When my husband and I had our first child we were asked by grandparents if we were going to encourage her to believe in Santa Claus. We both responded with a united no but with different reasons. My husband felt it was a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas. We are in agreement on this point. But even if I could be persuaded the two concepts could live side by side, I would still struggle with keeping up with it. I can’t even take a daily vitamin on a regular basis. I also thought…and forgive me…having a child believe in Santa was a bit silly. Now, I grew up believing in Santa Claus and the truth of his nonexistence did not scar me.
At any rate, both sets of grandparents thought we were meanies and borderline Grinches. So, we decided to not decide. Somehow it made sense to allow our child to decide. If she believed in Santa without our prompting we may go with it, if not, we would not encourage it. Now, I ask you…what sense did that make? New parents are so cute. As it turned out, she thought of Santa as a character like Cinderella. You couldn’t make her think Santa was real if you tried. So it was settled. Conviction out the window, consistency be darned, we let the kid decide. Which was about as absurd as Robin Williams allowing his son to name the little sister Zelda.
Now, you would think this was where the story ended. No, sir. When she turned three years old, we went Christmas shopping at the mall. There was a Santa at the mall doing what mall Santa guys do. When she got a load of the Santa she stopped in her dead in her tracks. She began to mumble, “I didn’t think he was real. I didn’t think he was real. There he is.” Now what am I supposed to do with that? After three years of allowing her to believe Santa did not exist she is now struggling to comprehend the sight before her. Should we now allow her to believe? Well, I wasn’t making that mistake again. I simply told her it was a man in a suit. She almost didn’t believe me.
Three more kids later and none believe in Santa but not because they were allowed to decide. They do not believe because we stood on our conviction to leave Santa in fantasy land. We have only experienced one small hiccup with this. Once my son told a friend’s child that there wasn’t a Santa. She ran up to me in a panic and told me of the blasphemy coming forth from his mouth. Quick wit served me well that day. Without skipping a beat I said, “Well, then he won’t be getting gifts from Santa.” She was satisfied and Christmas could resume without a Santa incident. I don’t believe it is my place to tell another person’s child that Santa does not exist. It simply falls under the category of “none of my business.”