I have a Santa Claus dilemma!!

Ashley - posted on 11/08/2014 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Our daughter is due to be born any day now. Every time the subject of Santa comes up we fight!! He wants her to believe in Santa, i don't, I'm just not comfortable lying to my child along with other things that go with the Santa "tradition". Yes i grew up believing in Santa, also but im just not comfortable with it. So my question is have any of you moms faced this dilemma and if so how did you fix it? Any advice on a compromise??
I am not asking why it Santa okay or not why it is bad or not. I am simply looking for a way we both can come together and compromise on the where it isn't a dilemma and ruin our daughters holidays.
He has children that aren't with him that had the Santa thing, i have kids that i adopted out later that didn't believe in Santa (my 2 year old was really smart, no one even told him Santa wasn't real or was real, he always said Santa was just a man and not real). So we are coming from 2 totally opposite views on this, to make it harder i want Christmas to be about Christ and God, he doesn't believe in God.
So any suggestions on a compromise? I am willing to bend a little, but he wants to go to the extreme.

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Ev - posted on 11/09/2014

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Oh, I got that in the post, Sarah. There has to be a bit of balance is what I am pointing out. This is not about the parents really but about the child's life here. If the parents can not find a balance in how they do things, they are going to confuse this child and she is going to have a hard life because of it. As a parent myself, I had to learn to COMPROMISE. That means you have to both let go of some things each to get a bit of what you do want. And it goes the same in parenting as it does in a relationship. Its not about who has control here. A balanced life is what gives a child a secure feeling in his or her own. And until they can find that balance.....its not going to be secure.

Ev - posted on 11/08/2014

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I did say that in my post....let the child have the fun of the holiday but also keep the strong teachings of being a Christian alive too. I said that Santa gives us gifts like God gave us the gift of His Son who later became the greatest of all gifts. I was raised with Santa and it was fun. It gave an added magic to the holiday. I also knew the real meaning of the holiday as well. I raised my kids on both. They turned out just fine.

Ev - posted on 11/08/2014

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Why make it an issue? For the first few years of life, she is not going to understand the concepts of God and Christianity though you can start teaching her these things from the beginning. My kids got both. They got the story of Christ and his birth but we also did Santa. Why? Santa is the magic part of Christmas and if done in just the right manner teaching her that its about Christ and that Santa gives us gifts like God gave us the gift of his son who would later be the greatest gift of all. Allow her imagination to fly some. That is what makes childhood magical. If you take a good stand and teach her what you want her to focus on but allow some of the fun part too, it will work out.

Dove - posted on 11/08/2014

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What about telling her the truth about St. Nick and that is where people get the story of Santa. He isn't real, but her and Daddy can PRETEND he's real..?

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Math Teacher - posted on 11/10/2014

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Good luck raising her through the teen years. If you guys can't agree on Santa and the Easter Bunny, it will be lots of fun to discuss boys, curfews, chores, punishments, and the messy bedroom. And her hormones that will show up once a month will make this issue seem like a Disney ride! Lol!

Chet - posted on 11/09/2014

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I would not make this decision now. It won't matter for the first Christmas at all. It probably won't matter for the second Christmas either. By the time your daughter is two or three you can decide, and you'll be able to take her temperament and the environment she is exposed to into consideration.

If you end up with an incredibly imaginative child who believes in fairies and magic, and who is friends with a bunch of kids who are hardcore believers in Santa, you'll just get a vibe that she wants to believe and you can follow her lead on that. And if she gets to be two or three, and she's just not that into it, and half her friends don't even celebrate Christmas, or don't celebrate it with Santa, don't bother with Santa.

People will tell you to work out big parents issues in advance, but I don't think this should be a big issue. I'd wait until your kid is the right age for Santa and I'd follow her lead. I don't feel like I've ever lied to our kids. I feel like we just let them believe what they wanted. Our kids choose to hugely embrace the whole Santa thing. They impose a lot of elaborate imagination and creativity on it themselves, and we go along with it in a vague, non-committal sort of way.

You actually hear stories all the time about kids who have every reason to not believe, and they completely reject everything they've seen and been told and believe anyway. It's like how some kids swear that their imaginary friend is as real as any other person they know.

Besides, for a lot of kids you only get 3, 4, maybe 5 Christmases with Santa. Kids are usually 3 before they really get it, and I think most kids stop believing on their own by grade 2 or grade 3. Doing Santa isn't a massive life long commitment that will be part of your lives day to day.

We're pretty left wing, and we know lots of people who are EXTREMELY left wing. We know parents who don't embrace the mainstream in plenty of different ways. Some completely reject plastic toys. Some have kids who have never eaten a hotdog, a marshmellow or a Dorito. Some swore off Santa on the grounds that it's lying to your kids. Dr. Sueus books aren't allowed in the house because they promote violence. All clothing and mattresses must be organic. Walmart, McDonald's and Disney are evil and their kids aren't allowed near them. A friend of a friend actually knows somebody with no real furniture in her house because it's a modern construct that contradicts good physical health.

Personally, I try not to over think things, and to not become so passionate about stuff that our kids have to bear the burden of a family that is, for lack of a better word, weird. I think there's a point where parents can damage their kids by pushing their beliefs too hard. There's no simple answer to where that line is, but ultimately, striking the right balance requires careful consideration of your particular child. I would try to get your husband to agree to wait to decide, and to follow your child's lead.

Lastly though, somebody posted below that what will ruin your daughter's childhood and devastate her later in life is her parents calling each other liars. And that's a really good point. If this isn't just a discussion about Santa, and it's actually a symptom of a larger debate about religious education, family values, the existence of God, you do need to sort this out.

Lots of families have a Jewish parent and Christian parent, or a faithful parent and an atheist parent, and they work it out. I think the parents who have the most success believe what they believe, agree on what the kids will be exposed to, are not critical of each other, and give the kids some space to explore belief as something that is individual - you choose it for yourself.

Rebecca - posted on 11/09/2014

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My daughter stopped believing in Santa at the age of 9. She'll be 13 in 5 months now, and she still finds it a fun holiday. By the time she's 10 years old(5th grade), we got her ears pierced for Christmas and I was surprised when she asked me about Santa.... maybe you people should make deals?

Sarah - posted on 11/08/2014

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I agree completely with you Evelyn.
However, Ashley says that dad wants no God and all Santa....there in lies the problem. Obviously, there are ways to do both, thousands of Christians celebrate the holidays with faith at the center and Santa for the magic. If dad won't compromise and let God in, and you won't compromise to let Santa in, your daughter's Christmases are going to be very sad indeed. How miserable for her to have mom and dad at odds at such a special time of year? Thankfully she won't realize for a few years, hopefully you can reach an agreement by then.

Sarah - posted on 11/08/2014

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St. Nicholas was a real person. Just like the rest of the saints. His story of saving three sisters from being sold into servitude by paying all three girls' dowries is what translated into the Feast of St. Nicholas today. December 5, the evening before the feast day, children put out their shoes to receive an anonymous gift from St. Nicholas.
I wonder, Ashley, do you celebrate this holiday as it has an actual place in history?

To tell a child "believe what you want" is not helpful to this OP, she obviously has a strong sense of faith and desires to pass that on to her child. To equate God and Santa (St. Nicholas) as mythical is your opinion and not rooted in fact. Especially if you recognize that Santa is derived from the true story of St. Nicholas.
However, the point you make of anonymous gift giving as the true meaning of Santa, does help demonstrate how you can keep God, Christ and Santa all as part of a true Christian spiritual holiday.

Guest - posted on 11/08/2014

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Just tell the kid it is up to her what she believes....Isn't that how God and Christ and the like work too?

Just say, "Hey, some people believe in Santa, some don't, just like some people believe in God or Christ, and others do not. Since both are mythical beliefs and there is not proof of either belief, just tell her you love her and you will respect her no matter what she believes."

For me, I do believe in St. Nicholas, which is the Saint that the English Santa Clause was derived from, the name just varies by country and language....just like John is Jose in some languages. Anonymous gift giving is the way that we allow his spirit to live on, so on Christmas morning when all of the gifts are under the tree, no one really knows who they are from--and that is Santa Clause or St. Nicholas or whatever. I thought St. Nicholas was part of the Christian faith anyway...or is just some of them? My step mother is Anglican and they have St. Nicholas.
That said, in my husband's family, when they give gifts at Christmas, they put a tag on them that says both who the gift is for, AND who the gift is from. I notice that most of the printed tags in the store are like this too, but why would you want people to know who the gift is from??

Dove - posted on 11/08/2014

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Seeing as how the two of you have very, very different belief systems... your relationship is in for a world of trouble and confusion for your daughter. Personally, I recommend the two of you go to couple's counseling immediately and see if there are any sort of compromises you can work out... otherwise your relationship is never going to last...

For the record... I never did Santa w/ my kids. My now ex didn't entirely agree w/ me, but he respected me (at the time... not anymore) enough to leave Santa and the other fake characters out of things... and my kids have always had a great Christmas.


I couldn't be w/ a man and raise kids w/ him that would want to leave God out of things... because I will NOT leave God out of my life... ever. Good luck!!

Sarah - posted on 11/08/2014

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Where does dad stand on the rest of the year? Can your daughter go to church, be baptized (or your faith equivalent), go to Sunday school, learn Bible stories etc. Or does he want none of it at all?

Ashley - posted on 11/08/2014

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Sarah, it is all of them the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, and so on. He is fine with no water bunny, but still do the egg hunt. Trick or treating would be replaced with alternatives he has agreed on, it is mainly Santa and tooth fairy. He always tells me God isn't real and that Santa is more real than God and he doesn't want God in the holidays, basically. We still would go all out on Christmas the trees, the decorating, cookies, and of course presents, etc.. He thinks that if we don't do Santa them nothing else would be done the tree, cookies, presents,etc but i tried telling him everything would be the same just no Santa lie. I suggested the Santa game where she knows he isn't real but she pretends and makes a game out of it, but didn't like the idea. He wants the whole shebang, and thinks that I'm stupid for this, and my reasoning for not wanting to do Santa is stupid, and all my suggestions are stupid. I just don't know how to get him to compromise, i I'm willing to but he isn't caving a single bit.

Sarah - posted on 11/08/2014

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What will ruin your daughter's childhood and devastate her later is her parents calling each other liars.
There is a book called "A Special Place for Santa" It is a narrative that blends historical facts with imagination and brings "Santa"/St. Nick to kneeling before the newborn child. Maybe that book can help you two find a compromise?
Millions of children have been raised believing in Santa, myself included, that were not devastated or felt betrayed when we discovered the reality. I did not consider my parents to be liars. I had both the secular and sacred teachings of Christmas. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

Ashley - posted on 11/08/2014

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Dove, i have suggested that but he says it's stupid to do that and that it will ruin her child hood if i don't do Santa. That is my dilemma. I just don't feel right lying to my kids. I have found that many parents don't do Santa and they say the magic of Christmas and they're child hood wasn't stolen. He said that if i tell her Santa isn't real then he would just tell her i was lying and i don't know what I'm talking about, which i don't feel is right on his part. I just don't want to trade my morals and values for a lie, that will just devastate her later, i don't want to break her heart and everyone around me is telling me I'm a bad parent for it.

Sarah - posted on 11/08/2014

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This is not really about Santa Claus. You could insert a lot of different "typical American traditions, folklore and legends" in place of Santa. Such as; the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, or the Sandman. All very common American practices to make childhood more magical and fun. Is it lying? Sure. Do you plan on being so scrupulously honest with your baby about everything? Some "lies" or stories we tell make for wonderful childhood memories.
I am in a mixed faith marriage, I am a practicing Catholic and my spouse is Jewish. These are discussions we had before we got married and discussed again before we had kids. Had he not agreed for our kids to be raised in my faith, I would not have married or had kids with him. In our home Christmas is about faith, Christ and the miracle of His birth. My kids go to Catholic school as well. However, Santa is part of American culture, so I am perfectly fine with embracing that tradition as well. I think there are ways to find a balance. We celebrate Advent, have a nativity and read the story of Mary and Joseph's journey and Jesus' birth. We also read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, have a tree and stockings. Additionally, even though I and the kids are not Jewish, we have a menorah and celebrate Chanukah. Because it is part of their dad's history and it is a beautiful story of God's love and power.
You are a family, there must be a way to compromise. Does Dad not want your daughter to believe in God at all? What really is the core of the disagreement? The difference in your religious views or your views about lying?

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