Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town! Or Is He?

One December back before we had kids I asked my husband what he thought about the whole Santa Claus deal when it comes to childhood. He instantly nixed the idea of telling kids that Santa was a real person who delivered presents. He didn't think that as parents you should lie to your children about where their presents come from or that a man would come into your home while they were sleeping. I instantly felt pretty upset by our different ideas around the Santa debate but over the years I've leaned towards my husbands more logical approach. Speed up to the present and we have never pretended that a fat jolly man comes into our apartment to deliver presents. However, there is still a special spot for Santa in our family Christmas!

You see, I grew up with warm fuzzy ideas around believing in Santa. I had nothing but positive experiences when it comes to the old guy dropping off presents for us. I loved leaving out milk and cookies and finding the crumbs in the morning with my sisters. Of course, there was the time around grade 3 when I figured out that there really was no real Santa flying around the world dropping off presents for boys and girls. I felt sad for a second but it all made sense to me and I was happy to keep up the Santa fantasy for my younger sister.

When the clock is striking twelve,
When I'm fast asleep
Down the chimney, broad and black,
With your pack you'll creep
All the stockings you will find
Hanging in a row
Mine will be the shortest one,
You'll be sure to know. -Lyrics from Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas

It's 1982 and I'm with my older sister and I believed in Santa Claus!

At 4 years old Ben really loves to read books about Santa and particularly Rudolph! Through his school chums and his cousins, and from books and movies too, he has learned about the whole world of Santa Claus without us having told him a thing. Recently I asked him what he thought about Santa and he gave me an answer that reinforced that he is his fathers son! He told me quite frankly that Santa is a character just like Ernie or Dora. I love the insight of children and that they can hold on to parts of the magic if they want to.

Meeting Ernie at Busch Gardens in Florida was a huge moment for Ben. You could see his joy in his face when he ran up to Ernie for a hug.

He loved playing with these characters at Busch Gardens and his happiness was through the roof. He has lots of fond memories of this afternoon we had together.

Even though we have both decided to tell our children that Santa is not a real person, Ben still wants to leave milk and cookies out and loves to hear stories about the character Santa and all the fun he gets up to at the North Pole. In fact, tonight when we were telling stories before bed he asked for a North Pole story about naughty elves and I obliged. I can totally get behind that kind of childhood imagination.

Caught up in the moment I'm sure Ben forgot that there were real people inside the costumes.

Do you encourage your children to hear Santa's footsteps on your roof or see a flash of reindeer in the sky on Christmas eve? Or do you side with my overly logical husband when it comes to good ol' St. Nick?


We have decided never to lie to our kids, so we will not be trying to convince Baby L that "Santa" is alive and well. We will give her the historical account of St. Nick, however. We haven't quite fleshed out how this will all go down, since it will depend on how much she even thinks about Santa, given that she will one day attend a Christian school that does not do any "Santa" things but focuses exclusively on the nativity story. So our approach will happen fairly organically I think.

December 14, 2012 at 6:14 AM  
mitzi said...

im also on the logical side of things but i dont know what ill be doing just yet. i do remember waking up to a doll beside me at the tender age of 4y/o and my mom saying 'i dont know' when i asked where it came from. it was so amazing of a feeling that i still remember how it felt to this day and i still have the doll. even if i now know my mom snuck it in while we were asleep, the magic of it all trumps the day i realized there was no such thing as santa.

December 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM  

Well, I am more on the side of your husband's logic while Chris was more like you! We never really told Jacob about Santa and somehow he has been drawn into the fantasy and believes in Santa with almost no prompting from us. We'll see if he asks to put out milk and cookies, but I'll only do it if he asks! I prefer that my children know where gifts come from and be grateful to the person that thought of them and wanted to give.

December 14, 2012 at 3:55 PM  
Natalie said...

We are all about Santa in this household! I think that in this "at times" challenging and difficult world we live in, believing in the magic and spirit of Christmas will not cause any harm to children. I have never talked to anyone that was resentful towards their parents for celebrating Santa and all that goes along with it. Childhood and the associated innocence is very short lived, so I will celebrate the magic feeling that my kids get when chatting about Santa visiting. I will never forget gazing towards the night sky and the feeling of magic, love, and excitement that I had. I too want that for my children...while they are children.

December 15, 2012 at 4:32 PM  

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