The holiday season is a magical time for people of all ages. Children are especially caught up in the spirit and the Christmas legend of Santa Clause is a big reason why. It's a captivating tale of a jolly old grandpa. There are magic elves, flying reindeer, and of course, lots of toys. Many families look forward to telling their children the stories of old Saint Nick.
It's a tradition that defines Christmas for many around the world. Some families find the idea of fairytales and myths uncomfortable. They prefer not to lie to their children about the existence of supernatural deer or old men who slide down chimneys. There's no wrong way to go. It's just a matter of what works for your family and parenting style. Read on to see arguments in favor of both sides of the discussion.
10 Santa: It's Fun
Of all the reasons to keep the Santa myth alive with your children, this one is the most straightforward. It is fun. Watching a child's eyes light up as they listen for reindeer hooves on the roof is precious. Their little letters to Santa become treasured keepsakes. There is no shortage of Santa related movies, books, songs, and tv shows to share with your little one too.
Your child will recognize the figure in nearly every holiday display they encounter. Many families look forward to yearly pictures with Santa. If your family enjoys these aspects of the holiday, there's nothing wrong with indulging in them. Many children have grown up believing in Santa with no resentment for the lie later in life.
9 Secular: True Meaning of Christmas
Many families choose to celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday without any of the popular religious or supernatural themes. No matter which side of the Santa debate you fall on, there are some universal beliefs about Christmas that we all share. Almost everyone agrees that at its core, Christmas is about spending time with your family.
It's about showing love and generosity to all people. If your family wants to focus exclusively on the ethics of the holiday, Santa may distract from that. It's possible to use the myth to support those values too but each family is unique. Your approach to Christmas should feel right for you.
8 Santa: Pass Down Traditions
Some families adore passing down traditions. For many parents, there is great joy in watching their children relive moments from their own childhood. That nostalgia and sense of history can bring a lot of happiness to a family. There's nothing wrong with wanting to give your children the best part of your childhood.
You may have dreamt of being a parent since you were young and imagined participating in Santa-related activities A baby's first picture with Santa is a milestone in some families. Your child's first letter to Santa may be something you've looked forward to reading for years. These traditions are a lot of fun and create lifelong memories for the whole family.
7 Secular: Lying Isn't Nice
Many parents struggle to reconcile their own values and the practice of telling children tall tales. As a responsible parent, you've probably tried to teach your child that lying isn't nice. You've encouraged and modeled honesty their whole lives. For some parents, "fun" lies like Santa or the Tooth Fairy easily fall outside of those parameters; however, many feel quite the opposite.
If this feels too much like lying, then there is no reason to jump on the Santa train. If you prefer honesty, by all means, be honest. You can even enjoy stories of Santa and traditions surrounding him while openly discussing that it's just a myth. There's no rule that says a child must literally believe in Santa in order to pretend he's coming for his cookies on Christmas Eve. Find a balance that's right for you.
6 Santa: Share History
The myth of Santa is nothing new. The legends are based on the Turkish Saint Nicholas. Old Saint Nick was believed to be born around 208 AD making him and his stories 1,748 years old. The traditions that surround the Santa myth are steeped in history too. Many cultures have added to the myths and traditions.
If you love discussing where and when a myth or tradition came from, then Santa is a great topic to mention. You can share this history with your little one and point out all of the ways Santa has changed to evolve with the times. There's no reason a family can't discuss these same topics in a secular way as well.
5 Secular: Gift Expectations
As our culture becomes more and more self-aware and thoughtful, some concerns have arisen about the expectations some parents set with gifts from Santa. Every family has a different budget. When parents buy expensive presents for their kiddos and claim they're from Santa, they leave kids who received more modest gifts wondering why there was a disparity.
It's much easier to explain to a child that every family has a different financial situation than it is to explain why Santa brought their classmate something extravagant while they received something more modest.
4 Santa: Modeling Generosity
Santa is a wonderful role model for many reasons. Above all, he's generous. He makes toys for any child who asks. All he wants in return is a sweet snack and the promise of nice behavior. It sounds like a pretty great deal right?
Santa Claus is a great example of kindness, goodwill toward men, and the giving spirit. You may feel drawn to the character for those reasons. Children emulate characters, their favorite characters, even the fictional ones.
3 Secular: Inappropriate Discipline
Many families use the holiday season to extort good behavior from their kids. Many children are told that if they're naughty all they'll get from ole Saint Nick is a lump of coal. That part of the myth has fallen off in popularity as modern parenting becomes more and more gentle.
The more contemporary tactic is to use Santa's little spies such as little elves who make sure kids are being nice before the big day. This comes across as manipulative and unfair. It's a perfectly valid part of the Santa tradition to take issue with. Many families eschew it all together but still enjoy other aspects of the legend.
2 Santa: Go With The Flow
It can be extremely difficult to raise your child knowing the truth about Santa. When the holidays roll around, your child may be spending time with lots of other kids who believe in Santa.
It could be really difficult if your little one were to share the truth with others. They could end up upsetting their entire class. If you'd rather just go with the flow of what most people in your community are doing, go for it.
1 Secular: Trust
The trust between children and their families is an essential bond. Without it, many aspects of their development are adversely affected. Some parents worry that teaching their children to believe in Santa could harm that trust later on. Every child will eventually come to realize that Santa is just a myth.
Many parents worry that their children will feel betrayed once this secret is out. Plenty of adults are thankful for the years of magic that Santa brought them. Some were upset when the news was first broken. Every child is different. If you don't want to take the chance, you can always enjoy the holidays without hiding the truth.