If you celebrate Christmas and believe that the holiday season is, at its core, about family, you probably find Santa Claus to be a fun symbol of the holiday's "spirit of love and giving,” as Circle of Moms member Laura S. describes it. Still, as conversations on Circle of Moms reveal, not everyone who celebrates the holiday is enthusiastic about Santa, either because their Christmas traditions emphasize the holiday's religious history or because they don't want to lie to their kids. I personally plan on teaching my kids to believe in Santa for as long as it feels appropriate. Here's why.
1. Santa Spreads the Spirit of Giving
There’s nothing wrong with a little make believe, especially during the holiday season. After all, as Circle of Moms member Carla A. says, “Reality is gonna smack [your children] in the face soon enough; they should be child[ren] for as long as we can allow.” Her family always had a tree and Santa and she remembers the holiday as “magical.” “Santa was a person who spread good cheer and fantasy. In a world where there is not much good for a child to believe in, I feel Santa is harmless.”
Debra P. is a mom who knows from experience that it’s no fun to be left out of the Christmas tale. She grew up in a staunch Christian home where there was no Santa, no tooth fairy and no Easter Bunny, “and I can tell you it was awful." As a parent now herself, she includes the story of Jesus in the holiday but also lets her two daughters believe in these imaginary characters, which she says encourage imagination. And Danielle C. believes the Santa story helps bring the spirit of the holidays to life. “I am in no way religious, so for me Christmas has no religious value. It is purely about the happiness of others and spending time together as a whole family and sharing in the laughter . . . .Christmas is a special time for our family and Santa is just the icing on the cake.
The most important part about the holiday season, says Circle of Moms Christa B., is that people should be giving just as much, if not more, than receiving gifts, and she thinks “Santa Claus and the sleigh and reindeer help to get young children into the holiday spirit.”
Telling your child about Santa, of course, is a personal decision. If you choose to tell the tale, then “maybe not this year, but next year your child will be old enough to start understanding who Santa is and what he does,” she says. In the meantime, “There is nothing like seeing your child's face Christmas morning when receiving a gift from Santa."
2. The Santa Myth is Adaptable
The best part about the Christmas character is that parents can eaily emphasize only the aspects of his myth that they are comfrotable with, say several Circle of Moms members. Krista E. was taught that Santa is a “kind and generous and giving and cheerful [man], and that he appeared as a jolly, round man with a white beard, dressed in a red suit. This way, we weren't really taught that he was a real person, like you and me, but [we] still got to believe in some of the magic and fun.”
Many choose to emphasize St. Nicholas instead of just the jolly old Santa we know today. As Laura S. explains, “There are many different myths and legends regarding Santa, including the factual story about the Turkish priest, St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was known to give coins to orphaned and poor children. Now that my daughter is older, we are exploring Santa from different cultures, namely from my Dutch and northern European heritage."
Indeed, even Nicole B., who is not so sure about Santa, said she doesn’t see anything wrong with telling her children about Saint Nick, “after all, he was a real person.”
3. Children Grow Out of It Naturally
Carolyn W. is among many moms who don't worry at all that their kids will eventually resent them for lying about Santa. The Santa myth, she says is "a fun thing for kids to think for a few years. Yes, they will find out eventually that it was a lie, but I don’t necessarily think that will make them trust me less. I never mistrusted my parents just because they told me Santa was real when he wasn’t.”
Sarah H. agrees, recalling the "excitement of make believe," and the fact that she never felt her parents lied to her: "It was a fun tradition and memory we had as kids growing up.” And Carolyn S.'s little girls, who believed in Santa as little ones, "had no problem accepting the fact that fantasies do have some truth, and sometimes daddies and mommies make the best Santas.”
Chelsea P. plans to tell her daughter about all aspects of the Christmas celebration, including Santa. She suspects that by focusing on St. Nick's evolution into Santa, she'll be setting the stage for her daughter’s belief in the mythical character to fade away naturally over time.
Please Don’t Ruin it for Other Kids!
Finally, if you choose to tell your preschool-aged children that Santa doesn’t exist, please also tell them not to ruin the myth for their classmates. As Circle of Moms members Renae K. shares, “I was the horrible child who from Kindergarten [on] told all of the other children that Santa was made up and was not real. I honestly did not understand that children believed in him or why their parents were lying to them." She now regrets that she only stopped telling other children the truth “when a little girl cried.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.