December 5, 2008

Killing Santa

When my husband and I had kids we had slightly different philosophies about how we were going to handle "the Santa Issue". He was raised to believe there was a Santa and I was raised in a non-Santa environment.

I was uncomfortable with what I considered a deception; he maintained it was harmless and nobody is permanently scarred from the discovery that Santa isn't real. (Oh, sorry if I spoiled that for anyone who still believes... oopsie!) Indeed he seems quite fine. He has very fond memories of childhood Christmases and no bad memories of the event at all. Since my family never celebrated Christmas I yielded to him as the Holiday Expert.

Five years later my son is now in Kindergarten and has asked me twice if Santa Claus is real. As expected, bigger kids are telling littler kids that Santa isn't real. So, I put the question off by saying he needs to talk to his dad about it as his dad is the Santa Expert. Julius says, "Why is Dad the Santa Expert? Why aren't you a Santa Expert?" Er, well... now that's another long story.

Fast forward a week and finally I can't stand it anymore and we decide we're going to fess up and explain about Santa Claus. We go into some long drawn out explanation about how Santa is a symbol of Giving, Generosity, Good Times. (I resisted the urge to add Greed, Excessive Consumerism, Poor Financial Choices and Hedonism.) We explained why "we" thought it would be fun for him to believe in Santa, fun for him, fun for us to give him Santa gifts and all that. We stressed the whole "symbolism" thing as a way of not completely admitting that we're big fat liars.

While symbolism and the spirit of giving and all that is a really nice story, the real truth is Mommy and Daddy killed Santa Claus.

At the end of this protracted and horrible explanation we just sat there looking at him and asked how he felt about it. He said he was sad, although he suspected the kids were right. And he looked horribly disappointed. I, of course, felt like crying and was filled pretty much to the top with self-loathing... 'cause, you know, I'm a Santa Killer.

I asked him what we should do about his little brother. To tell or not to tell? He says we should tell Tristan the truth and also tell him that Big Brother is sad about there not being a real Santa.

Right now the boys are piled on their Dad watching The Santa Clause. I'm all for Hollywood breaking the news next time.


  1. I grew up in a non Santa home. Very strict religious, but loving. We've done a vague Santa here. Never pushing the full belief but not as gung ho that he's not real as I did.

    And bwahaha at not being room mates. I don't live well with other people, sad to say.

  2. awww
    I was not damaged upon learning there was not santa . . . nor an easter bunny. It becomes a realization when no one breaks it to you like you guys did! LOL. poor lads.

  3. Ginny, you don't believe in anything, though. LOL. Maybe it's because your parents damaged you and you don't realize it! Well, my kids are doomed to have lots of therapy anyway. I'm sure of it.

    Well, he pretty much knew which is why he kept bugging me about it. I just felt creepy about faking it. You know how I am!

    Envie, re: roommates... you and me both, girl!

  4. My family celebrated Santa growing up. We all pretended he was real, but knew (always as far as I remember) that Santa is real in the same way fairy tales and Peter Pan are real. My husband's family didn't celebrate Christmas. In fact, they believe it is wrong. My husband doesn't agree with his family. Thank God. But, our plan from before we got married was NO SANTA. No lies, no tricks, no Santa at all. Not even on ornaments. We've taught Sloane from the beginning that he isn't real, but that some people believe in him. We taught her that under no circumstances was she allowed to be a party pooper. No blowing the whistle on Santa. Ever. She's fine with it. I miss him a little though.

  5. Hi Relyn. It's nice that you taught Sloane to be so polite. (I really love her name, btw.)

    Someone was in my office today saying she didn't like the whole Santa thing because it took focus off Jesus.

    My mother refers to Santa as "that big fat faker". I think your husband and I might be from the same family. :)

  6. But Santa IS real ... or was at one time. He was a child named Nicholas, born to wealthy parents in the third century. His parents died when he was a child and he was raised in a monastery. Following his Christian beliefs, he used his inheritance to give to the poor. He later became a Bishop, and then a Saint after his death. Whether you are a Christian or not, the story of Santa Claus perpetuates the lesson that good comes from good - and it doesn't hurt for children to believe that this "magical" man selflessly gives to children all over the world. Childhood is short enough ... why not let them enjoy the fantasy? Tell Julius that although Santa is not real in the physical sense, he was once, and we celebrate his ideals by remembering him each year. Besides ... once you stop believing in him you get underwear instead of toys.

  7. I felt angry that my parents lied to me all those years.

  8. Tati, I didn't think of the historical aspect. (I will blame Rob as he is the Santa Expert.) By the way, yesterday as I was walking out to the door to do the shopping Rob said, "Don't get him any clothes... my mom did that to me and I didn't like it!" Yeah, who would?

    Dwacon, thanks for visiting. My mom said something similar. She said when she finally found out she felt like she couldn't trust her mom anymore because she's "lied".

    I guess everyone has a different reaction.

  9. OK. Here's my confession: I cried myself to sleep the night I found out Santa wasn't real. But I wasn't angry at my parents. I was mourning the loss of somebody I loved. It's a gentle easing in to adulthood if I do say so...
    AND I am not scarred at all by having believed in Santa!!! Avery will be getting the full Santa experience for as long as I can make it work!
    BTW, my mom (Tatiana; see post below) taught me not to be a Santa whistle blower as well--and I never did tell another kid. To this day, I won't out Santa to my students (and I teach junior high!).


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