5 Reasons Why We Don't Do Santa Claus

Background Info: My Negative Experience With Santa

When I was little, my parents would deny that Santa Claus wasn't real even when I began to question it. This hurt and obviously had a lasting impression on me. When I brought this up as an adult, they mentioned that they didn't really lie because they said: "I believe the Spirit of Santa is real," but as a little kid, I obviously did not understand the difference. I'm sure it is for most young children won't be able to either and it's hard to understand what "spirit" means. Basically, it's just a cop-out for parents to avoid admitting they lied and leaves children feeling confused.

Then there was the issue where Santa 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," especially when another kid in your class gets a puppy. It made me feel as if maybe I just wasn't good enough. Maybe I didn't deserve a cat like my classmate because I was a bad kid. 

HOWEVER, I have no problem with fictional Santa Claus. I intend to share the movies and the stories with my own daughter, but my main problem is with how personified he is, how "real" he is made out to be.

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 Claus is a real person and somehow this is okay?  In my opinion, this lie can be harmful as David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. wrote on Psychology Today:

"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)

People have claimed we are robbing our child of her childhood or that our child will ruin it for everyone else. Here's the thing, there are many countries in the world that do not have Santa, so clearly, Santa is not needed for a happy childhood.

As for the fear of my daughter telling everyone Santa isn't real, well that could be any kid! I remember being told Santa wasn't real in elementary school by other children. 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 their parents finally tell them the truth.

Let's compare God and Santa for a moment. They are both beliefs. What about another kid telling your child God isn't real? 

No one, especially a child, is responsible for another person's beliefs. 

With that said, here are some reasons why Santa Claus isn't a part of our Christmas:

1. Santa Claus Takes Away The True Meaning of Christmas

Christmas is a religious holiday. It is about the birth of Jesus Christ. I may not be as religious as I used to be, and Christmas may have pagan roots, but I feel it's important that people remember that the main focus of Christmas isn't a fat guy in a suit.

I think Christmas in itself symbolizes love. We give gifts to people we care about because we love them. It's a way for us to show how grateful we are. I want my daughter to know that gifts come from the heart, not as a reward for "good behavior." 

2. Santa's Gifts Don't Add Up

Why did Susie get a Barbie Dream House, while Tommy only got a pair of socks? 

Kids are going to compare their presents from Santa and they obviously aren't going to be fair as it would be far too difficult for all the parents in the world to be on the same page when it comes to gifts from Santa.

Instead of our child thinking, "Santa isn't fair," we want her to realize that the gifts come from mommy and daddy and that's what makes them special. I also don't want her thinking that Christmas is only about gifts, so taking Santa out of the picture will help with that as she won't be expecting a sleigh full of presents from a strange man with a cookie addiction.

3. Santa Himself Doesn't Add Up

I remember the first time I realized Santa wasn't real was when we were at my grandparents with family. Our parents told us Santa would still come, and sure enough, he did. However, my present and my sister's present was wrapped, but our cousin's presents weren't wrapped (obviously the parents didn't do a very good job of communicating beforehand). Apparently, in my cousins' family, Santa didn't wrap the presents he brought, but in our family, he always did.

Like presents, there are just too many different versions of Santa and when kids start talking there are going to be some questions.

4. Santa Doesn't Make a Happy Childhood

Santa was a negative part of my childhood, but I have heard people claim that by not doing Santa Claus, it's stealing your child's childhood. Here's the thing, if your kid needs Santa to have a happy childhood, then you are probably doing something wrong. Plenty of cultures and religions around the world do not have Santa (I teach ESL to Chinese students and many of them don't even celebrate Christmas) and I am sure their kids are just as happy as those who have Santa Claus.

Our daughter will know who Santa Claus is. 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 tell her he is a real man that can travel the world in one night to deliver toys to millions of girls and boys. No, he will be a fun fictional character and if she wants to pretend, that's great! I will not mislead her though.

5. It's a Lie

Santa Claus is a lie and I am not comfortable with lying to my child. Kids are supposed to be able to trust us and I believe each time we lie, a little bit of that trust is broken. Some may argue that some lies are okay and aren't harmful to children, but as someone who was lied to repeatedly, I find it hard to draw the line between okay lies and not okay ones. Personally, I don't think it is ever okay to lie, Santa included.

Final Thoughts

There are many other good reasons to not have Santa Claus, but the ones I mentioned are more important to us.

I want to emphasize that these are reasons we choose not to do Santa. I am not saying you or that anyone else shouldn't. Santa may work for your family, but I believe it is wrong for others to force us and others to participate because they are afraid our child would ruin the fun. I don't force your children to believe in God, so don't force mine to believe in Santa.

We will do our best to teach our daughter to respect others' traditions, cultures, religions, beliefs, etc, and to not ruin the "magic" for others.

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

Post a Comment


  1. I totally agree with you, I'm thinking about it since the beginning of this year's Christmas. We watched old family videos and it reminded me how weird was this whole santa thing for me, and how disappointed and cheated I felt when I found out it was a lie. I definitely don't want my future kids to feel that way, so I'll give up on Santa, just like you :)

  2. Interesting take on the matter. Do you have kids? Your opinion on life changes quite a bit after. Good luck with parenting.

    1. I wrote this before we had our daughter, but my thoughts and opinions have not changed, if anything having her has strengthened them. I will no lie to my daughter. I don't really intend to mention Santa at all, but if my child asks me if he is real, I will definitely not lie to her as that can cause huge trust issues later on.

      My daughter's birthday happens to also be Christmas Eve, so Christmas will also most likely be put on the back burner as her birthday is more important.

  3. You raise some very interesting points - lying to children about Santa does come with ethical considerations. We all have our own experiences about how we learned santa wasn't real. I'd had an ides for a long time and was really pleased with myself when I confronted my parents and they revealed the truth. I didn't feel deceived at all. Perhaps because it seemed like a riddle I'd solved. As for whether we'll keep the myth of Santa going with our son (16 mo), we're still undecided, but your post has raised quite the debate in this house!

    1. I am sure you will do whatever you feel is right. I believe children can have Santa and be okay in the long run, but it really depends on how you go about it.

  4. I don't celebrate Christmas personally because I am a Muslim, but I do go visiting on christmas day to celebrate with my Christian friends. I understand your point, and I believe you are making the best decision for your family.

  5. I have to agree on most of what you wrote, as I think the idea of Santa has become part of the commercialism of our society. It's a push to buy more for under the tree. I love the story of the original Saint Nicholas, and plan to make the season more about that for my two year old daughter. It's tough, because our kids still have to interact with other kids...I don't lie to my daughter, but I also don't want her to be that kid ruining every other kid's Christmas. I think it's a fine line, and I appreciate that you aren't totally cutting the idea out, but instead just don't plan on stringing her along.

    1. Kids will believe what they want to believe, so even they told another kid "he's not real," it's not like they will believe her. It's like when you tell them there isn't a monster in the closet, but they still want to crawl into bed with you in the middle of the night.

      You also have to remember, that there are many religions and cultures that don't have Santa, so if it's not your kid, someone else is probably going to mention it at some point, so there really is no way around it.

  6. I understand and appriciate your decision.
    I think every parents have a method to teach about religion and belive to their son.
    Thank you for sharing :)

  7. When we became pregnant we often discussed our options on this topic. She's about two now and we still aren't sure what to do.

  8. Hey, you gotta do what's best for your family. If anyone gives you a hard time about it, then that's their problem.

  9. I love this and we recently began to do the same with our kids!

  10. My son isn't quite old enough yet to fully understand who is giving the gifts, but I am thinking about cutting Santa out as well.

  11. You do what you think is good for your family:) I love Santa idea and see how kids are excited but I understand your point of view

  12. We don't do Santa either :) It sounds like we have a lot of the same reasons!

  13. Interesting take...personally, I don't believe that kids just choose to believe what they want. it comes to influence. Just how you don't want to influence your child to believe, they can turn around and influence others to stop believing. And one non-believing kid can, and does, ruin Christmas for others when they spill the beans about Santa. So my son will be taught that Santa is a character that some people believe in, just like the tooth fairy...and a host of other things we have no solid proof of. If he chooses to join in the fun, great. When he finds out that there isn't a Santa, we will teach him that the ones who find out the truth then BECOME Santa and make Christmas magical for others! It's one thing for y kid to not believe, but I don't want him to ruin it for everyone else....

    1. Well I think it's wrong to force others to participate just because your afraid they will ruin it for your kid. To me that's the same as trying to force someone to believe that God is real. I think people get uptight about Santa because they know it's a lie and they hate getting caught whereas if you are religious and someone said God isn't real to your child, they would easily tell them that he is.

      I don't think any parent intends for their child to tell other kids that Santa isn't real, but parents can't always control their kids and sometimes things slip out, especially when in school.

      What about the kids who brag about all the presents they got from Santa? To me, that's worse and only makes others feel bad.

  14. I can kind of see your point. I strongly believe that it is important to be honest with children. We do Santa at our house... but if one of our children question us, then we tell him/her the truth. (We also have talks about not spoiling it for other children because it is a parent's job to tell their own children.)

  15. I sort of see it but no. Santa was so magical to me as a little girl. We all have our own views and I respect that. With that being said " Happy Holidays".

  16. I definitely agree with you! My husband had a really great experience and was older than anyone I know when he stopped believing so it’s realky important to him. If it was up to me we wouldn’t do it either. I also don’t like the inconsistency with Santa gifts and know it can upset kids who are in different financial situations.

  17. We never did Santa either. I am Christian now and so Jesus is a factor but when my kids were born I was not Christian so that wasn't apart of the original decision. I too had a bad experience as a kid. I believed in Santa until 12. Every time I said I had doubts they assured me he was real so when I finally figured it out, I felt stupid as I had argued with other kids saying that my parents said he was real and they would never lie to me. So I looked stupid in front of them and worse, I had to go back and say, "you were right." My kids have never "ruined it" for anyone else. My kids are 12, 11, 7 and 4 and they don't feel like they were jipped out of anything. We have great Christmases and best of all, I can ask my kids for ideas for Christmas directly.

  18. This was a very interesting post and I agree with the a lot . Personally I've done my research on Christmas and I choose not to celebrate it just because I believe that it is not the right date that Christ was born on . That is a completely different topic you have brought up some really good points here though that I wish more parents realize expressione the part about lying to your kids. Well put together

  19. We don’t do Santa either. Getting so caught up in the commercialism and gifts makes kids focus only in the presents or lack thereof. As a story, sure, why not? Not as a real person though

  20. I like the pretense of "Santa" for "childhood magic" but the lie of it is not important to keep up to me.
    I like to teach my kids about St. Nick and what he did instead and the importance and meaning of giving.

  21. I totally understand your points and respect you for doing what you feel is the right thing to do. I agree that it's important to teach your children to respect other people's beliefs/religion/traditions.


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