Childrearing

I Can’t Believe You Think Your Kids Really Care Who Brings Them All Those Presents On Christmas

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shutterstock_167374007I’m getting tired of talking about “do you Santa or not?” (ok, that’s a lie, I love debating any point to death) because I really don’t think it makes much of a difference.  Some kids are tormented when they find out, some kids don’t care. In any event there’s no way to know at the time you have to make a decision, so you go with your gut as a parent and go with it.

I personally have chosen not to perpetuate the idea that a large old man in a red suit exists.  It certainly doesn’t affect the holiday for us.  My kids are still overjoyed at the snow on the ground here, they swoon at our tree daily and we sing all sorts of Christmas songs (yes, including Santa Claus is coming to town — do you have to be so literal?).  I still try to pry what toys they want most out of them, I make a hidden pile in Target for my husband to find and buy while we’re picking out cereal, and I wrap their presents special just for them. I still share in their excitement over Christmas coming and I cherish the look on their faces when they see the presents on Christmas morning. I do everything Santa Moms do, except all the answers to my questions involve one answer, “Santa’s not a real person.”

But the truth is, I really don’t care if you tell your kids about Santa or not.  You know who cares even less?  Your kids.  All they really care about is going to bed one night and the next morning waking up at some unholy hour and seeing PRETTY PRETTY PRESENTS under the tree.  I’m pretty sure they would be just as excited if you told them an Ewok brought them.

That’s why the decisions of this Babble blogger confuse me to no end.

My girls are 10 and 8, and trust me when I tell you it hasn’t been easy pulling off the mother of all lies magical ruse these past few years. There have been questions. (“But how does Santa get all the way around the world in a single night?” they want to know, a question deftly deflected with a simple word on my part: “Magic!”) There have been doubts. (“If this sweater is from Santa, why does it have a Macy’s tag on it?” they demand. “Santa makes deals with all of the stores in case people need to exchange things,” I trill.)

There have been hilarious moments of confusion. (When “Santa” dropped into a friend’s holiday party the day after we’d visited him at the mall and he asked my then 7-year-old what she wanted for Christmas, she looked at him like he was mad and replied, “I just told you yesterday!”)

I don’t know what age most kids find out that Santa doesn’t exist, but it seems an eight-year-old and ten-year-old could handle knowing that their family buys their presents.  I don’t see how that would rob them of Christmas spirit.  I don’t understand what she would lose if she didn’t go to such lengths to continue their belief in Santa.  But maybe I just don’t get Santa.  I don’t remember actually believing in him even though I’ve thought it was the most magical holiday for my entire life.  To me the two — Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas — don’t go hand in hand.

When we’re talking about young children, I really don’t think it’s “lying” if you let your kids believe.  But this extent?  This is just something I can’t get my head around.

(photo: Sonet/Shutterstock)