Two years ago, when I was just a few months into the blogging world, I wrote a blog post about why we don’t pretend that Santa is real with our kids. It’s my most read and shared post of all of my blogging career.
So this Christmas, I thought that I would do a follow-up post. But this time, I would like to let you in on some insights that I have learned from letting my kids in on the secret of Santa.
I would love for this to go without saying, but I feel that I should remind you all that the fact that we don’t “do” Santa does not mean that I judge or look down on anyone who does.
Lesson One – People disagree
Because we choose to swim upstream in many areas of our lives, especially parenting, we run into a lot of people who disagree with us. But what has been interesting to note is that our decision to skip the part about Santa being real is probably the most vocally opposed decision, with homeschooling close in second. For the most part, everyone is pretty kind in their disagreement, but quite a few have been…less than sweet.
I’m not sure what it is about a fake man in a red velvet suit that gets everyone so worked up, but it does. Ty and I have gotten very good at absorbing those opinions and comments. We have made this decision for our family, and we are happy with it.
It helps for us to know WHY we made the choice that we did. When we know that we agree on the desired outcomes, attitudes, and lessons to be learned for our kids, we can stand together confidently no matter who has anything to say (or how rude or passive aggressive).
Lesson Two – Santa is a fun way to give anonymously
When you want to give someone something without recognition, Santa is a good person to “blame.” It makes giving around Christmas pretty fun. When you hear it’s from “Santa”, you know it’s really from some good-willed person who just wanted to bless you. What a good feeling! I love having Santa for this purpose, for sure!
If Santa was really real, I think he’d be the happiest person alive – he’d just get to give recklessly, with total abandon! Forget budgets, forget restrictions! He has elves! Santa wouldn’t be a bad gig at all.
Lesson Three – Not doing Santa can be freeing
I really enjoy not having to stress about which presents are from us and which are from Santa. I’ve talked recently with a few parents who have gotten overwhelmed by the fact that they’ve painted themselves into a corner with Santa.
The whole idea about Santa is that you’re supposed to ask for something and then Santa pretty much can do anything, so of course he’d bring it to you. Well, that’s easier said than done when you have multiple children who want the new latest and greatest (and expensivest! – yes, I made it up) of anything.
And on top of that, then the parents are supposed to get them things, too! The parents I was talking to all said that this year they are getting the big presents for the kids and Santa will be getting their kids the smaller presents – they’re tired of Santa getting all the credit.
Also, there was another mom that I talked to last year who mentioned that she gets so frustrated with other parents who buy their kids the large, expensive presents from Santa. What is she, a single mom on a very limited income, supposed to do to compete with that? She can’t. So then Santa “discriminates” by default.
During the Christmas season at my house, we hear a lot of “I want.” And very often, we tell our kids that they won’t be receiving whatever it is they’re requesting. This can be either because it’s not a wise use of our money, it’s something we’d rather our kids not have, or it’s something we know they won’t use.
It’s freeing for me to be able to answer on our own behalf, and not half to make up some story about why Santa probably won’t bring it to our kids, but most likely will bring it to their friends.
Lesson Four – My kids CAN keep a secret
Honestly, my biggest fear about not doing Santa with our kids was that we’d be the ones to blow it for some other family. I was sure that my kids would be at school or church and let it slip.
I was really intentional about explaining that most of the other kids they know believe that Santa is real, and it would be so sad for them to find out he isn’t. I told them to pretend like he was with other kids. We discussed that if an adult asked them what they wanted from Santa, they could just answer with something that they wanted, rather than explain that they know the deal.
You guys, my kids have been amazing with this – I have been so surprised! What has also been fun is after they’ve kept up the charade. They give me this proud, knowing look that they pulled it off. They love being in on the secret, and haven’t felt left out of Christmas festivities or excitement one bit.
Lesson Five – My kids still love Christmas
Some of the most frequent objections we hear are, “But now Christmas won’t be exciting,” or, “Your kids are missing out!”
I have to keep myself from laughing in the face of someone who says that. You guys, we absolutely adore Christmas around here. My house is decked out in decorations. We have traditions, family, and lots of presents. I even love wrapping the presents.
My favorite things happen around Christmas. I have Christmas music on well before Thanksgiving, and I will watch just about any Christmas movie. We do multiple advent calendars and activities. We adopt families and children. Christmas Eve service at church is my favorite service of the year. We read the story of Jesus’ birth every Christmas morning, just like my parents used to do. Our tree, covered in hundreds of special ornaments (like half of them are Santa ornaments, thankyouverymuch) is one of my most treasured possessions.
Christmas fever is alive and well in our home. Our kids count the days just like everyone else’s kids. They just open presents that are all from their parents on Christmas morning instead. And they are just as thrilled as any other kid. Don’t you worry, my boys are doing just fine!
Bottom line: This is a special, magical time of year. No matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas, or any other holiday this season, I hope that it’s filled with love, laughter, and joy.
cover photo: Amanda