The Santa Myth

Posted 12-23-2011 at 08:32 AM by Krista

When I was a child my parents tried their hardest to keep the magic of Santa Clause alive. My sister and I let them believe that they succeeded for as many years as possible, because it seemed that we got more presents when we claimed our belief in the Big Red. I remember one year they even stuck a piece of red felt in the door and said that Santa got his coat caught in the door. I kept that piece of felt for years.

However, now that I have kids myself I have some problems with the Santa Myth. My problem is that I search hard for presents I know the girls will love I put a lot of effort into it, and then give someone else the credit? What kind of person does that? Someone kinder than me, that’s for certain. I am a gift person. I love to pick out gifts I think people will enjoy because that is how I show my love for them. Picking out gifts and then saying they’re from someone else takes some of the joy out of it for me.

My husband, on the other hand, feels that the Santa Myth is an important facet of childhood and feels like we’re robbing our girls if we don’t let them live in the world of reindeer and Christmas magic. They’ll find out the truth soon enough, anyway, he reasons. For the longest time we have been at a standstill on this issue, until I finally devised a compromise we could both live with.

What we will do, beginning this Christmas and for Christmases to follow is that I will write a letter to the kids from “Santa” and we will present their biggest gifts (one to each of them) as gifts from “Santa”. The rest will be from us.

So, what do you do in your household? Do you give gifts from “Santa?”

Filed Under: General


20 Responses to “The Santa Myth”

  1. Laundry Lady on December 23rd, 2011 8:54 am

    We didn’t celebrate with Santa during my childhood. My parents taught me about the historic figure Saint Nicholas and how he eventually inspired the myth of Santa Claus. But we focused mostly on the religious part of Christmas, the fact that Jesus is God’s gift to humanity, etc. However, one of my friends has a great compromise. Her kids know Santa isn’t real, but every child wants to believe in Santa when they watch Miracle on 34th Street. So they pretend. Her kids know it is pretend, but they still love it. There are certain presents every year that are from Santa. I liken it to the tooth fairy. I never really believed in the tooth fairy, but it was fun to pretend I did and get excited about the quarter under my pillow.

  2. kristinco on December 23rd, 2011 10:36 am

    Santa is not just a fat man in a coat that brings presents. He is a symbol of goodness, magic, and the spirit of the holidays. Kids only have a few years before some of the magic wears off and they grow up and deal with grown up problems. I think Santa is a wonderful, fun way for kids to experience the joy of the holidays. My children will grow up with Santa until the time comes when they let him go. I find that having children is allowing me to experience more of the Christmas magic again myself and I’m grateful to them for that. Ho, ho, ho…Merry Christmas!

  3. mibarra on December 23rd, 2011 12:08 pm

    Our girls are still too little. We will start next year when the oldest is 3. We’ve talked about it a lot. Santa represents magic to us, but we also don’t want to lie to them. We’ve decided to treat it as our parents did: more of a shared game, like an imaginary tea party. There will be gifts from Santa, and writing letters if they want, and talk about who he is and all that if they ask, but always with the undercurrent of ‘nudge, nudge, wink wink’ this is all a game. :)

  4. Grace on December 23rd, 2011 1:11 pm

    As a christian, I don’t like the idea of santa. When I was a kid, my family did santa and I remember being disappointed when I found out about santa. I don’t like that santa seems to take the place of Jesus’ significance in Christmas. Kids are told to be good so santa will give them gifts, but really they should be good to honor the Lord. When I have kids, we will tell them the story of St. Nicholas and his generosity, and how that figure has transformed into today’s “Santa Claus”. We will talk about how some families choose to believe in santa, but he’s not real. After that, we will treat santa like any other fictional character like Mickey Mouse. We will give our children three gifts each, representing the three magi (wisemen)that gave Jesus gifts to honor him. We will make it clear that Mommy and Daddy work very hard to pay for these gifts and that we picked them out special. With all of the santa hype out of the way, we will keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas; celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  5. isabelsmummy on December 23rd, 2011 1:42 pm

    We do Santa. He brings all the best presents. That way… when the kids ask for expensive things throughout the year I tell them to ask Santa because I can’t afford such lavish gifts. :-)

  6. angelarose on December 23rd, 2011 2:15 pm

    My son will be 3 next month and I don’t plan to tell him that Santa brings his presents each year, because it is simply untrue and as a kid I felt it was condescending (although I didn’t have the language to express that feeling) for adults to be deceitful in that way. I also think there is enough real magic in the world that we don’t have to lie or make stuff up, it isn’t pretending when one of the parties involved is a genuine believer.

  7. Jill on December 23rd, 2011 4:35 pm

    we told our 3 yo about how santa claus started, and how it represents the presents jesus got and how we remember jesus in that way. I asked this ? on my facebook page the other day and my husband and I came to THIS conclusion: One SMALL gift will be from santa. After all he has a LOT LOT LOT of kids to make toys for, doesn’t he? leave it unwrapped in front of the tree Christmas eve.

  8. Jill on December 23rd, 2011 4:43 pm

    the discussion:

    Lisa Dewane I kept Santa presents hidden until the night of Santa’s visit. I also made sure I wrapped Santa presents in different wrapping paper.
    December 15 at 8:42am · Like
    Jan Morris Williams our Santa presents are unwrapped and placed under the tree after the kids go to sleep – they were very few and major presents – there were only tags that had the child’s name – that way they knew it was from Santa
    December 15 at 9:06am · Like · 1
    Nina Hollada My parents left Santa presents unwrapped, in hopes that we would entertain ourselves for a precious few more minutes of sleep. We wrap the gift from Santa in different paper and put them out on Eve, but at our house, Santa only brings one gift per person, cuz the world has a whole lot of kids and only so many elves ;)
    December 15 at 9:13am · Like · 1
    Valerie Hagloch-Naylor Santa presents are wrapped in Santa paper and addressed with special Santa writing that looks way too fancy to be anything Mommy or Daddy could ever do. ;)
    December 15 at 9:34am · Like · 2
    Sarah Rogers Schuetz We always did Stockings from Santa and Presents from People.
    December 15 at 10:03am · Like
    Sherry Fox Cluney I always struggle with which gift Santa should bring because selfishly I want them to appreciate that we got them what they really wanted. I’m with Valerie, Santa paper and fancy writing, plus he only brings one gift per child.
    December 15 at 10:53am · Like
    Stacy Wolfmeyer We do gifts from us on a different day than gifts from Santa, and of course Santa gifts don’t go under the tree until after the kids go to bed on CHristmas Eve. Or the night prior to whenever we’re opening. It depends on Mark’s work schedule. Thankfully Santa is flexible! We have different tags and wrapping paper that they do NOT see that Santa uses. My parents used to use just 2 kinds of paper, one for me and one for my sister, and would “suggest” which one for us to start with. I use a different pen color for Santa things, and write differently, too. If you don’t want her to recognize your writing some day, find stickers with their names (or make them on address labels or with a sticker maker, since their names are not as common), so you don’t have to worry about what the writing looks like.
    December 15 at 11:25am · Like
    Karmyn Hixson Raisl Santa gifts do not come out until Christmas morning – and they are wrapped in totally different wrap. (I bought 2 huge Costco rolls one year and I’ve been using them for the past 6 years – and still haven’t gotten through the first roll….so, Santa wrapping paper has been hidden very carefully from snooping eyes over the years)
    December 15 at 11:49am · Like
    Estee Wesley Santa gifts are unwrapped and go under tree once kids go to bed on Christmas Eve.
    December 15 at 11:54am · Like
    Barbara Hall Hunziker This is always tricky. Santa always wrapped our kid’s presents but in a different paper & a label that said “from Santa”. Now, when Santa visits Heidi Hunziker Meyer’s kids, I think he leaves the presents unwrapped. Quite confusing for those cousins.
    December 15 at 1:48pm · Like
    Kay McGee Tate We always waited until the kids were in bed to put out presents from Santa and us! Presents from Santa were wrapped in different paper and I changed my handwriting.
    December 15 at 4:48pm · Like
    Jill Shoemaker thanks everyone! Fun ideas, we’ll have to give these all some thought.
    December 15 at 5:31pm · Like

  9. grahamcracker on December 23rd, 2011 5:40 pm

    This mother has a very touching response to her daughters question, “Are you santa?”

  10. last_try on December 23rd, 2011 7:57 pm

    When I was little my xmas presents were always put out on xmas eve along with the stocking. Now that I have kiddos of my own I do the same. And I will contiune (spelln) :P to do so!

  11. Krista on December 23rd, 2011 9:53 pm

    These are all great thoughts! Thanks for reading!

  12. STK2 on December 26th, 2011 9:58 am

    We do not do santa at our house. I was raised to believe in him for the fact that my parents teach us not to lie and so they did not want to lie to us. They also wanted to us know that Jesus is the reason for the season and not get caught up in presents and santa as a myth. I teach my kids about st. Nick but do not teach them that santa leaves presents. They know we as the parents buy wrap and put presents under the tree. :)

  13. daddyn4wisechix on December 27th, 2011 11:16 pm

    We don’t do the jolly fat man…

    It is only pretend if all involved know it is pretend… otherwise it is a lie to those who believe it is real.

    Our kids are not disappointed & still get gifts. We do focus on the true meaning of Christmas though, & that is the gift of Christ.

    Our kids don’t get everything they want & they know they won’t because we can’t afford to get them everything they want; they also know they can’t have something simply because they want it, Christmas or not. We don’t want them to think that they will go through life expecting things they want simply because they want it, it is a holiday, etc. That is not how the real world works. We are also not going to blame the fat man & say the kids can’t have whatever it is because he said no, doesn’t have enough of them, etc. It won’t kill them to be told no & that they can’t have something.

    We feel the real disappointment would be for them to get out into the world & face the cold, hard reality that they can’t have everything they want. Society is filled w/enough self-centered kids & adults walking around.

    All one has to do is look at the statistics of credit card debt the average American has, # of credit cards people have (most of which are charged to or beyond the maximum), etc. to realize people are taught from early on that they CAN have and buy whatever they want if they want it, even if they can’t afford it.

    We don’t want our kids to be statistics & saddled w/debt because they could not control their spending & bought beyond their means. In our house, if we can’t afford it, we can’t get it.

    We try our best to instill that in our children, & we feel the fat man myth just sets kids up for disappointment, etc. I mean we spend how much time telling our kids not to lie, & then we are supposed to lie about some fat man squeezing down our chimney bringing presents to all the “good boys & girls??”

    Also, if we portray that myth, then how do we explain the reality that some kids don’t get anything for Christmas?? Or that some people live in a shelter or on the streets & don’t even have the bare basics??

    We try to teach our kids a balanced view of things & help them to understand how truly blessed they are to have food in their bellies, clothes, a snuggly bed, a home, toys to play with, an employed father, insurance to see doctors & dentists, etc. It works for us :).

  14. angelami4 on December 28th, 2011 1:28 pm

    We don’t do santa…Our oldest is turning 5 in a couple of weeks and understands that santa is make-believe just like fairies and mickey mouse and the like. We enjoy watching some of the classic animated santa movies (Rudolph, Santa is coming to town, and such) but she understands that it’s just for fun and it’s all make-believe. Our 2 yr. old doesn’t quite get it yet but at 2 she’s still young. We read a book called the “Tick-Tock Time Traveler” which is about the original St. Nicholas and how he gave gifts to celebrate Jesus. We also read the bible story about Christ’s birth (a simplified version that’s told like a story) and talk about how Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’s birthday. We give gifts to represent this celebration. This year we gave our girls 3 gifts each because that’s what we could afford. They got plenty of presents from other family members also. They do NOT get gifts from Santa. Personally, I see it as a lie. Why would I lie to my children when I’m trying to teach them to tell the truth? I’m working with our oldest so she knows not to tell other kids that santa isn’t real because I don’t want to interfere in other parents decisions and she’s getting better about understanding this. We haven’t had an incident yet. When adults ask her if she’s being good for santa or what she’s getting from santa, she says that Santa isn’t real and that mommy and daddy get her presents. *grins* makes me so proud to know that she’s got it. LOL I don’t feel that this inhibits or spoils anything for her. She understands the truth and she can still make-believe about santa, the tooth fairy, or other characters as much as she wants as long as she understands that it’s just that…make-believe and not reality.

  15. american_mommy on December 28th, 2011 9:28 pm

    In our house we do Santa. Some of my kids are at the not believing stage(we have 5) and others aren’t. I never told my mom I didn’t believe, NEVER. One year I felt bad about telling my kids about Santa, like I was lying, then my dh told me, I am not lying. I am Santa. I get the joy from giving them these things. Yes I put thought into their gifts, but I do that with all of them, from the big gifts to the stocking stuffers. We don’t give the big gifts from Santa. Its usually 3 things plus stockings. The past few years 2 were wrapped, one unwrapped(cause it would be too hard to wrap). They are wrapped in bright shiny papers different from our own and I print special little tags for them. Do my children love these gifts any less than the gifts we give them? Absolutely not. And one day, just like I did, they will know who Santa really is, and the love and care that was put into each and every single one of those presents.

  16. Colleen on December 29th, 2011 11:43 am

    My dh and I decided we are going to let ds decide what he believes. We are not going to push the idea of Santa, and when he asks, we will tell him the truth and about St. Nicholas (Which is funny b/c my dh is not religious at all!) I think it is more just to tell him about where it came from. If he wants to pretend/believe we will let him. I must say I am surprised at the amount of people that do not do Santa.

  17. SMML on December 30th, 2011 7:29 pm

    Our DS is 3 yrs old, so this was the first year we had to really decide what to do with Santa. Last year I sometimes talked about Santa to him, but I really could only see myself as telling him a lie and I couldn’t get over that. Taking that, along with the fact that my husband was pretty indifferent about which way we went and that DS’s best friend’s family doesn’t do the Santa thing either, we decided not to. We tell our DS the story of Santa, watch the movies, etc and we let him know that some people believe in him but Santa doesn’t bring the gifts, DS knows they are from us.

  18. weldingmama on December 31st, 2011 6:45 pm

    My mom told me when I was barely 3 that Santa was not real. I grew up not believing. But my daughter does and I want her to but I feel lost because I was robbed of that magic. So in my house all gifts are from Santa.

  19. brandy on January 1st, 2012 8:55 pm

    We had a lot of long discusions over this recently since our daughter is 1 and we have another on the way. We chose to not do Santa for so many of the reasons listed above. I especially like how Grace and Angelarose put it! So glad to see that there are other families out there that agree with us. We are the only ones going this route that we know. Thanks for sharing!!

  20. PinkMom5 on January 4th, 2012 10:18 am

    No santa in our house! My 5 year old knows that santa that she sees in the mall is just a guy in a red coat, but it does get complicated when around the multitiude of my husbands family and she sees her cousins showing off what they got from “santa”. Me the person that I am have always leveled with my kids and told them like it is, so my daughter is more than happy to say “my mommy got me what i asked for”

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