We did Santa when I was a kid so I always anticipated that I would do Santa with my kids. Josiah’s first Christmas he was only 6 months old so even though we talked about Santa, he didn’t care. His second Christmas he was around 18 months old and we talked about Santa and pushed the Santa stuff pretty heavily, after all they don’t come out of the womb believing in Santa.
And then it hit me, why am I spending my time and energy making sure my kids believe in Santa? After that revelation and a discussion with my husband, we decided to stop the Santa thing before he really understood. When we made that decision we realized not only does it take a lot of effort to help your kids believe in Santa, it also takes a lot of effort to not buy into Santa.
Some things to expect when you decide not to do Santa:
People will question your motives and take it personally
Before we made the decision to not do Santa, I always scoffed at people who chose to be so conservative that they didn’t even let their kids believe in Santa. We can keep Christ in Christmas and still let them have Santa right?! And of course, because they chose not to do Santa they must have seen my choice as wrong because we were going to do Santa.
We decided not to do Santa for several reasons. Honestly the biggest reason being that I didn’t see the point in spending all that time convincing the kids to believe only to go through the de-Santafication process later. The other reason being that we don’t like how Christmas has become about stuff for some people and we choose not to buy our way into debt. We made the decision that our kids would get two gifts on Christmas Eve and three on Christmas Day. Half of those gifts are gifts that I’ve made or refurbished. It would make it hard for my kids to understand why Santa brought some kids tablets and a PS4 when mine got handmade peg action figures and a combination of necessities and inexpensive wants.
Some people try to talk you back into it, even family
My side of the family was supportive of the decision not to do Santa. However, my in-laws were not as enthusiastic. They questioned why we were doing it and even tried to talk us back into it. They saw it as us holding back some of the magic of Christmas. They eventually accepted our decision. I’ve not experienced many other people attempting to talk us back into it, but I’ve heard of people doing it to others.
Santa and Santa talk is EVERYWHERE
There is so much Santa talk going on around Christmas that when Josiah was a toddler we had to constantly remind him that Santa wasn’t real. He was hearing about it at preschool and coming home and telling us his teacher told him Santa was real. People in public constantly ask questions like, “Are you ready for Santa?” and “Have you been good this year so Santa will come?”
This is something my sister-in-law came up with, but we finally explained to Josiah (and we will with the others eventually) that when someone asks him about Santa in public he can just politely tell the that we don’t play that game. That will keep him from answering weird questions and prevent kids around from getting suspicious. We stress big-time that even though we don’t do Santa that other kids do and it is not our place to tell kids there’s not a Santa. We’ve also told Josiah that if he’d rather, he can play along when other kids are talking about Santa. After all, it is make-believe and Santa is no different than playing Spider-man.
Irrational or rational fear that your kids will ruin Christmas
Because we’re going against the grain and leaving Santa out of Christmas it makes me nervous around the holidays. I’m always praying that Josiah doesn’t accidentally slip up and say something he shouldn’t about Santa. Even though we don’t do Santa I would feel terrible if one of my kids messed with someone else’s traditions.
There will still be magic in Christmas
I look forward to Christmas just as much now as I did when I was younger. My kids look forward to Christmas the same way I did even though know who brings their presents. They still rush to get up on Christmas morning to see what’s under the tree because we don’t place their gifts out until they go to bed. They still get excited to see what we bought or made for them. And we still get to enjoy watching Christmas movies, because watching a Santa movie is the same as watching Spider-man at my house.
If your family doesn’t do Santa, what made you make that decision? What things have you come to expect during the holidays?