Christmas is a magical time of year for many reasons and I truly love the holiday spirit. However, I’ve been thinking lately about how I’ll celebrate with my own family when I have one in the future and I’ve decided that I won’t let my kids believe in Santa Claus.
There are better uses for kids’ imaginations. I’ll absolutely encourage my kids to dream big and use their imaginations without limits, but I don’t think Santa needs to be part of that. I see kids get so consumed with the idea of Father Christmas creeping into their houses in the middle of the night every Christmas Eve and while there’s no real harm in it, I’d rather my kids but their creativity to better use.
What happens when they find out Santa’s not real? I don’t really remember how or when I found out, but my best friend recalls vividly the heartbreaking moment when a classmate told her Santa wasn’t real. She was 11 years old and burst into tears, devastated that something she believed in so hard was fake all along. Why put kids through unnecessary pain and confusion? It just seems cruel.
I don’t want to betray their trust or make them think I’m a liar. When they inevitably find out that Santa’s not real, what will they think of me? If I let them believe and even actively encouraged that belief for years, I’d be seen as a liar and someone they couldn’t trust. Yeah, they’d get over it eventually, but I don’t want to go through that.
Why should they believe some random guy buys them presents? I plan to teach my kids the value of hard work and concepts like goodness and kindness, and that’s kind of hard to do when they believe that some random fat guy is bringing them presents every year just for being “good.” Not only is it kind of creepy to perpetuate the idea that a stranger is watching them all year to make sure they’re not being naughty, I’d rather they know that their parents are working hard to get them things they like and that they are well-behaved because they were taught to be, not because they think they’ll get presents for it.
Kids aren’t stupid—they figure this stuff out. A friend of mine continued to insist that Santa was real well past the time when her kids stopped believing in him. Her son knew she was BSing and kinda thought she was lame for not giving up the game and admitting that she’d been pretending to be Santa all along. Not that coolness is what I care about when it comes to my future kids, but again, it just seems an unnecessary farce.
We’ll still celebrate Christmas and the character of Santa Claus. I’m not saying I hate Santa Claus – I think he’s a fun character like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy and I’m happy to acknowledge him as the fictional character he is. My kids will know about Santa, but I think I’ll paint him more as a Christmas mascot than a real person.
Of course, I might change my mind when it comes down to it. I grew up believing in Santa and it didn’t do me any harm, so I’m not 100% against the idea of my kids believing in him. I realize it’s all well and good to say that I plan to nip the whole Santa thing in the bud before I have kids, but I’m sure I’ll be OK if they end up wanting to put cookies out on Christmas Eve in the future.
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