Thursday, October 21, 2010

Question of the Day

Another debate via the Army wives forum I'm part of.

Do you think letting your child believe in Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. is lying to them? Or going out of your way to perpetuate a lie?

I honestly do not understand this way of thinking. When I was small I believed in Santa. I left out cookies, I got special presents from him, I believed! It was such a fun time of my life and I look back on it fondly. I don't think back and become angry thinking that my parents lied to me that there was a Santa. In fact, I know that if I had asked my Mom if there was a Santa she would have told me the truth, but I didn't and so she didn't ruin it for me.



I feel like as a child that it's a very short period of time in your life where you have this endless imagination and can escape reality for awhile. Telling your child there is no Santa is in my opinion, ruining some of the fun and magic of childhood for your child. Let me clarify also, that growing up I was also told about the nativity at Christmas. It wasn't all Santa all the time for me.

Did you believe in Santa as a child? Will you let your children believe in Santa?

I'm really curious to see what others think about this. As always, keep it civil!

22 comments:

d.a.r. said...

You know, I have been back and forth on this issue over the years and now watching so many of my friends have babies. At first, I was all incensed about it--why on earth would you lie to your kids about anything?? Christmas is about the birth of Christ, not Santa! Then it was more well, I won't outright lie to them and tell them that Santa is real, but if they start picking up on it at school or daycare, then I will play along, but I certainly won't outright encourage it.

And now? Well, hell. Kids need something to believe in. They need hope and imagination. And I don't think you HAVE to exclude Santa in order to teach your children about the birth of Christ, or the Easter Bunny in order to focus on the resurrection. You can do both.

So, we will see. We were both raised in families that did the whole Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing and we ended up normal. I think :)

As always--good question! I'm interested to see what other people say!

annoyed army wife said...

We had all the childhood delusions around our house. And like you we also had the religious aspects of Christmas, where most of our attention was focused. You bet my kids are going to believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and probably a few more. You're right, there is precious little time in our lives for us to experience these beliefs.

Expat Girl said...

Childhood is a magical time where everything is right in the world and I for sure will be going along with every fantasy of Santa, Easter bunny and the tooth fairy with Baby Girl. I think it would be unjust to keep this from a child

LTarmywife said...

My husband and I go back and forth on this issue. I'm totally for the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa. My parents taught us about the death and resurrection of Christ as well as the birth of Christ, so we knew both sides of the story. Children cannot grasp the religious significance as well as they can the "fun" part of the holidays. I don't think it's "lying" to them - it's creating a magical world for them. It gives them something they can wrap their little minds around. When I found out those things didn't exist, I wasn't mad or upset - neither was my brother. I just focused on the religious aspect in the future.

aladyandhermechanic said...

I was definitely raised in a home that focused on the birth/resurrection of Christ, but I also believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy.

And seriously? Christmas has never been the same without that magic of Santa to believe in. I loved every single minute of it. I loved the anticipation of trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve so that Santa wouldn't skip our house. I miss waking up at 3 in the morning and sneaking out to see all the presents he had left and going to wake up my parents so we could open the presents. It was so much stinkin' fun. And you know what? I hear all these stories about kids hearing the truth and being traumatized and boo-hooing. I don't remember any of that. I think I just understood one day, and left it at that. I never cried, I never hated my parents for "lying" to me. I just grew out of it and that was that.

So, our kids will *definitely* be raised in a home that talks about both the true meaning of Christmas/Easter but that also encourages the fun/magical side of the holidays.

JG said...

I absolutely agree with you. We did Santa as kids, and it was fun. And my dad was a pastor - trust me, Jesus wasn't ignored at Christmas. SoldierMan and his family went off one day - in front of my parents - about how bad parents like them were for lying to their kids. I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose that one, because ultimately it's not something to fight over. Unless you're my in-laws. And then you're going to Hell.

JG said...

Oh, and I have a friend who is definitely opposed to Santa but does all things Disney. I keep wanting to say, "so when are you going to stop saying, 'We're going to go see Mickey Mouse!' and start saying, 'We're going to go see a guy in a costume!'?" It's exactly the same.

The Mrs. said...

My kids believe in Santa, now I don't think they'll be in high school believing but for now they do. There is only so long that they are innocent, the world is harsh enough, why ruin the little things?

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

I can't believe some people don't let their kids believe in Santa! I've never heard of someone not participating in that story. I guess people have their own opinions, but I don't think it's lying to kids. It's part of the childhood experience.

Michelle said...

My kids believe in Santa - actually the spirit and generosity of Saint Nicklaus in the form of a jolly old man who is all about surprises. They also believe in Befana, the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy. We teach them the religious significance of the holidays but we also encourage and nurture their innocence and belief in the magic of childhood.
One of the exciting parts of Christmas, Epiphany and Easter for me is seeing the pure joy and surprise on my kids faces when they dig into their goodies!

MooAtU2 said...

I'm on the same page you are. What great memories I had looking for Santa's sleigh, leaving cookies, and then my "investigation" on proving Santa wasn't real- including asking Santa for finger prints and his social security number!

But I also think it's important to learn the religious aspects as well, and know the true reasons to why we celebrate those holidays.

Alia said...

I think believing in Santa is important for children. They need to have their innocence for as long as possible. We do talk about Christmas being Jesus's birthday and thats why we get to celebrate with presents because of his birth. I think kids need things like that to believe in.

Jessica said...

We'll definitely be doing the whole Santa thing. And Easter Bunny and Toothfairy for that matter. Like everyone has said, it's such a magical time in their lives and I cannot wait to see the look on my son's face when he sees Santa at the mall or sees the note he has left thanking him for leaving some cookies out!
Most of us have all grown up believing in these things and I think we're all okay :)

Felicitas Linda said...

Lets play devils advocate and say it is "lying" to kids. But for petes sake, isn't there worse lies you could tell a child? Like "if you drop food on the ground the demons will eat it and put nightmares in your head" or "go to sleep or the coco will come and steal you" or whatever other ridiculous thing parents say to scare little kids striaght. Little kids are innocent and why not let them enjoy their innocence? At certain ages, everything is PFM (pure freakin magic). I mean, its possible to say no mija those things aren't real and stick with it. Although the kid is still probably secretly believe, just because they have hope or faith or just know everything is PFM anyways maybe it is in fact real. I mean, if and when I pop out some babies I'm going to support what ever they want to believe in. If they think Santa's real, cool beans. If they're imaginary friend tells them they should brush their teeth with a pink toothbrush, more power to them. Why? Cause they're kids. Let them have their fun for a bit. I'm not going to be like my mom and say "well santa isn't here. He isn't coming. He only comes to the houses of rich kids when their mommies n daddies are together. But since we're poor and alone Santa doesnt care about us. He isn't coming. So quit your crying and whining." Cause that's just cruel.

Paula said...

I love the idea of Santa. I never told my kids he didn't exist. Until the day the left home (and still as adults) we have "Santa" stockings and gifts.
When they did get a little older and I knew they knew... they would smart off and I'd say "if you don't believe, you don't receive" They stopped talking then.
I still want there to be a Santa.. I love the whole idea.

Southern Jane said...

I agree with you. I think that it's fun to believe in these things as a young child. I remember getting so excited and putting out cookies for Santa, then checking for crumbs on the plate the next morning! I couldn't imagine raising a child without that. I don't have kids yet, but we definitely will be in my house when it's time. :)

AbbeyG said...

I will most definitely be telling my children about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, along with the stories of Jesus and the 'Real reason for the Season'. I love the way my parents did it for me, so it's the way I want to do it for my kids. I remember when I got a little older and started questioning my mom about it, she told me that 'Whenever I stopped believing, that's when he stopped being real' and I thought that was very clever. Children are going to be full of imagination and fantasy worlds and I want nothing less for my children. It's important to have that as a child. That's why they are CHILDREN and not adults :) I really loved reading everyone's answer on here!

JMO said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with with letting your kids believe in Santa. When I was a child, I thought Santa was real and it was always such a special time putting out cookies, making my list etc. I think there's nothing wrong with it...

Dana said...

Yes, yes, yes to Santa, to the Easter Bunny, to the Tooth Fairy, to Befana, to all of those magical childhood moments. . . why the heck not?

Shoshanah said...

I'm Jewish so in a way it's not really an issue. However, my mom converted which means all of her family is Christian. It worked as a perk for me because I got to celebrate Christmas with my grandparents and aunt & uncle. But I never believed in Santa. I always knew it was my grandmother who filled my stocking, and the presents I received were always from family members.

But the tooth fairy I believed it. And remember being a little disappointed once I realized no longer believing in the tooth fairy meant I no longer received any money.

Becca said...

Hmmm...I guess I get to be the cruel, unjust one here.

No, my kids have never believed in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and we don't trick or treat. Of all the character traits I have worked to build in my children, honest and integrity are the most important. As a child, I was more than a little let down when my mom spilled the beans on the Santa thing.

I couldn't say to my kids "I will never lie to you and I expect you to never lie to me.", if I told them there's a fat guy in a red suit flying around the world leaving presents. Maybe someday they'll be bitter about not having the precious magic of that experience. They love Christmas and definitely have lots of fun with our traditions and they get plenty of gifts.

They get Easter baskets from us and money for lost teeth, but they know exactly where it comes from. They also have incredible imaginations and can enjoy all kinds of fantasy. When they were quite young it was tricky for them to understand they shouldn't bust the Santa bubble for other kids, but it was a good lesson about "some families do some things we don't and vice versa".

I think the catalyst for not doing any imaginary holiday figures happened the very first Christmas with the baby when my husband said he didn't want some pretend guy getting credit for the gifts the HE (my husband) picked out.

In the great scheme of things, it's a parenting choice, just like so many other issues. You do the best you can and hope it's right.