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:

Plus 5 more reasons why we don't do Santa