Confessions / Society & Culture

CONFESSION: I Won’t Tell My Kids About Santa – Am I a Grinch?

I have never understood why people teach their kids about Santa Claus.  If and when (probably when) I decide to have children, I will not be bringing them up with Santa as a part of their Christmas traditions.

Sure, I believed when I was little, but finding out the truth really didn’t change Christmas for me.  We still went to church on Christmas Eve, we still spent time with all our family, and we still volunteered during the holiday season.  Presents didn’t hurt, either.

I know a lot of parents probably feel very strongly about their decision to include Santa Claus in their children’s Christmas traditions, and I think that’s fine.  It’s a personal choice.  I feel the same way about this as I do about the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.  Why do we feel the need to attribute something fun and wonderful to a mythical being?  You could be racking up so many awesome parent points if you’re just like… it’s me!  I do all of this to make you happy.

Seeing Santa at the mall always creeped me out.  In what other context would you wait in line so that your child can sit in a complete stranger’s lap and then get a picture of it?  Nothing about this seems abnormal to anyone else?  And why is it holidays around the life of Jesus (Christmas, Easter) that invite a magic being to bring presents and candy to children?

Keeping the Jesus in Christmas, that I get.  The life of Jesus, whether you’re a Christian or not, provides an opportunity to teach children things that Jesus stood for – being kind to others, helping those less fortunate than yourself, and in general just being a good person.  Santa doesn’t impart any of these lessons, except to say “be nice and not naughty… if you want presents.”  Not exactly the same message.

For me, I don’t ever want to teach my kids that Santa is real.  If they end up in public school, I’ll do my best to explain why other kids believe in Santa and tell them not to “spoil the secret,” but the whole process seems a bit preposterous to me.  I don’t really know what is served by letting kids believe in Santa.  Maybe the fun and magic is enough to convince some people, but to me it just feels like pointless lying.

In my opinion, Christmas doesn’t lose any of its magic without Santa.  Christmas is still one of my favorite holidays, and I’m 26 years old.  Having a break from work, spending quality time with family, presents, great food and drink – that’s enough for me.  Why then, do we need to have our kids believe in someone that doesn’t exist who brings them presents once a year for the first 8-10 years of their life?  I just don’t get it.  Maybe I’m a Grinch.

Feel free to share your perspective in the comments.  Will you/do you teach your kids about Santa?  Is it important to you?  Why or why not?  What other traditions do you have around the Christmas holiday?

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