The Santa Debate

classic santa

Boy oh boy has this been a hot-button issue this year… at least it has in our home. It all began after I spent a day working in a Kindergarten classroom. We had a visitor come to the classroom to discuss a Christmas project that involved Santa, when one innocent little girl announced that she did not believe in Santa. “Okay, cool” was my immediate reaction, but the visitor had a very different response.

He became visibly upset, angry even. He began to tell the little girl that not only did he believe in Santa and still receive gifts from Santa, but that EVERYONE around her believes. She looked confused and embarrassed and said, “But, my Mom told me Santa isn’t real”. Not quite knowing how to respond the man told her that if she didn’t believe than Santa wouldn’t bring her any presents, the rest of the class agreed and the little girl was obviously ashamed for what she just honestly admitted.

Now, I am certain that this visitor, who is actually a nice man, did not intend to embarrass this little girl or teach her that her Mother is wrong, I am sure he just wanted to keep the belief alive for the other kids. However, this was soooo not I would have preferred the situation to be handled. Since I am no longer the classroom teacher, and was only subbing I didn’t find it appropriate to interrupt with a “Dude, no. Just drop it.” So, after his little speech I whispered to the girl that it is perfectly fine for her to not believe in Santa and to listen to her Mom.

stop believing

This whole experience reminded me of my own childhood experience with Santa. In first grade, I began to seriously question Santa… I was a very realistic kid. I remember having debates in the car and asking all the typical questions.. “How does he do it? How can he survive in the North Pole? How do reindeer fly? What about kids who don’t celebrate Christmas? Why do some kids get tons of big presents who aren’t necessarily good? And vice versa?”

When these questions didn’t crack my parents I began to ask them more challenging questions, ones I knew would hit home… “Soooooo, if Santa sees everything we do, knows if we are good or bad and is magical…is he God? Does he work with God? Know God? Why isn’t he in the Bible?” Hah! Answer that! I don’t remember their actual responses, but I remember it being a struggle and I could see that they were on the verge of breaking. They weren’t necessarily big on the whole Santa thing anyways, it wasn’t our main focus, but I think they enjoyed doing it and wanted me to stay young and gullible a bit longer.

Too bad. I soon found a toy from Santa…it was a bucket of pink legos. I very distinctly remember carrying it to my Mom who was in the middle of a bath. I barged in and said something like… “So this is from Santa, right?” Yes, Hilarie. “Okay. Then WHY does it say Layaway ‘Mom’s real name’ Wal-Mart?!?!?!” (I was an advanced reader.) Fine. Hilarie. Fine. Santa is not real. “I knew it!”

I was so satisfied to discover the truth, and it certainly did not ruin Christmas for me or even any of the magic. I never argued with my friends about Santa at school… my parents made it clear to me that this would not be cool. For years, I even pretended to believe simply because it was fun. I still left out cookies and milk, pretended to look for the sleigh on Christmas Eve with my cousins and woke up at the crack of dawn to see what “Santa” left. Even today, I love watching the classic Santa movies and force my pets to take their photos with Santa. It’s just fun… even if it’s not real.

Anyways, all of this thinking had me wondering, what will Husband and I tell our kids about Santa? Husband’s experience was quite different. He happened to be pretty darn gullible and believed that his Grandpa who dressed as Santa every single year was actually Santa. He would actually tell his Grandpa when he came back to the room, “I can’t believe you missed Santa AGAIN!” So cute. So innocent.

While discussing Santa and all that comes with him, this video about whether or not their should be a black Santa became viral (It’s worth watching)…

War on Christmas

I guess I’m not the only one having a Santa debate. I just don’t get why he is SUCH a big deal. Is he really news worthy? I mean he is not real, so why do we tend to freak out when a child discovers the truth? There are just so many other things to focus on this time of year.

We decided that our kids will learn about Santa one way or another…so, we will watch classic Christmas movies, read the famous books, take annual pictures and they’ll learn all about him at public school and we are cool with that, but it will not be our emphasis. Once they pop the “Mom, I’m serious, be straight with me..” question. I will be just that. I have no intention of forcing this belief beyond this point. It’s just not what I find the most important detail this time of year.

What about you other parents/future parents? How do plan to handle the Santa debate?



8 Replies to “The Santa Debate”

  1. I agree that this has been a hot button topic as of late. The only kids I have at present are the four-legged kind, but I do have two young nephews and pray one day to be blessed with a family of my own. That being said I agree that Santa is not the reason for the season and growing up was never portrayed as such…In a world though with so much negative and ‘evil’ I view Santa as that nearly tangible fairytale for kids. Something for them to hold on too and part of the magic of childhood. There’s nothing wrong with a little magic and wonder…I also think if we are honest with ourselves that ‘magic’ is something at times we wish we could recapture. So do I plan to pass it on to my ‘future’ children? Yes, I want them to have the innoccence of childhood and wonderment of the Christmas season mixed with the purpose of Christmas, our Heavenly Father. Loved the way you approached the the end to ‘each his own’.

    1. I agree…I love magic and wonder, especially when seeing it through a kid’s eyes! (That’s why I love Disney!) It’s pretty special. I guess I just don’t want it to be such a big deal or the most important part of Christmas.

  2. Wow…I would have been offended by the way he handled that too. I guess its another personal decision. Yes, I see it as a way to nurture, celebrate and protect your child’s innocence, but I am certainly not going to reproach my child if she is more truth-seeking or pragmatic (some are!)

    And about this current debate- Wow! Why does it matter? If you want Santa to be black- by all means! It does not bother me!! I’m not going to go as far as to say I don’t care if Santa was purple, because then he would be like a monster. Monsters are scary.

    1. haha, yes monsters are scary. Although, when I was little I was one of those kids who refused to sit on Santa’s lap..he terrified me! I just wanted to see him from a distance. That went for anyone in a costume.

      1. How in the world did you work at Disney? Lol.

        1. I’m not sure what you mean… I love the idea of dreams wishes and magical moments. I love watching kids take photos with a princess just like they do with Santa.. I just wouldn’t tell the child Shes wrong and will be be punished for not thinking Cinderella is a real person. Im a huge Disney nut, obviously, but hopefully I won’t make it a huge priority in my kids life…hopefully! Haha

        2. oh and i just realized what you were responding to! haha Well, thankfully, I got over that fear around the age of 8! So after I stopped believing in Santa I decided I get to take pics with him and all the other creepy characters! haha Man, I really hope my kids aren’t scared of characters..

  3. You should definitely make Disney a priority 🙂 And I have a 28 year old friend with the costume phobia. I had to protect her from Dora at Universal. It’s no joke! Lol

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