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to not want to perpetuate the Santa myth?

(220 Posts)
WriterofDreams Sun 14-Nov-10 11:21:07

I know this might seem totally weird, and I am completely open to being told IABU, so do your worst!

My first baby is on the way and DH and I have been talking about the whole Santa thing. We're both a little ambivalent about it. I hate hate hate lying to children as I was lied to a lot as a child, not necessarily in a nasty way, more in a dismissive, "none of your business" sort of way. It made a big impression on me. I was a very intelligent and horrendously serious child (I see that now) but the Santa thing was something that hacked me off big time. From about the age of 4 Santa stopped making sense to me and I bombarded my mum with questions which were responded to with lie after lie after lie.

I know she was trying to keep the "magic" alive for me but it was truly baffling to me as a child and really annoyed me. For example, I thought, if Santa can get around the world in one night, why does it take 24 hours to get to Australia? Why doesn't he sell his technology to people who are in disaster areas and help them rather than giving out plastic crap to children? All this got me was "because he's magic." That just didn't wash at all with me, and Santa actually became this scary figure who had huge power but wouldn't share it with anyone else. The whole elves and toy workshop thing just confused me more, as I was aware toys were made by toy companies who sold them for profit. Yes, I know, I was a ridiculous child.

I had hugely mixed feelings when I discovered Santa wasn't real. This happened when I was about 6 but I didn't let on as I thought I wouldn't get presents if I didn't pretend to believe (another negative thing). On the one hand I felt relieved he wasn't real because it answered all my questions. On the other hand I felt annoyed at my mum for not just telling me he wasn't real when it was clear I was so hung up about the whole thing (I realise now she was trying to protect my older sister, who still believed).

I just know I'm going to have a hard time pretending to my LO that Santa exists. I hate that perplexed look on children's faces when you can see they know you're lying but they're trying to believe because they trust you and don't think you could lie to them
At the same time I know that not having the Santa thing would mark him out as totally different from other kids and could make life really hard for him, particularly if he feels left out.

Any opinions?

Tortington Sun 14-Nov-10 11:27:43

ffs- really - that is too precious.

i have a friend who never did the santa thing - for religous reasons and i respect that.

i combined both my beliefs and what i beleive to be the magic of xmas.

i had magical times as a child when i thought santa existed, visiting his grotto, hearing sleigh bells, the anticipation, the questions and the inventive stories that my mum and my nan had to tell.

magic magic magic

if it's not religous - then i don't get it.

being lied to - is sinister, creating a fictional world where santa lives, where he makes his toys - with help, with magic, that is imagination.

werewolf Sun 14-Nov-10 11:27:59

Perhaps you'll have to play it by ear, when you see how your child is - what kind of personality he/she has, I mean?

I've done the whole Father Christmas thing with mine and they've had a great deal of pleasure out of it. As have I! blush

Itsjustafleshwound Sun 14-Nov-10 11:28:18

If you feel so strongly about it, then don't...

Personally, the children I know don't see the ruddy great holes that exist in our Father Christmas story, but I am loathe to disabuse them of the myth - be it the tooth mouse, Easter bunny or dummy fairy..

On a more general note, I don't have any problems lying to my kids about certain things - it is a means to avoid conversations about things I feel they are too young to fully understand and a way to get rid of habits like dummies at bedtime ...

JodiesMummy Sun 14-Nov-10 11:28:26

When your baby is here you will love the magic.

Oh, and there will be much more to think about when you actually have the babe [grins]

taintedpaint Sun 14-Nov-10 11:28:34

How do you feel about your parents and Father Christmas now? I think you would've been in a tiny minority with your views as a child, and the good of the Father Christmas story far outweighs the perceived bad, but I suppose everyone has different views on this. I think YABU to have read so much into this, and that is perhaps the thing that will ruin it for your DC. That's not meant to sound harsh btw, just that a certain level of suspended belief on the part of the parent is what makes Christmas magical for children.

Twilightfan1 Sun 14-Nov-10 11:29:20

Tough one. Certainly whilst he is a baby and young enough then let him believe, After all, there is nothing wrong with make believe as a child. If you tell him the truth from the start, he could end up upsetting a lot of other chidren if he tells them he doesn't exist, or, on the other hand, he could be picked on for not believing in him!

Just my opinion.

Flisspaps Sun 14-Nov-10 11:32:10

Despite understanding your misgivings I want to say YABU.

Just because that for you Santa wasn't magical doesn't mean that your DC would feel the same.

But if you don't feel that you can keep up the lie to your child, then don't. Other religions and cultures don't have Santa, and have managed perfectly well without him.

wukter Sun 14-Nov-10 11:32:11

YABU, writer, and I think deep down you know it.

I had all those questions too. Dad said Santa was only magic one day a year and he brought all children the one thing they really really wanted, be it baby annabelle or a big bag of rice. Sounds a bit crap now but he was put on the spot, and it satisfied me at the time.

You are overthinking it. The santa myth is a huge source of pleasure to all but a very very few children.

LadyintheRadiator Sun 14-Nov-10 11:33:17

You are giving this way too much thought. Address it in a couple of years maybe? It's a shame you see pretending as lying - I assume yours will be a fairy-tale free household as well?

I don't think you were a ridiculous child for being aware of toy companies etc, but there is knowing the truth and "knowing" isn't there? I pretended to believe for a few years after I realised the truth because it was good fun - which I 'm sure it would not have been if my mother (or whoever) kept going on about it all being bollocks.

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Nov-10 11:33:40

I think YABU to not give your DC the chance of FC making up a magical and happy part of her childhood.

Just because your parents made you feel like you do about it, your DC aren't necessarily going to experience the same.

Even though if you over thought it you're kind of telling them not to lie but then doing it yourself, the world is such a shitty place why not let them enjoy FC, it's a nice thing to do for them.

StrawberrySam Sun 14-Nov-10 11:33:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wukter Sun 14-Nov-10 11:35:21

I can't wait to perpetuate the Santa myth.

<wanders over to Christmas topic>

StrawberrySam Sun 14-Nov-10 11:36:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dockate Sun 14-Nov-10 11:38:57

We do the whole Father Christmas myth thing and my LOs love it. We don't overdo it (IMO - others may disagree), and it is just another part of the ritual and mystery and magic surrounding Christmas. I don't see anything sinister about it, and I absolutely adored it as a child. When I worked it out, aged 5 or 6 or so, I enjoyed the feeling of being let in on the adult world, but still loved all the ritual and kept it up with my little brother.

Still you have a little while to decide what works for you.

Flisspaps Sun 14-Nov-10 11:41:18

Surely Santa is the perfect foil for an atheist Christmas, if you don't believe in the mythical figures of Santa OR Jesus why bother celebrating at all?

What with it being a celebration of the birth of Christ and all.

wukter Sun 14-Nov-10 11:42:06

And then after enjoying all the fun and magic they are told it's not. Don't see the issue at all.
I fully expect to lie to my DC over the years. I will tell them I'm fine if I suffered an early m/c, for example. If someone we love dies in pain I will tell them the medicine means they can't feel it. Time enough to learn the truth about life. Young minds need to mature before they can take all the crap of life in. That's growing up.

WriterofDreams Sun 14-Nov-10 11:43:00

I'm not opposed to fairytales and suchlike, because it's clear that it's all just imagination. Even though I know I sound like a horrendous bore, I was a very imaginative child and in fact I wrote a fairy story style book when I was 8. I know I have ishoos in this area that's why I wanted to start this topic, to get other people's opinion on it without having to face the cat's bum face in real life

It's been something of an eye opener for me this year as I am teaching children of different faiths (whereas being from Ireland most children I came across were Catholic). They think the whole Christmas thing is weird and when one child mentioned Santa (as a legitimate response to something in a lesson) the others all laughed derisively. As a perpetual "outsider" on the whole Santa thing myself (despite my parents' best efforts) I could understand their reaction.

Something that really pisses me off too is parents using Santa as a threat. I don't know if it happens much here in the UK or if it's an Irish thing but I remember my mum saying "I'll ring Santa and tell him not to to come" when I was misbehaving and I've heard a lot of other parents say the same thing. All I was thinking as a child is "I fucking hate this Santa crap" because I knew he wasn't real and yet I had to go along with the threat. So you can see I don't have a good relationship with him at all.

Stricnine Sun 14-Nov-10 11:43:56

We've had great fun over the year with Santa stories and making the magic just a little bit mroe real.. when DD was young it was great fun and she really embraced it - but gradually as she grew up she began to realise it was all fiction and just for fun... still do it though and it's all part of the fun and imagination of childhood - some of her best memories are from thing we did around Christmas time..

You can't predict what your child will be like but to squash any playfulness surrounding Christmas and FC or whatever would be a real shame.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Sun 14-Nov-10 11:44:49

I have always said I wouldn't lie to the boys.
if they ask me if father Christmas is real I will answer them honestly.
I don't know what you feel about Christianity but I am assuming that if you aren't a Christian you won't be celebrating Christmas if you don't want to lie to your little ones

Flisspaps Sun 14-Nov-10 11:46:08

Then maybe this is the year to make amends wink

If your DC believes then let them, and perhaps you will share some of the magic with them.

And if they feel the same as you (and you'll be able to tell) then you can tell them what you want to tell them.

wukter Sun 14-Nov-10 11:46:37

It's not Santa's visit in itself though, it's not getting any presents you were threatened with.

FreudianSlimmery Sun 14-Nov-10 11:46:43

I'm with everyone else on this. I stopped believing in Santa at around 4 and it's just not a big deal to me - but despite temptation to just not bother, we have decided to do it but in a low key way. DD will pick up the idea at school and we have decided that the stocking will be from Santa (all the other presents are from us)

I have a feeling she isn't too bothered already aged 3.4, she did this face hmm when we told her about him!

Thing is you don't have to take the idea of Santa literally - DH sees it as 'the spirit of xmas and giving presents' rather than a fat bloke who comes down the chimney.

DoodlingPomBear Sun 14-Nov-10 11:47:45

It is entirely up to you as a parent, however are you not going to encourage imagination for other things? Don't get me wrong I am not having a go in any way but my dd 2.11, loves films about talking animals (obviously a lie), playing with plastic people and having conversations, loves the idea of father christmas and has been working on her xmas/bday list for about 3 months!

She loves books and has a vivid imagination and playing pretend.

Also, perhaps imagine yourself in a couple of years time, your dc says 'oh look, father christmas' and you reply with 'he doesn't exist/isn't real'. And then imagine the look on their face.

If I were you I would play it by ear, see how it goes and how your dc brings it up.

WriterofDreams Sun 14-Nov-10 11:50:31

I'm glad one other person feels the same StrawberrySam I don't want to be a huge wet blanket for my kids and I am a fun person (honest). In fact people always comment that kids love being around me and even my family, who are not prone to praise, have always said I have a natural way with children. I honestly think the reason for that is that I treat them with respect. I don't lie to them or talk down to them and they appreciate it. Children are so used to being dismissed and ignored that a little bit of fellow feeling goes a long way. I intend to be the same with my own children, but I just don't know if the whole Santa thing is taking it too far.

BTW my mum tried to introduce the whole tooth fairy/Easter Bunny thing into our house but I made it clear I was having none of it. I would hand her the tooth and wait for the money and we would go and buy Easter eggs in the shop together

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