I know this is sort of a controversial topic for many families and I want to preface this with the fact that I do not pretend to know what the right choice is. I am only doing what I believe is best for MY family and do not fault anyone for doing the same.
We do not teach our children that Santa comes in our home on Christmas Eve to deliver their presents. Hubby and I talked about this a LOT before Bubby was old enough to get the whole Santa thing and we came to the conclusion that we could use the idea of Santa to teach our children some amazing things without lying to them. Again, this is what I believe is best for MY family. I have a huge issue with lying and since we have been going through a little phase with Bubby regarding telling the truth I find myself asking very often “Have I EVER lied to you?” It is a huge point for us that as parents we will not lie to our children about anything, ever.
What we DO tell our children is that Santa is real. We teach them that Santa is more of an idea, the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving. We tell them that everyone is Santa. We also teach them that Santa is a great way for us to be able to give in secret. By saying a gift is from Santa, the person receiving the gift doesn’t know exactly who the gift is from and therefore the gift giving process is solely about the person receiving a gift and not about the gift giver getting recognition. The great thing is, it becomes kind of a fun game for them. They will find ways to sneak a “Santa gift” to someone just because they think it’s fun. I feel that it is important for my children to learn that giving a gift is about the other person and not them, I don’t want them to be prideful about their generosity. We will still put our names on a gift that has a special meaning or story behind it, but most gifts given on Christmas are “Santa gifts”.
We also use the example of Santa giving gifts relating to the gift God gave us by sending Jesus and the gift that Jesus gave us by dying for our sins. I guess I just feel like the whole idea of Santa could be a wasted opportunity to teach my children something so very important if we just did the traditional “Santa brings our gifts” story.
Of course we tell these stories a little differently to each child since they are of different ages, but Bubby specifically, seems to love the idea that he can be Santa. The way we have explained it seems to work pretty well, since we don’t simply say “Santa isn’t real” there is less of a chance for my boys to let the cat out of the bag with other kids that do believe. We make it very clear that some children do believe that Santa is a real person and we have no right to tell them any differently. I just feel like each family needs to decide how they want to handle this topic and just because we do it one way doesn’t mean it is the right way or the only way (which also gives us an opportunity to teach a little about diversity since not everyone celebrates the holidays the same). So there you have it, this is how we handle the topic of Santa.