Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa Claus - yes or no?

Do you teach your children to believe in Santa Claus? 

Some people argue that teaching children to believe in Santa Claus is psychologically damaging to them when they learn that their parents have been lying to them. Some people argue that Santa Claus distracts and takes away from the true meaning of Christmas and therefore if you believe in celebrating Jesus' birth, you should abstain from Santa. So do you teach your kids to believe in Santa?

Moreover, when you kids do ask about Santa, how do you answer? 

We have included Santa Claus in our family traditions at Christmas. We talked about it when our son was little and decided that make believe and fantasy are good as a child and the magic of Santa Claus did more good than harm. (Miracle on 34th Street anyone?)

We have read stories about the true Saint Nicholas and discussed the customs of various cultures at the Christmas holidays. We have kind of discussed the spirit of Santa Claus with our older sons and that Santa has many helping elves, including parents. As my son gets older, I wonder if he's ever going to protest believing in Santa. Right now, though he has asked previously, he wants to believe. I answered honestly when he asked last year. I told him that the spirit of Santa Claus was real, though the man who was first Santa Claus wasn't alive anymore. Yet he still chooses to believe. He loves to participate in things like mailing wish lists to Santa Claus, sitting on Santa's lap, etc.

I was taught as a kid that if I didn't play along with Santa, Santa wouldn't bring me anything. So I played along, though I knew it was my parents. I think that this is the spirit of Santa Claus. That learning to give anonymously and be a giving person is a worthwhile thing.

I believe that Santa Claus can teach children about giving. It may be more about getting when they are younger but if you continue the Santa tradition as children grow up and learn to be a part of the Santa magic, they can learn about selfless giving and become better people from it. I believe that Santa can help teach us all about the selfless eternal priceless gift that Jesus gave us. It depends on how you practice Christmas in your home.

I don't have all the answers and am just sharing what we do in our home. So I ask again. Do you teach your children about Santa Claus? How do you answer when they ask questions? Do you believe in Santa?
By Malina.
You can learn more about Malina and her family at her personal blog.

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