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View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Where does Santa stand in your house??



Topsy
11-30-2011, 08:24 AM
I've been enjoying following the Santa Issues (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/threads/5180-Santa-issues) thread this week, and it inspired a poll topic. For one, because I've never been more nostalgic about the holidays than I have this year. With my oldest getting ready to graduate, and the other not that far behind him, I'm missing those early days of Christmas expectation and advent calendars and the like. ((sigh)) For another, because we have such a wide range of beliefs, family styles, and general life approaches here at SHS.com, that I think it's just fun to see where everyone is at on this one....

Let's see how Ole Saint Nick fares around here!

858

farrarwilliams
11-30-2011, 09:19 AM
As I said in the other thread, we "do" Santa, but we've always told the kids it's a pretend game, so they've known since they were old enough to know anything at Christmas that dh and I are "Santa." But they have always enjoyed the game. They like to visit the pretend Santa (though they seem confused as to why he asks what they want for Christmas and one year Mushroom said bluntly that I was going to bring it and implied it was none of his business). They like to put the cookies out. They like stories and movies about Santa.

Brittaya
11-30-2011, 09:28 AM
Ours are so little yet, but we celebrate Winter Solstice at home. Christmas is strictly a grandparent thing around here. I think when they're older we'll just tell them the same thing we plan on telling them about all other mythical creatures/gods that some people believe in it and others don't and they can decide if they want to believe or not. And then when they're old enough to understand we'll explain the historical significance and the different cultural things. At least that's how I imagine it will go.

dottieanna29
11-30-2011, 10:04 AM
I voted other since we take a traditional approach in that the kids think he's real but we don't make a huge deal out of it - no threats for good behavior, no footprints on the hearth, we don't even usually visit for pictures, no letter writing - although I guess some of that may change if they get a little older and still believe (at least the letter writing).

I guess we fall somewhere between option 1 and option 2.

MarkInMD
11-30-2011, 10:15 AM
My DW and I differ on our approach to this, although for once, I won. :) I like the magic of Santa and wanted our kids to experience it, along with the eventual discovery that comes later (which our older son already has made, non-traumatically). She, on the other hand, would have preferred telling them from the get-go that it was a story. But I figure they only have a very few years to have that wonder. Why not let them have it?

ercswf
11-30-2011, 10:15 AM
Older son at 4 decided Santa was a terrorist and became intensely afraid of him. He then passed this on to his little brother. Things got so bad as soon as christmas decorations started showing in stores that we had no choice but to tell him he did not exist. But thanks to family, friends, and teachers he was told other wise and it has taken just till last year to make him truly under stand that he is not real and he can relax. When he was 3 we had to kill the easter bunny because the idea of it bothered him so much he would not sleep, eat, and walked around in fear. So we also chose NOT to even mention the tooth fairy or any other things that could come in our house.

zcat
11-30-2011, 11:10 AM
Other.
We did Santa, dd changed the story to a dog delivering gifts to her so we went with that. We never went overboard or tried to force her belief. Santa/dog filled the stocking and left one gift only at our house. We left out cookies and dd made a wish list but we did not do the mailed letters, fake footprints, making threats about behavior, or visiting Santa at the mall. A few years ago she no longer wanted to do Santa or the dog. We started a new tradition of filling each other's stockings and that has been fun too.

Dd also transformed the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy into dogs. She came up with the Christmas Schnauzer, Easter Beagle and the Dog Fairy because she was slightly afraid of the traditional characters but loved dogs.

Topsy
11-30-2011, 11:13 AM
Older son at 4 decided Santa was a terrorist and became intensely afraid of him. He then passed this on to his little brother. Things got so bad as soon as christmas decorations started showing in stores that we had no choice but to tell him he did not exist. But thanks to family, friends, and teachers he was told other wise and it has taken just till last year to make him truly under stand that he is not real and he can relax. When he was 3 we had to kill the easter bunny because the idea of it bothered him so much he would not sleep, eat, and walked around in fear. So we also chose NOT to even mention the tooth fairy or any other things that could come in our house.

I am sure that this has been so NOT funny IRL, but the telling of it - - I gotta admit - - is a hoot. This would make such a great parody of "The Night Before Christmas"...you know, with the kids waiting by their bedsides with loaded AK47's and such. ;) LMAO

Sherry
11-30-2011, 12:07 PM
In DH's family, each child received a pile of gifts, all from Santa. That is until his mom and dad decided to tell the children the truth. DH never got over the idea that his parents had lied to him. He wanted no Santa for our children.

In my family, Santa had a minor role. He filled the stockings. The gifts under the tree were from family members. My parents never told us the truth about Santa, they just figured at some point that we knew. The stockings got filled until we left home.

Daycare took the decision about which tradition to follow out of our hands. The November our oldest was three, he suddenly did not want to go to bed alone and would wake up crying because a strange man was watching him and the man was going to come into his house. It took several days for us to realize that he was talking about Santa. It was November not December! To that point, we had never mentioned Santa to him. We quickly decided that Santa would not come to our house. We told our son that Santa was pretend. We also let the teachers know how we felt about the situation. We would have made more of a fuss, but we had already told the daycare (for other reasons) that we were removing him from their care.

We read stories about Santa and Saint Nicholas but stress that Saint Nicholas lived a long time ago and that Santa an imaginary character. We do tell them not to spoil the fun for those who play the Santa game. In our family, mommy puts fun surprises in the stockings and Christmas gifts are tokens of affection between family members.

Marmalade
11-30-2011, 12:27 PM
We "do Santa" but he's kind of behind the scenes. The kids like to write letters to him and set out cookies but they aren't threatened with no presents or a bag of coal. Basically they get one or two gifts from Santa and he fills their stockings. All of the gifts get put out at night after they've gone to bed, including any from us or their aunts or grandparents.

we don't go see Santa and our major Christmas traditions focus around family and togetherness...

leav97
11-30-2011, 01:38 PM
In our house Santa brings one present. DD1 still believes in Santa but isn't so sure about flying deer.

inmom
11-30-2011, 02:58 PM
We have "Santa" at Christmas Eve with my extended family, but the kids figured out looooong ago it's really their Uncle Mike. So, I voted that we just have fun with it. It's a way to get them to bed early on Christmas eve so dh and I can wrap presents.

Busygoddess
11-30-2011, 03:30 PM
We told our kids the truth from the very beginning. We also told them not to spoil it for others. They know that some kids believe & that it isn't our place to ruin that for them. We don't put out cookies or any kind of drink for him. We don't label any presents as 'From Santa.' When someone in the family gives them a gift 'from Santa' or mentions Santa, the kids politely nod and say nothing about his not being real. However, we have no problem watching movies with Santa in them or reading books that talk about him. We learn about Christmas traditions in other cultures/countries, so the kids learn about the role Santa plays in other places.

ercswf
11-30-2011, 03:49 PM
Yeah the full 4 year of events and things is actually VERY funny(you know after we get him out of the room/area and calm).

And it involves guns, soldiers, and Santa getting arrested.

Jeni
12-01-2011, 01:06 AM
I picked the second option, "We have fun with Santa...." I wouldn't say he's reached the imaginary stage yet though. Soon for my 8 year old. We don't go overboard though. They write letters to Santa and visit and stuff. They get a Santa gift and leave cookies for him to eat. It's all in good fun and pretty simple.

The only thing I ever really feel comfortable telling the kids is the same thing my mom told me, "Santa won't come to a messy house, it needs to be spotless or we don't have Christmas." I am sure that's something I will say long after they figure it out. They blow me off and roll their eyes anyway, so I don't feel bad saying it. My mom tried to tell dd that Santa has 365 gifts for each child and he takes one away each time they are bad. How sad for her that Santa only brings one gift, she must have been really naughty. I told her that wasn't true at all.

Ayem
12-01-2011, 03:11 AM
Not sure where we sit with this. I guess it's kind of a game now. They both know the truth, but we operate in a kind of a suspended fantasy that we (they) don't let collide with reality. I think they are reluctant to openly acknowledge the real state of things in case the present gravy train dries up.

Santa only brings small fun things here anyway. The big presents come from Mum and Dad.

Miss Angela
12-01-2011, 11:04 AM
As mom to an 11 year old and an 18 year old - Santa is kinda an interesting character around our house. We go out of town for Christmas and many years ago my grandmother (girls great grandmother) hired a friend to play Santa--now he does it every year and brings them one single gift Christmas Eve afternoon. My kids never see me wrapping gifts for them but they "magically" show up Christmas morning under my Gran's tree. The 11 yr old still hasn't clued in to the fact that there is a to but no From: mom and dad on her gifts. My 18 yr old's face still lights up Christmas morning to see the packages (all wrapped in Santa paper) under the tree. We don't write letters, we do leave milk and cookies, or coke and cheese (?). There is no coal, no threats, and Christmas mornings make me yet even more happy to be mom to these amazing girls.

Amanadoo
12-01-2011, 12:07 PM
Santa is on par with Dora The Explorer around here. Just a fun story, not big deal.

It's funny because whenever anyone hears this, they are immediately appalled, worried for my kid's "childhood" and then the next thing that comes out of their mouth is ALWAYS, "What if they tell other kids Santa isn't real?" Oh yes, I'd hate for my kids to tell the truth about something......................................... ..............but................................. ...........Since folks are so attached to Santa (I have to say, QUITE the same way they are attached to Jesus!), I would of course not want my kids to shatter any dearly held illusions for anyone. If nothing else, it would just be rude. So I was a little worried about it until one day at the park a nice lady asked my son if Santa was going to come to his house. He screamed across the playground, "Mana, is Santa coming to our house?" I said no. He looked back at the lady and said "no." And that was that. lol. No big whoop. Her kids probably just thought he'd been bad. And he didn't know he was missing out on any hidden context. Presumably, by the time they figure that out, they'll be old enough that I won't have to worry about them ruining Santa for any other kids.

MrsLOLcat
12-01-2011, 12:12 PM
Santa only brings small fun things here anyway. The big presents come from Mum and Dad.

We go totality traditional with Santa, but the big stuff still comes from Mom and Dad. DS worked out the whole gig a couple years ago now when he put two and two together and came up with 4. We were in the car and he announced, "Mom, I know you're Santa." I went along with it to see where he was going and said, "Oh, yeah?" "Yeah... because Santa is St. Nicholas, right? But Santa's supposed to be alive. But to be a saint you have to be dead." I wanted to go all Schroedinger's cat on him but didn't figure that was nice and just 'fessed up. We talk a lot about the 'spirit' of the holiday and how Santa simply embodies that, and he's had a lot of fun playing up the charade for his sister.

Then again, I own Christmas ornaments featuring kids being thrown into sacks by Santa (http://oursunnyview.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-stories.html). It's a German(ic) thing. Santa is warped around here.

amphibology29
12-01-2011, 03:07 PM
I chose other. We fully "do" Santa at our house but we don't go crazy with it. We pretend he's real when the kids are little but once they ask we'll tell them the truth (one at a time). DH's family didn't do Santa but my family did. When I asked, my parents explained that Santa is a special pretend thing parents do to bring a bit of magic to the season and explain about the original St. Nicholas and the spirit of giving and imagination. That wouldn't work for every kid (I've had friends who's children have flipped out about their parents lying to them) but our children will definitely "get" that explanation.

We also got an Elf on the Shelf this year to start with the kids. It's basically a little doll with a story book that reports behavior back to Santa. I just think it's cute. (PSA: the body on the elf is highly disappointing for how expensive it is. I'm planning to get some higher quality felt, stuffing, and pipe cleaners to remake a body with posable arms and legs.

pnctink
12-01-2011, 08:03 PM
My DW and I differ on our approach to this, although for once, I won. :) I like the magic of Santa and wanted our kids to experience it, along with the eventual discovery that comes later (which our older son already has made, non-traumatically). She, on the other hand, would have preferred telling them from the get-go that it was a story. But I figure they only have a very few years to have that wonder. Why not let them have it?
My DH still believes in the spirit of Santa, though we do avoid shopping malls so we don't ruin the illusion. :_laugh:


I chose other. We fully "do" Santa at our house but we don't go crazy with it. We pretend he's real when the kids are little but once they ask we'll tell them the truth (one at a time). DH's family didn't do Santa but my family did. When I asked, my parents explained that Santa is a special pretend thing parents do to bring a bit of magic to the season and explain about the original St. Nicholas and the spirit of giving and imagination. That wouldn't work for every kid (I've had friends who's children have flipped out about their parents lying to them) but our children will definitely "get" that explanation.

We also got an Elf on the Shelf this year to start with the kids. It's basically a little doll with a story book that reports behavior back to Santa. I just think it's cute. (PSA: the body on the elf is highly disappointing for how expensive it is. I'm planning to get some higher quality felt, stuffing, and pipe cleaners to remake a body with posable arms and legs.

My mother sent an Elf last year and the kids love it. His hat came off a couple of days ago because we don't think he loses his magic if you pick him up. ;)

We only have Santa bring one present and fill the stocking. We (and assorted relatives) supply the rest. Despite being told who bought which gift last year, DD still told everyone Santa brought all of her presents. I did correct her so we'll see what happens this year.

rosew
12-03-2011, 10:12 AM
We play the Santa Game but have a rule of no direct lying to the kids. Aka, we'll talk about Santa coming (aka the parents) but when a child figures something out and asks a direct question we give an honest answer. Our feeling is it's bad for development to suppress the natural logic and critical thinking when it comes forward. My daughter figured out the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa last spring when she was 5 with this logic:

She's sitting next to me with a serious thinking face on.
Talks out loud, "Fairies aren't real." (From a previous discussion about her fairy books.)
(Really long pause)
"Parents have money."
(Really long pause)
"Mom, are you the tooth fairy?"

I fessed up and explained it as a game parents play. That the game is still played when you figure it out but now you are in on the game too. The hardest part was getting her to realize that not only can you not tell your friends the secret... you also can't tell them "I know the secret!!!" A few days later she asked about the Easter Bunny. A few more days and Santa was known. Right after that she looks at me in slight frustration and says, "Mom! Are there any more of these grownup games I should know about???"

As for the focus on Santa we try to keep it minimal. Santa fills the stockings and leaves one nice but not huge present and we leave out cookies for Santa. We refuse to do elf on the shelf and have told our kids there is no naughty list. We think it takes out the Christmas spirit to use a nice thing like gift giving to terrify kids into behaving.

Rose

DragonFaerie
12-03-2011, 10:26 AM
I voted other since we take a traditional approach in that the kids think he's real but we don't make a huge deal out of it - no threats for good behavior, no footprints on the hearth, we don't even usually visit for pictures, no letter writing - although I guess some of that may change if they get a little older and still believe (at least the letter writing).

I guess we fall somewhere between option 1 and option 2.

This is us, too. Actually, a couple of years ago the kids wrote to "the Elfmaster" and requested Christmas elves that come and visit for the month and go back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The elves come to life and play pranks around the house at night. Since the kids got the elves, they have been a bigger deal around here than Santa.

Part of it hit the fan this year, though, when DD10 discovered a "made in China" tag on her elf. Her brother blew it off as part of the elf's disguise as a toy but DD was not so easily swayed. She found a website on the tag. She went to the website. She saw pictures of her elf. She was devastated. But, we talked and I explained that learning these kinds of things means that she's growing up a little bit more. To her credit, she is fine with it now, and carries on the game for the sake of her little brother. She doesn't want him to know yet because she thinks it would break his heart. DD hasn't said anything about Santa, though I imagine it won't be too long before she figures this out, too.

It all feels like such a huge betrayal when they find out, but then I'll just remind them of the years and years of fun they've had with it all that they would have missed out on otherwise.

hockeymom
12-03-2011, 11:13 AM
I love the ideas about fessing up that it's a game, but emphasizing that the game is still played even after they find out. Also pointing out that finding the clues means they are growing up--both those ideas keep it so positive and fun. I will definitely remember these when we are confronted! :)

DragonFaerie
12-03-2011, 01:54 PM
I love the ideas about fessing up that it's a game, but emphasizing that the game is still played even after they find out. Also pointing out that finding the clues means they are growing up--both those ideas keep it so positive and fun. I will definitely remember these when we are confronted! :)

When my older brother was about 14, my parents asked him about Santa. He told them that as long as Santa still brought presents, my brother would continue to believe. LOL

mamaraby
12-03-2011, 07:21 PM
I picked "other." While the kids are aware of the mythical Santa in the red suit, reindeer, in the mall, etc (because we love watching the Polar Express), they understand that he is just pretend. Our Santa tradition comes in the form of St. Nicholas, the semi-historical figure (Bishop of Myrna). We focus on the stories surrounding Bishop Nicholas giving to the poor and give a few small gifts in stockings in honor of St. Nicholas Day (from a secular/Pagan perspective). The kids are aware that these gifts are from dh and I.

pandahoneybee
12-05-2011, 08:55 AM
Well we used to DO Santa like crazy ;correction " I USED TO" , ya know the boys thought Santa BROUGHT all the gifts under the tree. That's the way I was raised with him being the "King" as Topsy put it:) Well behind the "other" traditions that my Christian family believe in.:^o):
Hubby, is a tell like it is kind of man, and he would never tell the boys yes there was a Santa he would direct them my way. I was careful to always say I believe in the idea of Santa and everything that he represents. Then one year Alex said HOW great Santa was and asked us why didn't we ever get him anything for xmas. OOPS never thought to put our names on anything I guess. That's when Shane and I sat them down and reserach who St Nick was and the legends behind him. The boys both have known that there is no Santa for a long time well not one that looks like the ones on the shows or at the mall. hehe:_lol:

They both still go sit on Santa's lap each year and ask for one thing from him. Ya know the one thing that they really want and they get a special Santa gift, wrapped with bells, ornaments (like you see for displays) I love having fun wrapping two presents like that!! But the boys realize it is us that are spending our money to get them things! AND if they don't go and take that pic with Santa for me!! They don't get that gift!! Oldest asked when he could stop doing it, I said anytime he wanted. Then he said but I wouldn't get that gift anymore either, I said right:_(D):

HEHEHE well i want to have those pics! I put them up all over the house during the holidays, I have from Alex's first Santa pic to the current year. With the exception of a couple of years.

kohlby
12-05-2011, 12:42 PM
Santa is a game that some other kids play with their parents. We don't do the Santa game here, though we do presents. I was brought up with Santa and it was not good for me. The story never made sense to me and stressed me out because it didn't make sense to logical me. I questioned it from the start. I *knew* it couldn't be my parents since they would never lie to me. I finally got the answer out of my older brother when I was 5. It was a relief because now it made sense. But I also lost some trust in my parents. This has not impacted me as an adult - of course they got my trust back - but it did impact me heavily as a young child. It was not just a fun game. My older is super logical like me so not doing Santa was an easy decision. My middle child insists that some Santas are real and some are not, despite knowing that it's us. She wants to play the game, and that's fine. A child can still pretend even if they know the truth.

*For something like the tooth fairy, we play the game but with them knowing it's me. It's still fun to put the tooth under the pillow and get your dollar even knowing who put it. This was also very helpful when my oldest lost two of his teeth - as in really lost them and we couldn't find them. He also managed to swallow two of his teeth. So out of 6 teeth that came out, he's only had two manage to make it under the pillow!

momma24
12-05-2011, 04:47 PM
Our family has never promoted the idea of Santa for a couple of reasons. First of all, the holiday is too precious to share it with anyone else...It commemorates our Savior's birth. But secondly, we never wanted our children to know that at some point in their lives that we have ever misled them, or even lied to them outright! If we would be 'shady' in the truth in that matter, what's to stop us in other matters?
We have always told them to be respectful of other's opinions, and never 'crash' another child's world by telling them the truth, but we have always reinforced that we, as THEIR parents, want them to know that we have ALWAYS been truthful.
They DO get presents from us because they are loved, and they 'sell their teeth' to daddy when they lose them...but that's a topic for another day!

bibiche
12-07-2011, 01:49 AM
We're all Santa all the time here. I confess that I still kind of believe in Santa Claus myself... and no I'm not kidding. if it had happened to you, you would believe it too! I love the magic of Santa Claus and I love to see Christmas through my child's eyes. I don't consider adding to the enchantment of childhood lying, and I never considered it that when I was younger either. I loved Christmas as a child, and I never actually told my parents that I knew that they were Santa Claus because I didn't want that magic to end for them either.

4quivers
02-13-2012, 06:54 PM
The only question in my mind is "Do YOU believe in santa?" Why in the world would you LIE to the children and even attempt to make them believe in something. Now saying you believe in elves, fairies, ogres, and giants are a different thing. They possibly could have existed. But a man in a red suit with flying reindeer traveling the world in 1 night? Maybe in the future but it won't be santa.
And do you expect the children to ever believe anything you ever say again if you lied to them? I have the same philosophy on religion. Why would you send your kids to church if you yourself do not believe.
It's wrong. It's double-standard.

AggyBella
02-19-2012, 05:19 PM
My mother's parents didn't want to lie to their kids so they never did Santa - though they did plenty of gifts and stockings. My mother always felt incredibly cheated by that and insisted that we HAD to believe. I never felt cheated or lied to. I remember another kid asking me if I still believed and saying "Yeah, I just want to.". My brother also said that at some point my Mom decided that he, the youngest, was clearly too old to believe, so she dialed back on the game and he was really disappointed. We didnt REALLY believe, but we wanted to act like we did.
My kids are Jewish. We do secular Christmas with my extended family but never did Santa (the other kids get that from their other grandparents.). Then one year my Dad had a girlfriend that made them all stockings as a surprise and the cousins indoctrinated my kids hook line and sinker. They love the idea of Santa and I don't want to take it from them, so we keep doing it. The funny part is how the Jewish in-laws get into the act. I think they all felt cheated on the lack of Santa too.

We don't do Easter, so no bunny. We do do the tooth fairy, but with an interesting twist. The cousin that sold the idea of Santa explained the tooth fairy as well, but in her version SHE is my sons tooth fairy. She also convinced him that he is a fairy as well - and a robot. I can't follow all of the fantasy in this story, but I'm glad my son has it. I really love the sense of wonder and creativity that it brings out.

ursula northman
02-20-2012, 09:36 AM
I believe in Santa, although he is Father Winter in this house. I don't think he is a person, so much as the embodiment of the spirit if generosity. My kids understand that Father Winter is real the same way as kindness is real. You see it in action! I know during tough years, he has come into our home and given us a break. There is the random bonus check, the lucky sale that makes it possible to put a few more gifts under the tree, or the special on tv that gave you the ideas you needed to make a creative and wonderful holiday. All of this translates to me as the spirit of giving and kindness, and in our house, that is Father Winter. He lives in all of us, and we bring him to life with the red coat and white beard.

modmom
03-02-2012, 04:12 PM
Santa does the stockings but my ds knows he's pretend. We also only do 4 gifts for Christmas, something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. It's nice. I used to go wild at Christmas, but with only the 4 gifts, it's much more enjoyable. :)

idigpotatoes
03-02-2012, 04:33 PM
my kids believe in santa because they learned about him in Public School, no joke, (they also setup up leprechaun traps at St Patty's day because of PS, and i will admit that making the milk and the toilet water green to mess with them i kind of enjoyed). but the Santa thing is a bit of tension at home, they want to believe but mom and dad dont go in for it because its all about extra presents, so there are alot of arguments about whether or not he exists between the little one and the two big ones, fuelled by both grandmas desire to send presents from santa.