Friday, December 11, 2015

So You Don't Believe in Santa

Here is a helpful holiday tip so that people won't hate you.
I'd like to clarify something about the holidays. Let's say your child has decided that Santa Claus is not real and you've discussed it and everyone at your house is all on the same page. That's great! Seriously. Good for you. But if you're having these conversations, there is one crucial element that I am literally begging you to include in the discussion. Ready?

THE FIRST RULE OF DECIDING THAT SANTA IS NOT REAL IS KEEPING THAT INFORMATION TO YOUR DAMN SELF. It's like Fight Club. You don't talk about it. Everyone knows that rule, don't act like it's a surprise. You can talk about how you don't believe in magic and awesomeness and whatever else when you're with your friends at the fight club, ok? But when you're in the first grade lunch room or at the bus stop with a bunch of pre-schoolers playing and happily chattering about Christmas, that's not cool and you need to quit it.



Remember when you had to tell your kids where babies came from and you were all: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T GO TALKING ABOUT PENISES AND SPERM AND STUFF ON THE BUS.  PROMISE ME, TREVOR. IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT. And then you reinforced that message because you didn't want your kid traumatizing some poor kindergartner with tales of how the baby comes out?

It's pretty much the exact same thing.

Families believe lots of different things and I sincerely respect that. It's what makes this great nation so awesome. But just because we approach the topic of Santa differently doesn't mean you get to poop on my magical holiday tradition. For some people, the idea of Santa is really special and if your kid squashes that yuletide joy because he's trying to impress some fifth grade girls or had too much candy at snack time, he's going to hear about it and so are you.

Do you need proof of why you need to instruct your kids not to talk about it? Here's what happens when a big kid gleefully decides to burst the bubble of a little kid who still believes in Santa. First the little kid experiences violent denial.

NOOOOOOOOO!!! (Elf)

That quickly degenerates into hysterical snot crying:

Then comes the realization that the world is not quite the happy, hopeful place they thought it was and how maybe they should just start drinking their apple juice straight up and making jaded comments about how everything sucks:

Everyday is exactly the same

Why? Why would you want to do that to a small child during the season of perpetual hope?  Because of you and your big mouth, Christmas will go from being a time of great magic, wonder, and gratitude to one of resigned cynicism, excessive shrugging, and giving parents side-eye. I am not ready for that, ok? Some of us would like for it stay sweet and wonderful just a little while longer. Is that too much to ask for? Is it?

You know who else this whole thing applies to? Grown-ups who have conversations about the realness of Santa within earshot of other people's kids. Stop that right now. I don't care if you think it's fine. I don't care if those kids are lighting Menorahs or are wearing t-shirts that say "We don't celebrate Christmas because Star Wars is our religion and The Force rocks our socks" - don't you dare ruin Santa for them. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEIR DEAL IS, SO JUST ZIP IT. 

You know who else really needs to hear this message? Surly older brothers and sisters middle school age and older who are easily annoyed by their younger siblings and just want to be left alone. GUESS WHAT? You say anything uncool about Santa in front of your little sister and you get your iPhone smashed, Brianna. Count on that. OH YOU THINK IT'S FUNNY TO DESTROY YOUR LITTLE BROTHER'S SENSE OF HOLIDAY WONDER? Well guess whose XboxOne just got donated to the senior center, Jacob? That's right. Now grandpa and his bros are playing Halo and discussing how your $5 dollar Christmas check just got downgraded to $3. Not laughing now, are you?

That's pretty much it. As with everything else, I genuinely respect your family's right to believe whatever you want. Just please follow Wheaton's law and don't be a dick about it. Please, please don't ruin my family's Christmas because your kids have outgrown it or you've decided it's not for you. Am I forcing my overly enthusiastic approach to the holidays on you? No sir, I am not. Am I walking up to you and forcing you to wear an elf hat, even though you look would look amazing in one? I am not. Am I forcing you to come over and watch Hallmark holiday movies with me while we stir our coffee with candy canes? No indeed. But you would love it. My couches are super cozy and my coffee is delicious.

Just do the right thing. Don't believe in Santa? Fine! Just make sure you and yours follow the fight club rules and there won't be a problem.

Thank you.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2015

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24 comments:

  1. Agree Agree Agree! Even as a Jewish kid, I KNEW you do not say anything about Santa to anyone. Even if you were feeling mean - it was just not done!
    As for big mouth adults - I think your don't be a dick rule sums it up pretty well.

    Hope you have a magical Santaful Christmas! xo

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  2. After some of the commercials I've seen this year, they need to stop as well. Corporate companies need to read this and have a light bulb go off. I've had to get my kids attention or hastily change the holiday channel because "adult" commercials showing how fake Santa is during a kids Christmas movie is not cool!

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  3. Yes, and the tooth fairy and Easter bunny! I swear I am this close to calling off Christmas with my idiot BIL for spilling the beans about the tooth fairy at Thanksgiving. Luckily, I was able to distract my kid with offerings of cake and he wasn't tuned in to the idiot spewing his righteous BS.

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  4. I've always held to this rule and stressed the same to my kids, but...if you're setting up your holiday traditions so the wonder and joy is all wrapped up in such a tenuous thing as Santa belief, maybe you should rethink the way you're doing your holiday. I'm not opposed to Santa, we did it in our house, but some families get so caught up in building the mythology that there's nowhere for the kids to go but down once the inevitable happens and the truth is figured out. Christmas is pretty darn magical in its own. The crutch of Santa *overfixation* (Elf on the Shelf nonsense and such) is wholly unneeded for making a great holiday and more than a little shortsighted.

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    1. I appreciate your effort to teach your family not to spoil the Santa tradition with others, but your comment comes off a little judgmental. An atheist could replace the word Santa with the word Jesus in your comment and maybe it would feel different in your heart. God Bless and Ho, Ho, Ho!

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    2. I think part of it is the way that little kids tend to spill the beans. It's one thing if the kid comes to the realization themselves slowly. It's another if an older kid tells you it's all nonsense, which is usually done in a "I'm smarter than you" kind of way that diminishes everything it touches in terms of Christmas, not just Santa.

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  5. I'm an elementary school librarian and last week I was teaching my Kindergarten class the difference between fiction (made-up) and non-fiction (true) books. Part of that was having the kids hold the books they had checked out and we talk about whether they are fiction or non-fiction. You know what's on display all over the library? Holiday books. You know what the kids checked out a lot of? Santa & Rudolph books. I said of course they were non-fiction books and firmly told that one kid who started to protest to stop talking. Trainwreck averted, but it was close.

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    1. Great. Way to confuse kids about THE BASICS of the library. Way to NOT DO YOUR JOB. Not to mention SHAME the one kid who was RIGHT. I'm very thankful MY elementary school librarian wasn't like that, because she was one of the few people I could actually count on in that school.

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    2. Laura Lou - as a fellow librarian and a mother - well done!

      Kat - there are plenty of Santa and Rudolph books in the non fiction section under mythology. Did you realise this?

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    3. Kat McKimmy is a good example of someone who lost the wonder and magic too early.

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    4. That's really a shame, and I hope our school librarian find a better way. You are an educator.

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  6. Like the Meijer commercials talking about, no, that's not groceries in that bag...! Um, excuse me! Santa brings the toys around here!

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  7. Great post! As a lifelong storyteller and unforgivingly honest person, I struggle with the fine line of Santa as fiction/truth, so I've thought a lot about when that time will come. But I think the idea of Santa as "true" without being "real" works, which I talk about in a blog post I just wrote: http://welleatyouupweloveyouso.com/2015/12/10/always-be-yourself-unless-you-can-be-santa-then-be-santa/ However, this subtlety is not exactly one that is communicated well by a too-cool 3rd grader. No one has the right to pull that nonsense!

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  8. We don't do Santa anymore. We did with my oldest, and yes, he hasn't trusted me since. Although, I think he tried to. But that's not just from the Santa lie.
    Just like I teach my kids Jesus and God are real (instead of Santa), I wouldn't expect every other adult and child to censor themselves. You may believe in the OT God, and only the Torah, and it's just not good form to challenge a person's religion in public or with polite company, but when challenged, adults need to defend their faith and show their kids how to do so.
    Catholics get a lot of flack from Protestants, saying untruths and what not, in front of our kids. If we can't handle that, and explain to our children our faith, and that some ppl don't believe in the Catholic faith, then maybe we need to get off our sensitive pansy asses and defend ourselves in love and faith.
    Same with the Santa religion. It's not my responsibility to help you lie to your child. Most times I keep quiet and tell my kids to not share the truth in front of little kids. Believing in Santa won't send kids to hell. Not sure if it will the parents. Lol (I'm just teasing)
    But it's not my job to "protect your kids from the harsh reality of the world". Many think we believe in a myth too. Get over it. :)

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    1. We come at this from totally different angles, but:

      But it's not my job to "protect your kids from the harsh reality of the world". Many think we believe in a myth too. Get over it. :)

      Yes!

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  9. Then again, you could just not, you know, lie to your kids. Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa, there's a reason your kids stop believing in them at the same time. Not all kids are going to handle this news well, no matter how old they get. You know why kids get so upset and jaded? Because they learn the things their parents raised them to believe in are lies. Now, I'm not a religious person, so this I don't have to worry about, but it seems to me, it's really easy to wrap whatever god you believe in with Santa. All knowing, never seen, but you have 'evidence' of their existence?

    Then there's the kids who come home SOBBING because "Santa likes their friends better." Nothing drives home being poor like Santa bringing you socks, underwear, and toothbrushes while your friends get brand new gaming systems, bicycles, or just shit tons of toys. Yeah, lots of parents have to go through that, then face the struggle of coming up with a lie to pad the lie, or just coming clean and watching their child be completely crushed by the people they KNEW they could trust admitting to an elaborate fabrication and tricking them for as far back as they can remember.

    That being said, I'm not the type of person to go up to kids and just announce "SANTA'S NOT REAL" but I'm not going to lie to kids. I'm not going to participate in your fabrications. I believe in teaching the myth without teaching the lies. Also, what popped the bubble for me? ALL THE MOVIES ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN SANTA. Eventually I just realized that the trope exists because it's the TRUTH. Fortunately I had smart parents who always gave us the nice stuff from them and Santa just brought little stuff.

    I guess all I'm saying is dealing with people saying Santa isn't real is just part of deciding to LIE TO YOUR CHILDREN. It's not magical, it's not sweet, it's lying, plain and simple. You have NO RIGHT to get mad because other people won't lie to your kids on your behalf.

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  10. You know what's frustrating? Not doing Santa, but having every adult he meets ask your 5yo what "Santa is bringing him." Having his kinder teacher tell the class that she Santa once. Filling out elf applications at school. It's damn confusing to a 5yo. If there are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or Christian kids (whose families happen to believe Xmas is about Jesus), etc kids around you believe the world has the responsibility to insist that Santa is real to the confusion of all kids? Selfish. Your beliefs are a discussion for your home. Everywhere else all people- not just your kid- have a right to their beliefs.

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  11. Great. So we have to lie so you can keep lying to your children?

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  12. I believe in telling my daughter that Santa is a logo. He is the symbol of Christmas that inspires us all to be loving an giving and good for one month of the year. He serves to give children hope for one day of joy.
    And admit it, how many adults out there wish you could go back to believing in santa.
    I'm an atheist. But I believe that we humans are responsible for creating some joy and magic in ourselves and our families lives. Let's show our children the beauty in the world.
    Let's all be Santa.

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  13. Gosh this blog has changed a lot on the past couple of years. Since when is it so preachy and judgmental? If the Santa story is so tenuous that you need the rest of the world to be your accomplice... For many reasons people don't tell their children Santa is real. Maybe you should respect and understand that. It's a lesson in tolerance instead of blind belief that most children could use.

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  14. I don't have kids yet, but when I do I am doing Santa. I am Christian and will also be teaching them that Christmas is how we celebrate Jesus' birthday. To me Santa isn't a lie, Santa is part of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving. And although he may not be entirely real, it is true that at Christmas time, we are, most all of us, overcome with a great sense of kindness and giving to others, out of the goodness of our hearts, not because we are expecting something in return. Truly, we should be just as giving during the rest of the year as we are at Christmas time. Alas, we aren't usually, so we use Christmas and Santa to teach our kids the joy of giving. I agree that if you don't believe dont ruin it for someone else, this post wasn't preachy and judge mental, although some of the comments were. Christmas is about giving, Jesus is about giving, he gave his life for us, Santa is about giving, making sure that every child has a gift on Christmas. I can't believe that it is wrong to teach your kids about Santa, because I isn't wrong to teach them to five to the less fortunate. But teach them that Christmas isn't all about Santa, it isn't all about receiving, its whole meaning is about giving.

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  15. Dear god people. As a Jew I have to admit that Santa is a huge tradition that A LOT of people- an actual firm majority in fact- enjoy. My devout Muslim neighbors put up a pine tree (note it's a *pine tree*, purchased at the christmas tree lot, apparently they carry both, wink)and stick Eid decorations all over it (like the author of this post, we also live in Fairfax County ,VA, land of multi-culti diversity). What the hell? Even if you don't do the santa thing-or maybe ESPECIALLY if you don't do the Santa thing- why on earth would you jabber on about it outside of the comfort of your own comfy couches where you can make fun of the rest of us? Kids love magic and fairies and the unbelievable, it's part of being a kid. It's not LYING. Only someone who doesn't GET that Santa isn't just about Santa would say something like that. Jeez. It's letting kids have their fantasy, the part of you that can't distinguish real from unreal until you become an old rotten cynic. Maybe we should let them know the whole "make a wish before you blow out your birthday candle" is a crock too? Who would lie to their kid like that?!?! Let's be sure to get rid of wishing on stars, looking for 4-leaf clovers and all that rubbish about ghosts on Halloween while we're at it. Kids talk magic all the time, Santa is one flavor. There are many other flavors. Don't go out of your way to spoil the magic. That's all she's saying.

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  16. Some of the biggest Santa offenders I know are some of my uber-Christian friends. They don't allow anything Santa in their homes because they feel it detracts from the real meaning of the season. I have to keep my kids away from their kids near holiday time!

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