others were not ready to accept the truth. It's like telling your kid there is no such thing as monsters, but yet they still think there is one under the bed, even though you have told them they don't exist for the 100th time. They will believe what they want to believe until they are ready to let it go.

Or let's even go with religion. I believe in God, but I don't go around forcing it on others. What about a kid telling your child God isn't real? Maybe the difference there is because if you're religious you can easily say God is real, but when it comes to Santa, you feel extreme guilt because you know it's a lie and you have one of two choices, either continue lying or finally come clean. So I think the reason so many parents get upset over the Santa Claus belief is that we all know it's a lie and we just don't like getting caught.

Also, it is not like we're the only family that won't have Santa. America is a melting pot, with many religions and cultures, and many of them don't celebrate Christmas or have Santa. It is not the end of the world if we choose to take Santa out of Christmas.

Besides, Christmas isn't about Santa or presents (at least for us). Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. It is about God giving us his only child, and yes I know it's not accurate. Jesus was probably born in the summer; Christmas has pagan roots, but let's just let that go for now. Christians have decided to celebrate his birth on Christmas and so that's when we celebrate.

Then there is the whole kids compare presents issue, especially once in school. This only leads to more Santa problems as they are going to wonder why Tommy got more presents from Santa than Susie, etc. I think it's easy to say the parents should teach their kids not to brag, but once at school and there is no one there to remind them of this, they are going to compare. They are going to have the "What did you get from Santa?" conversation ready to go.

So how do we plan to celebrate Christmas? Well, I make gingerbread men every year, and I would like to continue that with my kids. We plan to have a real tree, something we don't do now since we are always going to visit others, but with a baby, we're staying put so others will have to come to us for a change!

There will be stockings and presents. I plan on coming up with some kind of present rule, like 1 book, 1 thing to wear and 1 want, then put another surprise in the stocking like a movie or smaller toy, something that won't melt since we do use our fireplace.

I would like to teach them to give as well, so have them take an old toy or two that they don't play with anymore and donate it. And of course, watching the Christmas classics as a family, those are always fun. So you see, we don't need Santa. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas.

There are many other good reasons to not do Santa, but the ones I mentioned are more important to us. Again, I want to emphasize that these are reasons we choose not to do Santa. I am not saying you shouldn't. Santa may work for your family and that's great, but I believe it is wrong for others to force us to participate because they are afraid our child would ruin the fun.

We will do our best to teach our children to respect others traditions, cultures, religions, beliefs, etc, but once in school, we won't be there to control them and if it does slip out, then I apologize in advance.

If you need more convincing, need arguments to defend your choice, or are undecided about Santa, you can read these articles for more reasons to skip Santa Claus:

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Pexels.