Social Question

nebule's avatar

What are your opinions on telling your children that you buy their Christmas presents as opposed to telling them Santa Claus brings them...

Asked by nebule (16436points) November 9th, 2009

A friend of mine was recently explaining to me how he does not celebrate Christmas based on the premise that it is the biggest lie (about Father Christmas) a parent can tell to their children and what messages that then sends them for later in life.

I do celebrate Christmas but not for Christian reasons as such. I see it as a beautiful time of the year for giving, all the smells, family time, spiritual practice, silence, songs etc. I am currently pondering though what to tell my son about presents and why we celebrate it. It’s only the presents part that I need to worry about right now…he’s only 3! but I have mixed feelings… and would like your opinions…

If you do celebrate Christmas
Why do you celebrate it?
What have you told or planning to tell your children?
How has it affected them?
And of course any other nuggets of wisdom..

Thanks gorgeous peeps xx

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86 Answers

erichw1504's avatar


heart = broken

mclaugh's avatar

If you do celebrate Christmas
Why do you celebrate it? – I celebrate Christmas because to me, it’s all about family. I live 12 hours drive from my parents and it’s one of the only times I get to see them. I love the smells, the cooking(my mom and I cook alot together during this time) and all of the activities that come with it…
What have you told or planning to tell your children? – When I have children, I’ll let them believe what they want to believe. I won’t press any of my ideas on them. If they ask about it, and they do happen to believe in Santa, I won’t crush their beliefs…children have an amazing imagination and it should be encouraged. Why put your own need of validation(as in telling them that those gifts are from you) in front of theirs? They’ll figure out in due-time that Santa isn’t real.

nebule's avatar

@mclaugh it’s not about validation, it’s about truth…

SpatzieLover's avatar

@lynneblundell We celebrate Christmas and go ALL out. We do believe in Santa here.

What is more difficult is family that doesn’t believe and insist on talking in front of our young son about the “Santa myth”. We have explained to our son that Santa only exists for those who believe. Thank goodness for “The Polar Express” ;)

Our son now says, “It’s too bad they don’t believe in Christmas magic”.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think if the worst thing you ever do to your kid or the greatest disappointment they face in life is the santa claus story, they will have had a very blessed existence.

JLeslie's avatar

I do not celebrate Christmas, but I thought, like all of the Christian kids, that santa brought them gifts. I did believe the tooth fairy left money under my pillow. When I found out my mom was leaving money under my pillow it did not make me trust her less or think she would lie to me about other things. I think it is overthinking, I see no problem either way, tell your kids santa is fake or let them believe, neither is a big deal, except if you tell a young child the truth you have burdened him with having to keep the secret from other children or being the kid who told everyone there is no santa claus.

mclaugh's avatar

@lynneblundell but they will find that truth out by themselves. Children need to imagine things on a grand scale(Santa, reindeer, Elves). I know it’s hard to work so hard all year to buy them nice presents and then get that credit taken away from you but, they’ll know later on…and they’ll appreciate you more for it.

cookieman's avatar

I don’t know a single person scarred by the gigantic lie of the Christmas myth. Of the five people I know who are psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors, none of them treat anyone for Mommy-was-really-Santa trauma.

In my opinion, this is a self-indulgent, overly cynical opinion shared by those with little joy in their heart (and I’m pretty flippin’ cynical).

Biggest lie perpetuated upon children: “We love you unconditionally”.

oratio's avatar

Santa is part of the magic of childhood. Why take that away?

Qingu's avatar

If I had children I would tell them that Jesus Christ brings them their presents. While flying around the sky on a magic crucifix, pulled by the other two Trinity members (who are simultaneously himself).

I figure most kids go through this trajectory of disillusionment:
1. Hey wait, Santa Claus isn’t real!
2. What else have my parents been lying to me about?
3. Hey wait, God is basically like Santa Claus for adults.

This way, they can just go straight to number 3.

HannukahHarry's avatar

@Qingu That may be true for Christians, but we Jews have it better. Socks and underwear for everybody!

buckyboy28's avatar

I’m a Jew. Hannukah Harry brings me presents.

JLeslie's avatar

@cprevite Just being devils advocate, I will say that I know many adults who are depressed to hell on the holidays because it doesn’t live up to their childhood. I don’t have this problem because Chanukah was more laid back, not built up into a big frenzy. I’m not a scrooge, I love Christmas and the holidays, the lights, the music, and I am not against the fantasy of santa, but still Christmas itself seems to be an annoying obligation or dissapointment in many families from what I have observed.

erichw1504's avatar

@Qingu God is basically like Santa Claus for adults.

Love it!

nebule's avatar

hmmmm interesting…

I can see what you guys are saying and please hear me when I say that it really is not anything to do with me wanting the credit for buying him the presents. I’m certainly not interested in that…

I suppose we could lump it into a bigger category of all fairy tales… I suppose you could start asking me if I’m going to take all of those away as well yes? Well, perhaps the ones about meeting prince charming…and…let me think about the others…

no but… @Qingu…this is the kind of thing I’m talking about…GA!!! x

Qingu's avatar

@mclaugh, the Santa Claus myth isn’t the only avenue for children’s imagination. Far from it. I never believed in Santa Claus when I was a kid and I had a pretty damn overactive imagination.

I personally think that parents who lie to their kids about Santa Claus are doing it for their own indulgence more than to make their kids happy.

@HannukahHarry, dude, when I found out that the wine in Elijah’s cup evaporates, that almost single-handedly converted me from Jew to atheist.

nebule's avatar

I have never believed in Santa btw… which is possibly why I’m wondering why he needs to at all….??? I’m incredibly creative and imaginative and don’t feel I missed out…or indeed ruined it for any other children…

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Qingu For some of us it is a part of our religious beliefs (We celebrate many Saint days, not just Christmas).

JLeslie's avatar

Seems like the Jews are all on the same page here.

buckyboy28's avatar

@JLeslie Just curious. :^)

JLeslie's avatar

@buckyboy28 curious about what?

Qingu's avatar

When I was 6 and my parents tried to feed me the tooth fairy bullshit, I apparently pulled a Carl Sagan and tried to force them to empirically prove the tooth fairy really visited me by threatening to build a trap for the fairy under my pillow. They gave up and told me she was imaginary.

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: I agree that many people find the holidays miserable (I have had years like that) – but I think that has more to do with their perspective on life in general; not some residual lingering disapointment from finding out Mom was Santa.

buckyboy28's avatar

@JLeslie The opinion of Christians on this. I always felt like I was in a special club as a kid, knowing the “truth”.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@cprevite I agree. Anyone I know that has an issue at the holidays has an issue all year. I have family issues, but I love the holidays!

doggywuv's avatar

I would tell them that Santa Claus is imaginary.

@Qingu It is erroneous to dismiss God as a myth like Santa Claus, because it’s much more than that:
1. The most perpetual myth in all of human history, a really important personification.
2. A philosophical concept (the basis of nature).
3. Nature.
I still have to reply in our discussion regarding pantheism.

JLeslie's avatar

@cprevite Right, I agree it is not finding out mom was santa, I guess I am a little off point. My husband is dissappointed at Christmas, because as a child he got everything he wanted, and he does remember the magic of waking up and all of the gifts being under the tree. His older sister tells stories of him sleeping with her the night before Christmas because he was so excited he could barely clam down to go to sleep, it is the sweetest thing (he is 7 years younger than her). He always feels like Christmas is a dissappointment now, and he is not negative about life in general. Maybe if we had children it would bring back the magic for him, because he would see it in them.

My neighbor was just telling me about how she is upset that her daughter might be out of town for Christmas (both of her children are adults) I mean she was practically in tears about it. When I see this I think, ugh…how annoying. I like tradition, I like getting together with the fam, but the whole christmas thing can be so exhausting and obligatory. I will most likely be in Vegas this Christmas, great deals, hoping to see Jerry Seinfeld (I am sure that is no coincidence that he is playing over the Christmas holiday). I can take two trips to see family for the same price as flying over christmas.

nebule's avatar

…and also…it’s not just one lie is that that you have to create’s a whole host of them particularly when they’re talking and questioning… How do reindeers fly? How does he get round everyone’s house in that one night? How does he get down the chimney? Why do some children get lots of presents and others don’t get as many?...and don’t get me started on the whole…‘good boy…bad boy’ business….lol I mean…wtf??

I guess to me it smacks of that whole if you are good you will have good things in your life and people will be good to you and life will treat you kind and if you are bad exactly the opposite will happen…which let’s face it…is not how the world works…and I’m still trying to undo all that psychological nonsense

and what’s wrong with knowing that mummy worked hard for those gifts…that is the way the world works isn’t it? what are we trying to teach our children? mixed messages it seems???

DominicX's avatar

Oh Lord Jesus Christ, not this again…if this turns into another thread about what defines “lying”, I’m gonna scream…

All I have to say on this matter is: to each his own.

My parents told me that they bought the presents and that Santa filled the stockings. Made it more believable to me. I am not scarred for life. It’s a part of fantasy and make-believe, which is something that is important to many children. It’s fun when they’re younger and then as they get older, they realize it isn’t real. But this may occur from viewing fantasy movies or reading fantasy books.

If you don’t want to tell them about Santa, then don’t. Your kid will be fine either way. It’s really not that big of a deal.

As a kid, I was raised Catholic and was raised celebrating Christmas as both a secular and a religious holiday. The secular part was the presents, most of the decorations, and the tree, and the religious part was the advent wreath, the nativity scene, going to church, and the birth of Christ. Yes, I know December 25th wasn’t his real birthday, who cares? It’s commemorative…do people not have a concept of that?

Facade's avatar

I’d rather not celebrate, but because I live with my parents I kind of do. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, so it’s pretty much pointless. I like the fact that we get a break from school though.
I’m not having kids, but I don’t agree with lying to them. It’s fun to pretend, but kids should know that Santa isn’t real.

Qingu's avatar

@doggywuv, eh. I think in a lot of ways, Santa Claus is like training wheels for later belief in God.

He knows who is naughty and who is nice; he even keeps a list. Only the good kids are rewarded.

Santa Claus violates the laws of nature and physics, and his myths adherents can freely cook up any ad-hoc “logical” exception to validate arguments to his existence. i.e. “Santa Claus can visit every single child in a single 8-hour period because he has the power to bend time and space.” (Sort of like how there doesn’t have to be any evidence for God’s existence because he’s outside of space, time, and logic.)

The Santa Claus myth, like the God myth, often serves as a kind of “glue” that holds together social structures (“family gatherings wouldn’t be the same without Santa!”). It’s also, like Christianity, been totally co-opted by dominant political powers (in this case, corporate America).

Also look at the similarities between how Santa-believers and God-believers criticize unbelievers/atheists. We’re “grinches” who only want to push our viewpoints even if it ruins Christmas/makes religious people feel bad.

Damn right I’m a grinch. Fuck Santa Claus in his pudgy red ass!

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Qingu is exaggerating that tooth fairy story to sound like an awesome atheist. I’ve heard it from the source with a more stable memory, they say he wasn’t that on it.

While I celebrate Christmas with my family, I doubt my fiance would go in for the whole Santa thing and that’s fine with me. I don’t celebrate the holiday because I’m religious—I celebrate it as a day to get together with my family and show our appreciation for each other through gifts and an incredibly rigid schedule of events.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@lynneblundell It took me a bit, but this recent thread covers your topics well.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@lynneblundell Anytime. I hope you and your son enjoy the holidays!

nebule's avatar

oh we will xxx we love it!! xxxxx

JLeslie's avatar

@lynneblundell to answer your question more directly, if my husband had stayed Catholic I would have done the whole christmas tree and santa thing I think if I had children. Since he decided to convert to judaism we will not have that at my house, but if his parents choose to say that santa went to their house and left gifts for my kids I would be fine with that. I am fine with the lie of santa—nice fantasy for children.

For those of you who compare God to Santa, I agree they are comparable, the question is are you going to grow up and decide that things that make little sense are for childhood fantasy, or continue to belive in something magical?

YARNLADY's avatar

We have always treated it like all other play acting around our house. The boys never did think they were riding a “real” horse when they played on their rocking horse, and they made up all kinds of games about flying, and racing cars. Santa Claus was always treated as just another game we played.

My 2½ year old grandson makes up games all on his own, he pretends to be the dog and picks up his balls in his mouth, he pretends he is an airplane or a lion, and many such games. Santa Claus is a fun game to play.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@YARNLADY But during the day, when your grandson is at school, the other students do not believe they truly become a dog during play or a lion or an airplane, whereas they may truly believe in Santa. Which, I think, makes it different for him. (Unless he goes to a specifically non-Christian school.) I’m also not saying he doesn’t understand the difference, just saying that I think it is a valid difference where your comparison may fall apart some.

JLeslie's avatar

I will say this, it sucks to be the kid who doesn’t get gifts from santa when everyone else does.

doggywuv's avatar

@Qingu I basically agree with all the components of your comparison between the Santa Claus myth and the personal God myth.
Non-believers will be punished and believers will be rewarded.
Believers may defend their beliefs without good reasoning.
Myths are consoling and have a social function.
Non-believers and believers quarrel with each other.

But I just want to express that while both are myths, the personal God myth is a much deeper myth, and that “Santa Claus” only has one meaning while “God” has numerous meanings.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I wasn’t allowed the fantasy that there was ever a Santa Claus. I always knew it was the adults who got our presents, but I didn’t tell anyone else outside of home that I knew the truth. Why spoil their fun?

MrBr00ks's avatar

When I found out that Santa wasn’t real, I did feel crushed that my parents would lie to me for so long. I actually thought, “why would they buy gifts and give the credit to a fictional fat man?”completely serious btw. I vowed way back when that Santa would not be apart of my kids lives.

rooeytoo's avatar

@DominicX – you put it so eloquently and I truly agree!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

We had all presents come from family members, except for one big one that came from “Santa” that wasn’t wrapped. Presents for people outside of the family went under the tree right away, but immediate family gifts went out when “Santa” came. The big kitchen set, bikes, computer, etc. all came from “Santa”. The kids knew there wasn’t a santa, but liked the magic of no gifts/then gifts appeared. “Santa” always seemed to buy the thing that mom and dad said no to. When they were little, we did the reindeer food, carrots, cookies for Santa, etc. No one was traumatized from the experience.

AstroChuck's avatar

I think my 28 year-old is starting to suspect.

rooeytoo's avatar

heheheh, Chuckie, ahhhh that is so sad, but you knew it couldn’t go on forever!

casheroo's avatar

We celebrate by gathering the family for a large filling meal, exchanging gifts and having a good time.
We will tell our children there is a santa, and we will scar them for life lie to them and then tell them the truth when they’re a little older.
We are not religious, and it has never been a religious holiday for me while growing up. I found out when I was young and took it probably like most other kids…I was told and moved on and felt like I was such a grown up for knowing.

cookieman's avatar

@casheroo: EXACTLY! (very well said)

YARNLADY's avatar

@EmpressPixie I am surprised to hear that you think by the time a child is old enough for school he hasn’t already figured it out. Do kids age 6 and 7 really still believe in Santa Claus?

JLeslie's avatar

I think kids figure it out around age 8.

DominicX's avatar


Yeah, I was around 8 when I figured it out…but maybe I was just slow…

YARNLADY's avatar

@JLeslie 8 years old seems a long time to believe in Santa. The kids in my family were already reading the newspapers and watching TV on a regular basis by then, so were well aware of the “truth”. My sons were homeschooled, so there was no danger of them “telling”, and my three grandsons attended nursery school, and the kids there found out around the age of 5.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@YARNLADY: I see we had a misunderstanding of school-age. I was thinking mature 2.5 year old, typical 3 year old. Though, yes, there are plenty of six and seven year olds out there who believe in Santa. It’s… pretty normal at that age.

cookieman's avatar

My daughter was four when she figured out the Santa at the mall wasn’t the Santa. “It’s just a guy in a suit, right?”—“Yes”, I said.

When she was five she figured out the problem with the chimney. “But not everybody has a fireplace.”—“Yes”, I said, “including us”.

At age six she figured out the bag problem. “There’s no way he can fit all those toys in a bag.”—“Yes”, I said, “this is why he brings you one gift and the others come from us”.

She just turned seven. I’m pretty sure this’ll be the last year.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY wow I am surprised. My neice and nephew were older, I know they still believed when they were already in elementary school, and my girlfriends son I know was much older.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I was 10 when I figured it out. ;) I just thought all my friends didn’t want to believe

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover my girlfriend told her children that when they stop believing santa stops coming.

SeventhSense's avatar

The power of imagination is important to children’s development and is actually good for them. These same children will grow up to create beautiful works of art and literature.
Qingu was just confused he thought they said Satan Claus..he’s been terrified of mistletoe ever since

casheroo's avatar

@cprevite I think that’s how it should be with children, a slow realization..putting together the pieces. I think it’s fascinating to watch a child learn like that. I don’t think it’s harmful at all.

I was 8, I believe. Possibly 7. I mainly wanted to know about the tooth fairy, and was probably more upset about that than santa. I left clothes for her, and found them in my parents room haha

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not big on innocence.

Disney characters aren’t real, and we have no trouble telling our kids that, and it doesn’t spoil their enjoyment of all things Disney one bit. Telling kids that Santa isn’t real won’t make a difference, either. Kids know how to suspend disbelief. They know how to believe in whatever makes them happy. It is no big deal telling them that Santa isn’t real, because they’ll believe anyway.

On the other hand, I have to pick a bone with those who say Santa isn’t real. What is he? A story, yes. But he’s a lot more. He’s an idea, a philosophy, a spirit. The spirit is real. The story and philosophy are real, too. Anyone who is merely looking at the reality of a guy driving a sleigh through the air to drop presents through the chimney—I’m sorry, but I think you’re totally missing the point.

I tell my kids about the spirit of Santa Claus, which is something that I, an atheist, have no problem believing in. There is no need to preserve innocence or maintain a fiction. Santa Claus is real! He is real for adults, too. If you know how to think about it.

We all get hung up on this apparatus of the story—as if that matters. Kids don’t care whether it’s real or not; they get the story. I think it’s we adults who really are the ones who have been fooled. We don’t think Santa is real! How blind can we be!

cookieman's avatar

@casheroo: Agreed. Truthfully, the idea that it could be harmful seems foolish to me.

@daloon: Nicely said.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@YARNLADY My little brother, as bright and informed as he was, believed up until the age of 12. I helped that along just for fun, crafting credible evasions to every evidence against the existence. By the time he realized what I was doing, we had created an extensive and interesting mythology. We still laugh about it together. Kids are different. I guaruntee you that late belief in this figure is in no way indicative of a child’s intelligence.

While we celebrated Christmas and included Santa, my parents were careful not to tell me in any definitive manner that he resided in the north pole, or maintained a certain appearance, etc. Double entendres abounded. I just realized pretty quickly that they were really the ones bringing gifts, and the story existed to add interest and intrigue to the whole affair.

I think the reason I worked so diligently to prolong my little brother’s belief had to do with my own regret at cheating myself out of some childhood magic. I just asked my parents bluntly when I was three or four. My little brother arrived when I was four and a half.

I too have pondered this, though I’m doing some serious long term planning by doing so, and I’m conflicted. I don’t like the materialistic, consumer aspect of the gift-giving holiday, and it seems like a ridiculous unfounded celebration, but I also have some great memories from my own family’s celebration. I have considered crafting a meaningful celebration to fall on the same day.

If we celebrate Christmas, I will perpetuate the Santa tradition with my own children. I was not scarred by the experience. On the contrary, I think it taught me to value childhood innocence and wonder, and helped me to understand the sentiments of my parents a little better. I consider it a small rite of passage and would like to provide the same experience for my own children.

This is far from the only imaginative exercise I plan to employ. There will be stories of divine crustaceans, and elaborate, high-tech monster traps for when they are frightened. If they ask, depending on the question, I will be completely honest, or answer ambiguously. I’d rather make them use they’re analytical thinking skills than give up easily!

Qingu's avatar

Another similarity between God and Santa Claus:

I bet the proportion of Catholic priests (God’s representatives on earth) who molest children is more or less congruent with the proportion of Mall Santas (Santa’s representatives outside the North Pole).

Qingu's avatar

Low blow, I know.

More seriously, I think one of the reasons I’m such a grinch about Santa Claus is because I do believe the myth does real harm. Not because kids are traumatized when they find out it’s BS. But rather because it supports and perpetuates America’s consumer-whore culture.

I know the only person who I love more than Lord Willow may disagree, and of course I realize that some people genuinely love to give people gifts, and can afford to. But for many people, Christmas is just this compulsion to buy shit nobody needs for people who don’t actually want anything. It is the only thing that perpetuates these ridiculous markets of pointless cookware, ties, bad DVD’s, and other useless chachkee detritus of human industry. In fact, there are many businesses that lose money throughout the year except before Christmas, because the only people who buy their wares are people who are buying them as gifts for other people, out of a “religious” compulsion.

I think this commercial, consumer-driven culture has done real harm to our society in the past 50 years. And Christmas’ secular Santa mythology is really its driving force.

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu I agree with the majority of what you said, but not sure we can blame santa. Even without santa people are driven to buy bunches of gifts for each other on Christmas out of peer pressure or compulsion. In fact, I think the gifts for the children, which is what is associated with santa are more acceptable than all of the crazy gift giving back and forth between adults, who basically have everything they need.

DominicX's avatar


That’s why as I got colder, I preferred less gifts as long as they were important ones that I would continue to use. I look around my dorm room right now at the stuff I’m using and can recall that a lot of the stuff was a gift. My laptop, my iPhone, many of my music CDs, my clock-radio, the battery charger, the fan, etc. I use these things.

casheroo's avatar

@Qingu So, wouldn’t you rather your child believe in Santa than God? I imagine you would find it to be a good thing to expose a child to that, and learning the truth. Scratch that, I know you would rather they believe in Santa. But, I did you say you would do that with them or no..?

galileogirl's avatar

Let the kids learn the truth about Christmas on the streets just like all the other great truths in life.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@Qingu Completely reasonable. If we decide to celebrate Christmas or it’s lovingly crafted analog, then gifts will be meaningful, useful, and only given when affordable, or not at all.
as an aside, I believe the word you’re looking for is tchotchke

@DominicX “colder” freudian slip? I kid. :P

DominicX's avatar

@Beta_Orionis Hmm…who knows? The “c” is nowhere near the “o”...I must be insane…lol

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@DominicX My bet is that you were poised for the “d” and then hit “c” before the word began.

aprilsimnel's avatar

One of the network affiliates in Milwaukee would have “news bulletins” on Christmas eve starting at 8pm or so saying that Santa’s sleigh had been sighted over Canada or some such and that he wanted all the kids in the viewing area to go to sleep. That cracked me up as a kid.

Of course, this same station had an alley cat puppet doing weather on the 6 o’clock news until the mid-1980s, so…

SpatzieLover's avatar

@aprilsimnel Lurve for Alley!

The local radio stations still do track Santa here. I used to get so nervous. As a kid we’d be in my grandparents living room after Midnight mass….I’d here them say “Santa is making his way to the Midwest and we weren’t home in bed yet and then they’d say “Oh Blitzen’s suffered a leg injury” or “Santa’s hitting rain storms in the South” Ooooohhhh NO!

jeanna's avatar

My children (when I have them) will be the ones who break the news to your children that santa and god do not, logically, exist.

nebule's avatar

OH thank you all so much for your comments, they really have given me food for thought. I totally respect what @daloon has said…as ever of course and I’m very inclined to take this kind of view personally, but that still doesn’t sort out the whole conglomerate corporation nonsense and conspiracy that @Qingu talks about which I am most vehemently against.

I personally do not have very much money to spend on luxuries with being a single parent, but I am fortunate enough to have family that helps me out when they can and up to now have helped me out at Christmas. I have specifically decided this Christmas, that whilst he is still young and not overtly aware of the whole ‘more is better’ culture, that I’m not going to ‘buy’ into that myself by breaking the bank, borrowing and buying him presents that a) he doesn’t (really really doesn’t) need and b) I can’t afford.

I will buy him a couple of gifts and probably some small things like crayons, that he loves and gets just as much fun out of and will most likely tell him, as I have done in previous years, that some presents are from mummy and some are from Santa.

At the end of the day it’s ok for me to have my high principles about these matters and in all my adult, so called wisdom have a point to prove, but with having a very close family, all who celebrate Christmas and allow their children to believe in Santa, (and one of my son’s cousins is two weeks younger than him) ...I think it would be wiser of me to embrace the magic whilst he still believes the impossible can happen, to a limited extent and hope that as he grows older the magic of Santa and the magic of mummy are replaced by other equally awesome entities and dreams?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I only bought toys for my children at Christmas and birthdays, and tended to focus on going deep rather than broad, selecting toys that had lots of play potential, like balls, good baby dolls, legos, kitchen sets, etc. rather than “commercialized” toys with limited play potential.

At the end of the day, children amuse themselves the most with cardboard boxes and a sheet over the dining room table, or playing with a ball, or creating something.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I think everyone can be Santa this year! Find out if your town has a Winter Wishes -type program and see if you can’t give a child who would otherwise have a sad holiday something to brighten his or her spirits. I know for my org, no one even has to go over $40.

mattbrowne's avatar

In many European countries it’s actually the

bringing the gifts. Not Santa Claus.

We told our kids till they were about 6 or 7. It’s a wonderful element of early childhood magic and if you are a Christian believer it’s definitely not a lie. The reason for this? Well, the Christkind represents Jesus when he was born. We celebrate Christmas because he was born. So symbolically he’s the reason for this particular tradition of gift giving. In Christian theology charity, or love, means an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others. Jesus embodies this concept and gift giving is certainly one way of showing love.

Even if you are an atheist you could still use the Santa Claus symbol, because he’s actually a real historial figure: Nicholas of Myra, a saint and Bishop of Myra (part of modern-day Turkey). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving.

So his idea of secret gift giving turned into a traditions that children really enjoy. Why take away the magic when they are very young? As they grow older they can contemplate the meanings of philosophy and religions and make their own (educated) choices. Why tell kids Harry Potter is really all fake and there’s no such thing as magic. Well, there is magic in a fantasy world and kids can tell the difference.

nebule's avatar

@mattbrowne as ever…loving your perspective

doggywuv's avatar


Human culture is not based on consumption. Consumption of goods and services may be a more, but it is not the basis of any human culture.

America is a rich nation, which allows many of its citizens to bask in luxury, but that doesn’t make them obsessed with economic consumption. It doesn’t mean that economic consumption is the key pillar of their behavior patterns.

They consume more than needed for their survival because their environment allows them to do so, not because luxury is natural for them. No matter how much an American may spend on buying Christmas presents, having their garden tended, or buying new clothes, it does not make them naturally inclined to behave in a way based chiefly on economic consumption, but environmentally conditioned.

A person obsessed with economic consumption has psychological problems and they are not a healthy, normal representation of the culture that they pertain to. A species consisting of such people (but healthy) isn’t something that would come about naturally (from natural selection), but maybe it would by artificial selection.

Companies have an economic opportunity during the holidays to boost their revenue because during that ’cultural season’ (or whatever it’s called) people are more malleable because they’re obliged to shop and are festively emotional. The Santa Claus myth isn’t the chief contributor to holiday economic consumption, but the holiday itself is.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I don’t see the necessity of telling them anything.

They’ll find out soon enough anyway.

Sunny2's avatar

In bringing up our kids, we always answered questions as truthfully as we could. We figured that if they knew enough to ask; they were old enough for the answer. When it came to Christmas gifts, Santa Claus brought them until they asked. Then we said that Santa didn’t really exist, but he was the spirit of Christmas. We got gifts for each other to celebrate Christmas. When the younger of the two kids grew up, she told us she hadn’t believed us. She KNEW Santa Claus was real! Now THERE’S a skeptic!

CaptainHarley's avatar

We neither encouraged nor discouraged our chidlren to believe in Santa Claus. When the subject came up, we asked them what they believed and then talked with them about it, mostly letting them decide for themselves. Eventually, at about 7 or 8, they decided he was just a nice fairy tale. : )

The older ones took their cue from us and neither encouraged nor discouraged the others from believing. It seemed to work out ok.

GiantKyojin's avatar

99.54% of the population of Japan is not Christian, but some Japanese people copy Occidental ways. I have never observed Christmas, and my lover has not either, so we will never give Christmas gifts to any children we may have. We certainly would not tell them lies about Santa Claus. That is senseless. The Bible indicates fictional Jesus was born in summer, but early Christians took over the Roman saturnalia and re-named it Christmas.

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