Husband vs Wife: I Want to Share Santa but He Doesn’t

BY: - 20 Dec '12 | Home

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I honestly had to go down the list and call my siblings to ask them what exactly we believed, or what was taught to us when we were growing up. So that just goes to show that I grew up a lot differently than the people that I went to school with at the time. Now, I will say that being a first generation American had a lot to do with this. While my parents didn’t necessarily believe in the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, they tried to incorporate it into our childhoods as much as possible just so we could “fit in”. But there would be a slight disconnect because while all of my classmates were getting the latest toys, shoes & clothes from “Santa”, we’d be lucky to get a new shirt or sweater. And I just knew I was way nicer than some of those other naughty kids. Knew it. So in talking to my sister, she reminded me that we gradually just started putting two and two together and realized that there really was no Santa. No one sat down with us to explain the ugly truth. My sister specifically remembers leaving him a note on the window sill and it still being there when she woke up the next morning. Now that might be because she left it on the window sill and not on the kitchen table with milk and cookies…I don’t know.

I always knew that when I had children, I wanted to be able to make all of these holidays extra special for them.  And, that meant allowing them to believe in all of these magical characters. I wanted to be that mom that put together Easter baskets from the Easter bunny, slipped dollar bills under my sleeping children’s heads, and most certainly, stayed up late wrapping all of the gifts from Santa for them to see when they woke up on Christmas day. So the thought of my husband not being on board never even crossed my mind. His take was that we don’t want our children to lie to us, yet we lie to them all the time…most of the time with a smile on our face and joy in our hearts.  But when he initially tried to explain his point of view to me, my heart was as broken as that little child who just found out that Santa was a fake. My initial thought was, why would anyone want to rob a child of believing in something as harmless as Santa Claus? Or is it really harmless?

Now that I have three young children of my own (ages one, three and five), I’m in serious panic mode right now. On one hand, I love being that mom (and my husband is on board only because I was so passionate about it). On the other hand, when and how am I going to have that conversation with my kids to tell them that it has all been a lie? What if they hear it first from someone other than me? Or, what if I just slip up (which I almost did a couple of times with the Tooth Fairy), and they figure it out on their own? I read a funny cartoon on Facebook recently. It was a picture of a little boy and the caption said: “My mother accused me of lying today. I looked at her and said, ‘Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy & Santa Claus’…and walked away”. I don’t know if I want to be on that side of the fence with my kids. Do I really want to give them something to believe in that is a lie? The jury is still out on this one. But in the meantime, my kids are looking forward to Santa coming to town.

BMWK: What are your thoughts? Do your kids believe in Santa Claus? Why or why not? 

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 99 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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23 WordPress comments on “Husband vs Wife: I Want to Share Santa but He Doesn’t

  1. Mrs.B

    My grandmother explained Santa to me in the most wonderful way and it the very reason I still believe. My grandmother told me that Santa was the spirit of giving and as long as you believe in the spirit of giving there is a Santa Claus. As a mom I cherish the joy and the innocents of believing in the magical things that children get to believe in. And I enjoy being Santa’s helper. My daughter told me yesterday that a young boy in her class doesn’t believe in Santa and I told her that it was okay for him not to believe. Different people believe in different things, there are people who do not believe in God but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. And she was satisfied with that answer. And when the time comes for me to explain Santa I will tell her the same as my grandmother told me. But for the time being I hope she believes as long as possible. Childhood is a beautiful thing and I want to continue to enjoy it with her. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

    Reply
    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      Hi Mrs. B, I really like how your grandmother explained Santa Claus to you so thanks for sharing! I may have to adopt that version in my own household :) Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

      Reply
  2. Drea

    My son is 11 and he stopped believing in Santa a few years ago. It wasn’t due to any prompting from me (or my then husband). As I was walking him to school one morning he told me that “it didn’t make sense” that one man could fly all over the world in one night. So instead of trying to conjure up some story I just agreed with him and said, “you’re right”. He isn’t scarred or traumatized and he doesn’t feel cheated. In fact, my son likes knowing who got him what–I think it’s so he can be EXTRA nice to whomever got him something he wanted to get an even better gift next go round, lol. I have had to stop him, however, from bursting the Santa bubble for other kids his age. I just don’t feel like he should steal their innocence…they will learn in their own time just as he did.

    Reply
    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      Hi Drea, I am definitely LOL at him being extra nice to those people that got him a gift :) I completely agree about not stealing another child’s innocence regardless of what our own children believe. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Very interesting, my daughter is 4, and to keep her innocence, she does know “about” Santa, but it’s in the same sense as every other fairy tale. She knows that mommy and daddy buy her gifts, not Santa. She still enjoys the whimsy of it all.

        Reply
  3. T. Espi

    My kids believe in Santa and I’m glad they do. I don’t consider it lying to them. Most of us grew up believing in Santa or the tooth fair etc and we are no worse off for it. Children should be able to hold on to innocence, magic and whimsy for as long as they can. This world is an ugly place and maybe if we allowed a little more childlike fun into our lives we’d all be better off.

    Reply
  4. Nicole Antunes

    I think we should teach our children the ” true” meaning of Christmas. As a christian I am going to teach my child that a child was born on this day who was brought forth to be our Lord and Savior. Everything else is created by us as a fantasy make believe version of why we celebrate the holiday and thats when things get complicated and children get confused and upset because of the lie.

    Reply
    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      Thanks for sharing Nicole. My children have always known who Jesus Christ is and why we celebrate Christmas (well the little one doesn’t necessarily understand yet Lol). So this article was more about the “magic” of Santa Claus (& other fairy tales) and not whether or not we teach our kids about “the reason for the season”. I guess I’m also wondering if it’s any different than taking our kids to Disney World to see all of the fictional characters they see in the movies? My kids aren’t quite old enough to go and appreciate it, but I’d imagine most parents take their kids because they know how excited they will be. The kids see those characters as “real” when they meet them.

      Reply
  5. Jason

    I grew up knowing that my parents worked hard for what they gave me and I appreciated them even more for it. I was never told Santa Claus did a thing for me (the first time I heard of him was in kindergarten) and I suspect I’m better adjusted to life than many of my friends, despite being “robbed” of a belief in Santa. We put our fallen out teeth in a little “#1 Dad” thing we gave my dad and HE gave us a dollar for them. My mom picked us up early from school and treated us to a day out when we had Easter egg hunts at school. I KNEW what was going on, and never felt left out or like i was missing a thing. My parents cared about me and showed it, no mystical characters necessary. My kids will get presents before or after Christmas and be no worse for the wear, and our hard earned and saved dollars will go just that much farther.

    Reply
  6. Nicole Antunes

    I totally respect differences in opinions and beliefs and although we may not agree with each other it is refreshing to not be attacked when mine is given. My upbringing was more like Jason’s. My parents exposed me to all types of fiction and non fictional characters without misleading me with false belief in non existent characters and I was still able to enjoy the experience of the holidays.

    Reply
  7. Cheryl

    I am also first generation american, so my parents learned about Santa when my brother started school. They started signing the gifts “Santa” when I was about 6, and they still do :) I was not really pushing the idea of Santa with my girls, but they seem to be full on believers this year. I will go along with it for now, they are so little, and it is so much fun. I don’t think it is lying, I think it is pretty harmless. My girls understand that we work, although I don’t think they are old enough to appreciate what hard work for a grown up is. All of those lessons will be in due time.

    Reply
  8. Denise

    I was brought up with the whole Santa thing until the year my parents were robbed at gunpoint and Santa couldn’t deliver… my parents were forced to explain to us why Santa wasn’t coming to our house. As a result, I’ve steered my kids away from the fantasy and make Christmas time more about giving than receiving. We donate food, toys for foster children and participate in service projects that will benefit the less fortunate. Above all else, we spend time enjoying each other and our extended family. My kids are well adjusted, civic minded, charitable and all around good kids.

    Reply
    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      I’m so sorry to hear that happened to your parents Denise. I can definitely understand your position of wanting to steer your kids away from that whole concept. I’m really looking forward to doing more community service when the kids are a little older because that is truly a big part of the season. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  9. Rani

    OK. Before I read any of these comments, I’ll respond (don’t want to forget what I have to say…). : -) Right now, I have a 16-month-old daughter. Her first year, we didn’t have a tree. Honestly, I was a new mother and didn’t think she’d miss it. LOL. This year, we have a small tree on the counter – because she’d demolish the ornaments if it were on the floor.
    I bought the tree this year because like you, I wanted to be THAT mom. I KNOW all full and well WHY we celebrate this season, Christmas Day, etc – for none other than the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For me, the tree, it’s decoration like lights, wreaths, etc, are. It’s NOT the reason for the season.
    From birth to about 6 years old, I had the perfect Christmas. Once my parents divorced, things changed. My mother’s views changed drastically from my father’s. Up until the age of 17-18, my father was still signing his gifts, “From, Santa.” My mother on the other hand, stopped getting a Christmas tree when I was about 9 years old. Naturally, I preferred spending Xmas with my father who lived several states away by this time.
    So … as you can imagine … I decided I was NOT going to do this to my kids. After explaining this story to my husband, who’s a lot like your husband, Christine, he got it and understood.

    Reply
  10. Camie

    I have 3 children and they all believe(d) in santa to some degree at some point. I do not consider it lying to them it is more like a game. I tell my daughters that you just have to believe. My kids also attend church and they are also aware that this time is the birth of chirst too. My oldest is 11 and it has never caused us a problem. My oldest knows that the tooth fairy does not exist but she still keeps up the whole game for her siblings. I was raised the same way. I think it is good for a child to have that dream and fairy tale. I Never made santa an Idol. (In fact as a child the people I looked up to most were my parents.) I have fond memory of leaving milk and cookies out for santa. And I still enjoy doing it with the kids. The last one right now is 7 and I plan to continue keep this whole thing up with Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and The 3 kings etc.

    Reply
    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      Thanks for sharing Camie, I appreciate it. I asked my 5-yr-old why we celebrate Christmas, and his response was “because it’s the birth of Jesus Christ”. So I know he understands that, but boy does he and his sister get excited about the thought of Santa! LOL

      Reply
  11. Sarah McKim

    My siblings and I all believed in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc. when we were little and aren’t scarred by hearing the truth. Nor do we think our parents lied to us. These things all teach children to believe in things they cannot see.

    I’m a nanny and had 3 new kiddos (from the same family, ages 9, 7 and 4) for the first time the other night. It was explained to them the same way Mrs.B’s grandmother explained it to her. The 7 year old told me the exactly same thing, in fact. That Santa isn’t real, but he’s a spirit of giving and joy and that he still believes in Santa even though he isn’t real.

    Reply
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  13. Mary

    WOW! You all survived Christmas with all the “To Santa or not to Santa”! Definitely appreciate the difficulty of having our little ones maintain their innocence and giving them something to believe in that gives them joy…interestingly Santa was derived from the real St. Nicholas who had a true spirit of giving and selflessness as he strived to imitate the Giver of all perfect gifts…there’s a challenge for next year, combining the Santa story with that so that it will keep the children’s innocence and joy but tie in the real reason for the season while teaching them about the beauty of giving and selflessnes. Good luck and I will be waiting for that post Chrissy :-)

    Reply
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