The Santa Lie

EDIT : I deleted the areas of this post referring to a conversation my daughter was telling me about a conversation she had with a few others. Though I didn’t name the people nor how she came across them, one of them somehow found this blog and got angry enough to confront a 12 year old girl about it. With my daughter in tears, I apologized to her for putting her in that situation and vowed never to tell stories here, however vague, about any conversations of experiences she has with those people. I don’t want her to go through that again.

I’m a bit baffled as to how this person found my blog. No scenario I can imagine is flattering to them or anyone they know so I’m happy enough to believe any of them. My blog is public so I always try to make anything about any non-public figures anonymous and them reading my blog would be amusing if it wasn’t for my distraught child. So, I’d really just rather you [person who got angry] fucked off, but … eh.

 

Bad Santa

Since Christmas just passed the subject of Santa has come up once or twice.  My daughter is telling me the story of xxxxxxxxxxxxxdeletedxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

That’s cute, I suppose. I on the other hand never told my daughter the Santa lie. I never said he wasn’t real, so TV/movies and other relatives as well as her classmates told her who Santa was and what he did.  She’d receive presents from Santa at other people’s houses. As for me, I kept my mouth shut.  She tells me today that since I never once told her Santa was real, she was always confused as to whether or not he existed and that ultimately she thanks God* that I didn’t lie to her about it.

So as she tells me the story of xxxxxxxxxxxxxdeletedxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Realizing the truth about Santa was a slow thing for me. I couldn’t understand how he could do all that in one night. Also, I had no chimney. There was no way Santa was getting into my apartment unless he squeezed through a keyhole. Ultimately, one Christmas I woke up in the middle of the night and saw my mother getting the presents out from the car. I don’t remember being surprised.

The closest I ever got to addressing Santa with my own daughter was one year when she asked me for a Nintendo Wii. I told her I didn’t think I could afford it. So she says “well, maybe I can ask Santa?” and I said “Sweetie, trust me. If I can’t afford a Wii, there will be no Wii.”  What was I supposed to say? Tell her maybe he’ll bring her a Wii and watch the anticipation build for weeks only to end in utter disappointment? Unless I scratched off a winning lotto ticket, it wasn’t going to happen.

I don’t want to sound like I’m admonishing parents who tell their kids about Santa. That route seems to be the majority decision for people of Christian denominations. I’m obviously in the very tiny minority here**. I did struggle with the decision of honesty as opposed to magic. Ultimately, the idea of lying to my child’s face with a smile on mine made me feel awful. I want her to be happy, and I want her to know she can trust me. I knew I could give her both without Santa Claus.

As a child, I understood the phrase “we can’t afford that.” I think it’s easier for a child to understand that than to try and explain to them why some of their friends got a ton of incredibly expensive gifts from Santa while they didn’t.

No, young children, it’s not that those kids are so much better behaved, they just have parents who make more money than yours.

 

I’m glad my daughter isn’t mad about my decision not to feed her the Santa lie. Hopefully, she doesn’t change her mind about that. She says if she ever has kids she’ll be honest with them too. I told her she could always explain the inspiration behind Santa Claus, which is Saint Nicholas. I know the facts around him are debatable, but it’s still the generally accepted story behind the myth.

Oh, well.  Ba humbug, I guess.

 

Calvin & Hobbes

* I’m agnostic and have remained as silent over religion as I have about Santa.  If she asks I tell her what different religions believe, and I’ve explained, when asked, that I am agnostic.  She’s turned out a lot more spiritual than I am. But that can be another post.

** but I’m not alone. There’s at least a few people who aren’t on board the Santa train either.

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2 responses to “The Santa Lie

  • Apparently a Mom

    My son just had his first Christmas. It was an automatic thing for me to do that whole Santa song and dance. I was happy to do it. The thought crossed my mind to tell him from the start that Santa is just made up, I suppose I have another year or so to really make up my mind. My Mom and grandma played Santa and although I felt a little betrayed when I figured it out thanks to a discussion my class had in the 3rd grade i came to still appreciate that they did it. It brought a certain wonder and magic into my life, it made me believe that amazing things existed (it wasn’t the only thing I guess, just a large part of it). It was something I could get very excited for. Once I found out he wasn’t real it took all that from me but I was able to see it in the people around me instead.

    It is certainly something every parent has to consider, there are two very valid sides to approach this with. I think it is great that you are so honest with her. She sounds like a very wise little one! I hope you both had a wonderful holiday break and all the best in the New Year!

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