Even before we had kids, we decided Santa wasn’t going to be a thing in our house, not in a traditional way. We both didn’t like the idea of lying to our kids, but I personally also hated how hurt I felt when I found out Santa wasn’t real. I can still remember the exact day, the entire scenario that played out, and how crushed I was. Although we’ve decided not to celebrate Santa like most people, I do still embrace the season and the magic. I’ve found ways to still celebrate, like taking the kids to see him, even if they know he isn’t real.
The major reason I was on board not to pretend that Santa is real is because I really was devastated when I found out he wasn’t real. I was in the third grade, it was summer time, and I was at my neighbor friend’s house. I don’t know how Santa got brought up, but for some reason we started talking about him. They laughed at me because I still believed in him, so I ran home and talked to my mom about it.
I think my mom was in shock by my direct question about Santa, in the middle of the summer, that she lied and said, “of course he is real.” Or something to that affect. So then I ran back to my friends’ house and told them my mom said Santa is real, which just made it worse. They teased me and told me my mom was lying to me. I ran home again, and she then confirmed the truth. Santa isn’t real. I was crushed. I cried and cried. It probably wasn’t just the fact that Santa wasn’t real, it was probably the fact that my mom lied to me.
But here’s the thing, I totally get why she lied to me. I can SEE the magic in my kids’ eyes when they talk about Santa. They know he isn’t real, we’ve told them he isn’t real, but they still wish he was. Just this morning, my son said he wished Santa was real so he could do all of the magic. A few weeks ago, he told me he wished Santa was real because he wanted Santa to do all of my work for me so I wouldn’t have to work so much. My sweet boy, always thinking about everyone else.
So I totally get why parents carry on the Santa tradition. It really is magical to watch your kids have that sense of wonder and joy. I get it. I really do. And there are moments when I am genuinely sad that we don’t celebrate Santa like everyone else does. Because it was magical as a kid, it was so fun to get all excited to go to sleep to see what Santa would bring the next morning. Those 4-5 years when I believed in Santa really were magical.
But what about lying to our kids? Did you feel upset when you found out? I know a lot of people who just figured it out on their own. They weren’t at all traumatized like I was. So for those people, I can completely understand why they would carry on the Santa tradition. But for people like me, who felt crushed and so hurt, is it worth it to potentially put your kids through that? For what? Is this cultural tradition important or is it just consumerism hidden behind a beard? Honestly, I’m not sure I have an answer, but it’s something I’ve been grappling with a lot this holiday season.
So how about you? Do you celebrate Santa in a traditional way? How do you feel about the fact that we don’t celebrate Santa like everyone else?