Post # 47
I think we’re going to try and keep some of the fantasy elements of Santa with the snowy wonderland and reindeer but try to show some restraint on wishlists galore. I really like how MissBliss said they’re approaching the gift aspect, which is probably what we’ve talked about emphasizing as well.
I had one vivid imagination as a kid and I would have been sad if my parents always tried to bring me down to reality, I think stories and imagination are an important part of childhood and for the growth of their intelligence. You can’t be a good science researcher if you don’t have an imagination because what you’re researching is unknown. Imagination is necessary for discovery.
At the same time, I feel like it’s more about the kid so while I’ll probably always tell my kid stories even when they’re grown up (and I definately know my husband will), I’m not going to try to convince them it’s real when they start to figure it out but instead try to make it about a happy story world, I still love the happy story world.
Post # 48
I will proudly say that I still believe in Santa, having seen first hand the wonder and joy he brings to kids. It really is less about believing in the man himself, but more about believing in the wonder of possibility and magic – and I want my kids to have that same sense of wonder.
My father is actually a professional Santa (he’s been doing the local Christmas parade for almost 30 years) so it’s hard to say when I stopped believing in Santa, the man from the stories. A family story is that he(my dad) tried to come to the house in full Santa gear when I was about 4, except that I saw him, ran screaming away in terror and told him to “Leave the presents and go away!” I know my little sister found out long before I did, but it wasn’t really a crushing blow for me when I did find out.
Post # 49
When I was in third grade, I said something like “we have to be really careful this year because my brother still believes in Santa.” The kid next to me’s eyes welled up and he said “What? There’s no Santa?” I still feel bad about it!
Post # 50
I don’t remember ever truly believing in Santa the man (elf?)–even as a very little kid it didn’t make sense to me–but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love imagining Santa and setting out cookies for him every year. In my family, I don’t believe that anyone has ever said “there’s no Santa.” Even today, when all of my siblings are grown, we talk about Santa as if he’s real, I think because it’s just fun to have a little magic in your life, and because the spirit of Santa (i.e. giving) IS very real to us, even if we all know that the physical aspect of Santa isn’t. I want the same thing for my kids.
Post # 51
I’ll play Devil’s Advocate here. It’s perfectly fine that many of you want to pass on the delightful memories you grew up with to your children, but really, there’s nothing wrong with the contrary either. If what you some of you are saying was true, it would mean the non-Christian children of the world would not have any imagination and their childhood would’ve felt deprived and incomplete. I can assure you this is not the case. I had read all Grimm’s and Anderson’s fairy tales by the time I was 6 and they are just as magical as elves and north pole and reindeer. By age 9 I had finished entire encyclopedias about Greek mythology. I found the stories fascinating. I wrote short stories and poetry inspired by things I read so imagination was not hindered in the very least. I just could always tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fiction, even as a toddler. If someone tried to tell me the big bad wolf or Santa or Zeus were real, I would’ve told them they’re stupid. What I’m trying to say is, teaching the child the difference between story and reality is not a bad thing and definitely doesn’t ruin the wonder of one’s childhood.
Post # 52
it’s an interesting point, but then what do you say to the children who believe in fairies and elves? Imaginary friends? You are absolutely right that a sense of wonder does not begin and end with Santa, but I think many cultures have a figure that is the spirit of generosity and caring – besides, the whole Santa myth springs from pagan culture, as do many of the holiday traditions now embraced by Christianity, so I fail to see how this particular figure is the source of so much debate! Strangely enough I haven’t heard a general outcry over the Easter Bunny, a figure which I find vaguely repugnant since all he does is bring chocolate and jelly beans.
Post # 53
J and I were just talking about this last night.
I don’t really remember ever truly believing in Santa. I may have when I was two or three but I recognized that he and my mom had the same handwriting pretty early on. Also, my parents didn’t really hype him up so that may be why I don’t remember a point when I quit believing or was bothered by it. However I totally give my family presents “from Santa” when I get them more than I was supposed to.
J’s parents TOTALLY buy into the santa thing. Like to the point that their friend dresses up and comes over on Christmas Eve with lots presents for the kids. You should have seen his nephew when “Santa” walked in. His head almost exploded. Jed remembers finding out and while he wasn’t totally devastated, he did cry.
That’s not really something I want to do to my (future) kids. I’m hoping to foster a belief in the idea behind santa but not the man-who-breaks-into-your-house. However if they fall in love with him I won’t squash it.
We’ll see I guess. Fingers crossed that J’s parents are over bringing in a Santa by the time we have kids. I’d rather just avoid that battle.
Post # 54
I was just trying to say that I think imagination is an important part of childhood and something to be fostered, methods may differ but I don’t think complete realism is necessary for children or perhaps for anyone.
You sound a lot like my husband, he never remembers believing in Santa, though he loves stories and that part of it, but basically told everyone to stop it when they’d try to tell him Santa was really real, even as a really young child. Me on the other hand, I thought my stuffed animals could read my mind and ‘saw’ Santa’s shadows on Christmas Eve and believed in a little fairy world, perhaps it’s delusional or something but I think it was an important part to developing the creativity I have now and I’m happy I have all the memories of the little worlds I believed in.
That’s why as a family we decided we will pass on our traditional stories to our children and what they do with it their personalities will dictate. I’m not going to poo poo a five year old who wants to hear reindeer hooves on the roof but if they tell me ‘mooommmm, they aren’t really there’ I’m not going to argue.
Post # 55
We’ll be explaining to our kids that there was an awesome historical figure who would give presents to people around Christmastime, and that we remember him with a fun game of make-believe every December in which we pretend he’s coming down the chimney to give us presents. My husband and I are both firmly opposed to lying to our future children about anything. We want them to have faith that when we tell them something, that to the best of our knowledge, it’s the truth.
[ETA] I think it’s very confusing for a child to be taught about the miracle of the birth of Jesus and the magic of celebrating God giving his only son to the human race, while also being told that there’s an invisible overweight elf watching them at all times to evaluate their behavior. We just prefer to stick to the truth, and personally I feel that the actual myth of Christmas is entirely magical enough on its own without mixing in stories that we’ll later have to reveal we knew were lies all along. Children have magnificient imaginations, and the game of pretending Santa is coming can have plenty of magic.
Post # 56
I’m all for Santa. I don’t believe that Santa is a lie or some made-up guy you learn about from your friends on the playground in third grade. I think Santa is essential to the magic and outlook on giving. Being Christian, I also plan on making the whole reason for the season much more than giving gifts, but I want my kids to experience the fun and the magic.
I also found out about Santa when I compared my dad’s handwriting on my permission slip at school to the note I got from Santa. HA!
Post # 57
You have not grown up in a culture that cherishes the Saint Nicholas/Santa tradition, so you are equating an experience that you have had with something that you have not had… and at this point in your life can’t imagine… because you are an adult and think like an adult… American kids who celebrate Christmas grow up hearing stories about Santa… legends and family traditions combined… my grandmother used to talk about when Santa came to her house as a child… and the memories that she shared were from the perspective of childhood, my parents and aunts and uncles also grew up waiting for Santa’s Christmas visit… and shared stories about Santa’s visits to their homes… the memories shared were from their own childhood. If you have creative parents, Santa is very real. There is a difference between fairytales and myths read and experiencing Santa. It’s not just fantasy… the experiences are real! Most kids will tell you which Santa is real or just a helper.
Post # 58
I agree. The belief in Santa is not the only source (or the origin) of imagination in the world. I am a Christian, but even without Santa (who I don’t even remember believing in), I still loved to play dress-up, Barbies, doctor, school, draw, and write fiction stories.
That firm grasp of reality versus fiction is very important (to me) for my child to have. I never even said that I was banning Santa, just that I wasn’t going to teach that he’s real. Does that mean that I’ll be successful in that endeavor? Not necessarily. My daughter may believe whole-heartedly even if I make a recording of the roof and show that Santa never came (an extreme example, not saying that I would do it).
Of course I’ll tell her not to tell other children who do believe. And to answer @Dragonsus’ question, I wouldn’t say anything to a child who believed in fairies. It’s not my job to tell someone else’s children the difference between reality and fiction. That child just has a different kind of imagination than my daughter. I’m not planning on teaching about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. as real either.
Post # 59
I’m Jewish so did not grow up with Santa. I don’t feel like my childhood was lacking in any way because I didn’t believe in him. Growing up I didn’t feel jealous of Christmas or anything. And I had a great imagination, so I didn’t need adults providing a imaginative figure for me!
I don’t think there is anything wrong if you want your kids to believe in Santa, but I just can’t relate to the “magic” people talk about. My in-laws are Christian, and I see the youngest nephew believing in Santa, it still seems kind of weird to me that such a big part of this holiday is adults trying to get kids to believe in this man that brings presents. I don’t know, I guess I just don’t get it! (and I didn’t believe in the tooth fairy much and found it very aggravating that my mother wouldn’t fess up when I called her on it)
Post # 60
I am Jewish so therefore did not believe in Santa, but I used to read this book called Hershel and the the Hanukkah Goblins so while the Catholic kids had Santa my parents used Hershel for me. They would have one of our neighbors knock on our door and tell me to go answer it knowing that I would be too scared to actually open the door they would leave presents outside the door and say that Hershel left the presents for me outside and he flew around on a Menorah lol. I dont really remember when I figured out he wasn’t real it just kind of happened.
Post # 61
Addie is sooooooooooo cute with Santa!