Saturday, December 08, 2007

To Santa or not to Santa

Do you play Santa in your household?

I don't think there are any two families who play Santa exactly the same way, and some families don't play at all. I don't think I realized how many different ways there are to play or not to play until recently.

As for us, we play Santa. However, Skeeter and I have never presented Santa as real.

I managed to weave through the Santa maze of childhood without terrible disappointment, but Skeeter was absolutely devastated when his older sister told him the truth. He was about 5 years old when he found out the real deal.

Skeeter was completely against Santa. I was for it. So, like in any good relationship, we compromised.

Santa does "visit" our house, bringing a stocking full of socks, chocolates, peppermints, a toothbrush, an orange, and a small toy or two. We don't give large gifts from Santa like my family did, only the stockings.

While Santa does "visit," we have never presented Santa as a real person. The children have been told from the beginning that Santa is a game:

"Santa" a huge game of pretend that everyone plays. That's why adults pretend that Santa is real when we know he's not. But it's only fun if everyone plays along. I'm letting you in on the secret that he's just pretend, but some children don't know. Since you don't know who knows about the game and who doesn't, it's very important that you always remember to play along.

In a nutshell, that's the explanation that we gave to the children.

Spyder took it at face value. He loves to pretend about Santa, but he knows that it's all pretend. This way of presenting it actually did what it was supposed to do for him -- allow him to have all of the fun of Santa without being able to have it ruined by a thoughtless word. And that thoughtless moment did come for Spyder, when an older cousin announced in a haughty tone, "You know Santa's not real, right?" Spyder was 6, and he was able to say (with conviction), "Yeah. Are you just now figuring that out?"

Sass, on the other hand, is completely enamored with the idea of Santa. She wants it to be real so badly that I'm not certain that she accepts that it's all a game. She would be hurt if Cousin did that to her. I keep dropping little reminders, but I'm not sure she's willing to pick up on them. This year, I will have her help me pick out the chocolates and socks for Spyder's stocking, so perhaps that will help.

So, what do you do with your children in the ages-old Santa question?


Fresh Girl said...

Well, I have no children of my own, but I think if I did, I'd do what you and Skeeter have done...let them still have the fun of pretending, while knowing the truth at the same time. With my nephew Thomas, I'm not sure what my brother and SIL are going to do. I HOPE that's what they do. I'd never undermine their choice, but Santa won't be emphasized as much when Thomas is at his Mamaw, Papaw, and Aunt Fresh Girl's house. Thankfully we don't have to worry much about it this year -- he'll just be ten months and so far he doesn't seem to care about any of it. ;)

PEZmama said...

No Santa here at our house. The kids know that mom and dad do the gifts, but we have also explained to them about not ruining it for other kids.

My Goodness said...

So interesting. I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 2 year old...we are not presenting Santa as real either...I've already told my oldest that he is a game, fantasy, like Dora and Cinderella. Every now and then she says something about him bringing gifts and I remind her that mommies and daddies bring gifts, not Santa. It's such a personal decision...I have yet to blog about it...I may be inspired now. Thanks for sharing!