Would you lie to your children? At Christmas?

7 PM January 19, 2005

Karen and I are finding it really hard to ‘do’ Santa Claus with Mitchell and Connor.

For the last few years Mitchell has been somewhat suspicious about Santa Claus. Two years ago we dismissed his concern, telling him, “If you don’t believe in Santa Claus, Santa Claus won’t believe in you” and if Santa doesn’t believe in you, he can’t bring you presents, can he? One year ago, he wanted to build an alarm to attach to the door on Christmas Eve, so he could catch Santa Claus, and verify it for himself. But this year, Mitchell boldly and proudly declared – within earshot of younger brother Connor – that there is no Santa Claus.

We admonished Mitchell that he should let his brother go on believing in Santa Claus, and Mitchell agreed. But Mitchell can’t keep a secret.

On Christmas morning Mitchell and Connor woke up, grabbed their Santa sacks and openned them on the family room floor, showing off each one as it was pulled from the sack. Being a polite boy, Mitchell couldn’t help himself, “Wow! Thanks Mum!” Karen replied with a meaningful stare, and Mitchell figured out what he’d done wrong. “I mean… thanks mum for all the presents you gave me… before… for my birthday…”

Since Christmas, I’d been wondering whether it was OK to keep “lying” to Connor about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. There are pros and cons, but then Connor made it clear that ongoing deception costs.

Being six, Connor is losing his baby teeth. They go into a glass of water, and the tooth fairy takes the tooth, leaving fifty cents. Always fifty cents. In the form of a single fifty cent coin. That’s the way it works at our house, and I’m pretty sure Connor has appraised his mouth, maybe even taken out a mortgage against it. So last week, when Connor lost a tooth while staying at his grandmother’s, and Grandma asked how much the tooth fairy left for a tooth, Connor said, “four dollars.”

By alang | # | Comments (5)
(Posted to Stuff, Christian Life and Tall Tales)


At 21:46, 19 Jan 2005 RodeoClown wrote:

My wife and I have a nine-month old, and have decided not to tell him about Santa when he's old enough. This is causing some distress with his grandparents (on her side... mine don't lie ;)) who have always done the Santa, Easter Bunny and tooth fairy, despite the fact that my sister-in-law sauffered deep emotional trauma when she discovered that Santa waasn't real.

I just don't like lying to my kids (it's different from 'playing pretend'), I never believed in Santa (I built traps to prove to my cousins that it WAS just my parents...) but I think 'Speaking the truth in love' is something kids who aren't taught about Santa need to learn too. Running around at school telling other kids that Santa isn't real can cause tears.

Hope you figure it all out.

At 01:24, 21 Jan 2005 Chris wrote:

Our little boy is 18 months now, so this year was the last in which we didn't have to worry about this. But I'm with RodeoClown on this - I don't want to lie to Jeyanth about Christmas.

When Sureka and I talked about this, she pointed out something that hadn't occured to me - not only is the modern Santa a distraction from the meaning of Christmas, it's also a terrible perversion of it's own origins in St. Nicholas. How do we get from a man who gave gifts to those who were desperately in need to a figure whose only role is to bring more stuff to those who already have more than enough...?

So we've resolved to tell J that Santa is a story that grown-ups tell so they can enjoy giving lots of presents at Christmas time. Will we be able to stick to it? Watch <a href="http://goringe.net/mt">this space</a> :).

At 00:32, 23 Jan 2005 Pete wrote:

Our oldest, Josh, is 5.5 and he knows Santa isn't real - but he also doesn't mind "playing pretend" about it.

Sarah and I always had trouble with the lying aspect so from about four onwards we have worked to get Josh thinking about the reality of Santa. We would see a Santa in a shop and ask him if that was the "real" one. Or were they all the real one? Or why does Santa need stand-ins at all.

In the end he worked it out and we got onto telling him about St Nicholas and why we give gifts at Christmas time. I think that the hardest thing is trying to make sure that he doesn't accidentally hurt others with what he knows. He knows better but at 5.5 it is easy to forget such niceties.

We're not up to the Tooth Fairy thing quite yet - but I'll let you know how that works out.

Best of luck, Alan, and Chris.

At 15:45, 25 Jan 2005 Ay Uaxe wrote:

I'm 47 and I believe in Santa Claus! I was raised believing that Santa Claus represents the spirit of Christmas giving. We have that spirit in us and manifest it through loving, charitable acts. When moms and dads give extra to their children "from Santa" that spirit of selfless charity lives. If we can give to a wider circle, it lives "large"--big, fat and jolly. There is no lie in that and I hope I and my children will never stop believing. BTW, I came to your site via a very nice comment on Keith Devens' blog. God's blessings to all as we try to convey His love to the world.

At 17:42, 07 Apr 2005 scifigirl wrote:

We never actually said there was a Santa or Tooth Fairy. We just acted like there was one all along. When they started asking about it, though, we told them somthing like "Santa is the spirit of giving in all of us" kind of thing. When my son said I lied to him about it, I could honestly say that I never told him there WAS a Santa.


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