Our kids don’t believe in Santa, and never have. Are you shocked?
I never believed in Santa growing up, either. Growing up with Hindu parents who grew up in India, Christmas was really just about having some days off work and school to spend with extended family. We did typically exchange gifts, but my sister and I never believed in Santa growing up.
Then in my husband’s family, his parents sort of did the Santa thing very early on. His dad dressed up a time or two, but they never went out of their way to push it or try to make it seem more real. The second any kids asked questions, they told them the truth, and never tried to get them to help keep it from younger siblings. It seems they all more or less knew the truth by the time they were 4-5 years old.
Creating Our Own Family Christmas Traditions
When it came to our own kids, it felt like the world was our oyster. Neither of our families had strong Christmas traditions. In addition to not really doing Santa, neither of our families had specific foods, movies, or activities.
We’d usually go see lights, but beyond that, there weren’t any organized things we did each year.
Because of that, we knew we’d largely be creating our own traditions – which was exciting! And since neither of our families felt really strongly about Santa one way or the other, we knew we could easily pick what we wanted to do without worrying about disappointing anyone.
How We Decided to Not Do Santa
From the beginning of our marriage, we knew that neither of us was super interested in perpetuating the Santa myth with our kids. I have zero problem with other families doing Santa, but as we talked through it, it felt more and more right for our family to skip it. Here are 5 reasons why!
7 Reasons Why We Don’t Do Santa Claus
Creating a culture of trust is important in our home.
We work hard to try to create a culture of trust in our family. We try to be open and honest, even when it comes to more difficult topics like racism or sex. We hope our kids always feel comfortable coming to us with questions.
So we didn’t want to start out by intentionally creating a while myth for them to genuinely believe. I have zero problem with sparking and cultivating imagination, but I didn’t feel we need to convince them to actually believe the myth. I also didn’t want them wondering what else we told them wasn’t true.
That’s NOT to say that if you do the Santa thing that your kids won’t trust you once they find out the truth. I know PLENTY of people who believed in Santa, and were perfectly happy to accept it as a happy myth as they got older. But not dealing with it feels easier for our family.
Every child is of equal worth.
Another biggie is that I didn’t want my kids seeing Santa give some children bikes or video game systems, and only give others a small toy. Inequity is all too present in our society; I want to make sure my kids know that that’s not because of the inherent worth of different children. Instead, it’s because of the choices PEOPLE make, and we can work to overcome that to bring greater equity to all.
Basically, I didn’t need a mythological Santa validating biases and inequities created by society, especially when it came to children of color.
I want the credit.
I also didn’t really have any desire for some dude from the North Pole to take credit for my gifts! Part of the fun of Christmas is doing the gifting, and seeing the gratitude and appreciation when someone opens yours. I wanted my kids to be able to experience both sides of that.
I wanted them to know that they are loved and that someone recognizes their interests and desires, and it’s not just some imaginary man in a red suit.
We can imagine without believing something is true.
Whenever I mention the fact that we don’t do Santa, people worry that our kids will be deprived or that they won’t develop their imaginations. In fact, we still read plenty of books about Santa and watch movies that have Santa. The only difference is that my kids know it’s pretend.
There are plenty of things in life that are super enjoyable even though we know they’re imaginary. In fact, part of the fun is BECAUSE they’re imaginary! My kids love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and lots of other things because they’re fun, made-up worlds. Allowing my kids to have the same experience with Santa – hearing a fun story but not relying on it for truth – fosters the same sense of fun and imagination.
I don’t want Santa to do the disciplining.
With Santa, I could see myself easily falling into the crutch of saying things like, “You better make a good choice, or Santa won’t bring you XXX!” I know there are plenty of parents who are much better than I am who would never do this, but I feel like it would be an easy thing for me to fall into. It’s just easier to not go down that path for me!
Christmas is plenty magical without Santa.
With being able to create our own traditions, we’ve developed LOTS of fun ones. We watch the Nutcracker every year and attend a sing along of Handel’s Messiah. We do a “Bethlehem dinner” on Christmas Eve and do a “Polar Express Night” to go see lights. My oldest decided a few years ago that he wanted to make Christmas crackers for everyone and has done them ever since. We do Christmas jammies and a hot chocolate bar and caroling to raise money for a nonprofit that our kids choose.
The point is, there is SO MUCH that is magical about this time of year, and I (and our kids) don’t feel we’re missing out one bit without having Santa be a part of that.
I don’t care about Santa!
Most of all, I personally just don’t care about Santa. My husband doesn’t care about Santa. So we don’t do it, because it’s not important to US. And if it is important to you? Go for it!
I have zero judgment for people who feel the benefits of Santa outweigh the costs. If you like it and it’s a fun tradition for you, by all means, do it up! And I promise my kids won’t spoil it for yours.
And if you, like us, don’t care one bit? Here’s your license to just skip out altogether. 😉
I’m curious – do you do Santa in your family? How do you handle it? Is there an age when you tell your kids, or do you wait for them to find out? Do older children help keep the secret for the younger ones? Or do you skip out altogether like we do? I’d love to hear how your family handles it!
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