My Daughter Believes In Santa Claus and I Don’t


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My daughter believes in Santa Claus and I Don't. #Christmas #holiday

“Mom, Santa Claus left me a letter in my drawer yesterday,” says my 6-year-old.

Now before I go on… our family does not “do” the Santa Claus thing. From the get-go my husband and I decided we did not want to buy gifts and tell our children it was from someone else. We wanted to foster a trusting relationship with our children and save them the disappointment that comes with discovering that Santa Claus isn’t real; so we kept Santa out of the picture.

Every year we do fun and festive things; we give to the needy, we help out in our community, and we celebrate the birth of Christ.

The avoidance of Santa Claus was easy at first but now that my daughter is almost seven, something interesting is happening.

She believes.

While all the other children her age are starting to deny the existence of jolly old Saint Nick, she has embraced it.

My daughter believes. She really, really, believes in Santa Claus.

She believes so much so that she has told us that Santa will be bringing gifts for all of us… even me, her mom who does not believe.

She has told her three-year-old sister all about Santa Claus too. She’s told her all about that big round guy who lives in the North Pole and who once a year flies around the world and delivers presents to all the good boys and girls. Worse yet, she has told her sister that Santa is coming to our house.

“To our house? Yay!” my 3-year-old exclaims.

So naturally when my daughter tells me that she has found a letter from Santa in her drawer, I press for a bit more information.

“What does the letter say?” I inquire.

“Well Santa wrote that last year all the adult reindeer had died so he couldn’t deliver gifts to us but this year the baby reindeer are old enough to pull his sleigh.”

Morbid.

“Hmmm. May I see this letter?” I ask.

“Oh no Mom. Santa said I must keep it a secret.”

“Really? But we don’t keep secrets except when it’s about gifts.”

“Exactly,” she says.

Well, she got me there.

I feel like I’m living the movie Miracle on 34th Street and I’m almost expecting some round, friendly, old man to move into our neighborhood and befriend our family. Meanwhile, I struggle with the idea that my daughter will wake up on Christmas morning and be disappointed that Santa did not come to our house.

So now I’m full of guilt and concern that perhaps the “magic” of the season will be lost this Christmas. The grief that we tried to protect our daughter from in the first place, could be visiting us this year and that makes this mom feel a little sad.Jennifer-The-Deliberate-Mom-Signature

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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84 thoughts on “My Daughter Believes In Santa Claus and I Don’t

  • Abiola


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    I also made deliberate efforts to demystify Santa, tooth fairies, etc but in the end, children would believe what they want to believe.

    I’m sure the magic of the season would none the less still be preserved as you celebrate Christmas together.

    Mom, don’t be sad because like everything else, this phase will also pass.

    Hugs,

    Abiola.
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  • Janine Huldie


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    I love that she does believe as even though we do know that stuff like this may not exist it is still so very nice, especially at this time of the year to have a bit of faith in the greater good and things that may not be explained away so easily. I know as we get older we lose this ability to indeed believe in things like Santa but sometimes it is nice again just to be able to suspend disbelief and have some faith ;)
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      I find it crazy that we told her the truth from day one yet she still believes.

      I can’t help but feel a little sad though. There won’t be anything under the tree from Santa on Christmas morning… even though she wants there to be something.

      It’s such a complex dynamic… *sigh*.

  • Echo


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    What an amazing imagination she has though! Such a wonderful child-like belief in magic and fairy-tales. I understand your choice behind no Santa. We have Santa, but he doesn’t get nearly as much credit here as he does in other houses. He gets credit for the stocking and nothing else.
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      She definitely does have a great imagination. This situation will be challenging to navigate this season. Hopefully we all come out of it feeling okay. I do wish I could think of a way to alleviate the disappointment she may feel come Christmas morning (when Santa doesn’t come).

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this Echo.

  • Misty


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    Ugh…that’s a hard one. We “did” the Santa thing to an extent, putting an emphasis on St. Nick, and only doing one gift from Santa each year (and never a big one). The girls both quit believing the same year (9 and 6). They weren’t devastated, and both say it’s silly to let bubby (3) believe in Santa. My oldest was however devastated when she realized the tooth fairy wasn’t real. She really, really liked fairies…..
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      We pay our daughter for her teeth. Recently she decided she would forgo the payment and put the tooth under her pillow (despite us saying that it’s the parents that give the money). The next day she was quite disappointed that her tooth was still there. It’s so curious how she’s adamant that this will be different.

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup


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    As I was reading, I felt like I was watching Miracle on 34th Street before you said it. I would say just keep doing what you are doing. Keep the focus where it needs to be. Keep the dialogue open. Pray about it. The truth shall set you free (and hopefully comfort her young little heart!) One year she will understand, even if it isn’t this year. You are always in my prayers, my friend.
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  • Ceil


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    Hi Jennifer! Ah, the Santa thing. I remember my son asked me if he was real. I explained that he wasn’t and it was his Mom and Dad doing the Santa thing all those years.
    He went to school the next day, and came home to inform me that I was ‘wrong’. Sigh…

    Your daughter has such a wonderful imagination. Why not let her just go with it? I wouldn’t be surprised if she is the one who provides the gifts from Santa on Christmas!
    Parenting is hard sometimes, isn’t it?
    Blessings,
    Ceil
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Now that’s an interesting thought I hadn’t considered… maybe SHE’LL be making something of this Santa thing. Maybe it’s her way of taking control of Christmas.

      Very interesting indeed.

      I do plan on keeping the discussions open – as long as she’s open to discussion – and we’ll see where that brings us Christmas morning.

  • Lisa @ The Golden Spoons


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    Oh, so hard!! We have always “done” Santa, but we have set a limit on the gifts and tried very hard to keep the real reason at the center of our season. My oldest (12) knows the truth, but the two youngest still believe and, honestly, I almost wish they didn’t. They are old enough (7 & 12) that they really don’t want toys for Christmas and I feel like I am grasping at straws to come up with gifts for them (that they don’t need OR want) just to say Santa came. My youngest is also certain that the cost of her requests is no matter because Santa’s elves will just make everything. It is a difficult conundrum to be sure. I have no answers, just know I share your concern and frustration – though from a different perspective. :-)
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  • Shilo

    We sort of do Santa, but it’s more of a game that something considered truly real. My daughter didn’t care too much for Santa for the past three years. At 2 years old she even told a Mall Santa that “Santa is creepy.” She always likes to point out what is “real life” and what is not, but that doesn’t stop her from pretending that frost fairies make the frost, mice go to school, or that elves live at the north pole. I don’t push the Santa thing, but at the same time it’s fun to pretend in all the magical and whimsical things that go with childhood. Maybe Grace just wants to play the Santa game. We do a simple stocking (including a mandarin orange and essentials like socks!), put out the milk and cookies, and he gets them one gift. It’s all tongue in cheek though as we all know that Santa Claus is Mama Claus. :)

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Santa is “creepy” – that’s too funny!

      We kind of feel we have to just let her experience this whole thing… even if it means some disappointment on Christmas morning (although I hope that’s not the case).

      For instance, we pay her for her teeth. Recently she decided she would forgo the payment and put the tooth under her pillow (despite us saying that it’s the parents that give the money). The next day she was quite disappointed that her tooth was still there.

      This tooth fairy “non-encounter” makes me so curious why she would be so adamant that Santa Claus will be any different.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspectives on this Shilo. I love hearing other families’ ideas on complex situations such as this.

      • Shilo

        I’m sure it will all work out. The Santa portion of Christmas is a tough issue to crack for everyone. Santa is everywhere. It certainly is a marketing frenzy! Just focus on what the season means to your family. You will all make wonderful Christmas memories no matter what.

  • Amber

    I was excited to see your post and all the comments because my daughter is just starting to ask about Santa. We’ve never talked about him, we’ve never left out milk and cookies, and we’ve always told her that the presents come from us and are to remember the gifts that Jesus was given by the wise men. But- but- her friends at school talk about Santa and he “arrives” on Kwaj (by chopper, because it’s Kwaj!) on Saturday. I think we’re going to tell her that he’s the impersonation of Christmas, kind of like the Easter bunny, but if we tell her that he’s not real, she’s going to tell her friends and then we’re crushing those kids dreams. At this time of year, I’m glad we’re not in the States where you see Santa every where but I’m still not sure how we’re going to work through this one. It was great to read everyone else’s thoughts- I have a few ideas already (and I’m definitely taking your one about buying teeth instead of the tooth fairy!).
    Amber at OurCharmedLife.net

  • [email protected]


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    This is hard!

    We do Santa, but with a focus on Christ and how without him there would be no Christmas. I like mixing the two. Childhood is so short that I wanted magic, goodness, faith and miracles to be a part of it. I feel like they will grow up and look back at the moments of magic when they were young and enjoy them like I do now. We have a picture on our wall that hangs right underneath a sign that hangs all year. The sign says “This house believes” and at Christmas we hang a picture under it of Santa kneeling at the manger.

    Good luck as you try to find the right balance. Maybe Santa can write a letter back or someone who does good things to help others?
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Yes, we’re in a tough spot here and we totally didn’t see this coming. We figured we tell her that we give her gifts and that there’s no Santa and we would be good to go. We would have never predicted her believing despite what we’ve told her.

      Very interesting indeed.

      Thank you for sharing a glimpse of the way your family celebrates. It’s fascinating to here of different traditions and approaches.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      She has an extraordinary imagination. It’s just uncanny how she has just clung onto this idea of Santa Claus! Seriously… she’s homeschooled so she doesn’t get much peer influence. She watches the shows we choose off of Netflix, so it’s not like she’s seeing commercials, and we haven’t even encountered one at the mall yet this year!

      It will be interesting to see how things unfold on Christmas day. Maybe she’s Santa!

  • Jaime Buckley


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    Sorry I didn’t comment sooner Jennifer–been one of those deeply NON-magical days…except without the magic part.

    I’ll love seeing how this all plays out.
    Not to make light of you or your feelings, but I love the imagination and belief power of children. We don’t believe in Santa either, but I don’t go out of my way to challenge anyone on it.

    …remember, I’m the guy who believes in pixies, fairies, dwarves and gnomes. I’ve read authoritative books like the bible talk about giants, dragons and…well, you get the idea. So I can’t begrudge a little girl believing in someone who has the backing of a good slice of the world.

    What bothers me is it’s mostly corporate America.

    We have something similar going on here–but it’s with the tooth fairy. I LOVED Shecki’s story above…hehe, but my little girl (4 yrs old) is convinced when she loses a tooth, that placing that tooth on the corner of Lilies candle holder (a classic base with the lovely carving of a fairy)…she’ll come and exchange the tooth for a few coins.

    I couldn’t resist leaving the coins.

    Well, that and…writing a complex, tiny letter on 0.5″x0.5″ sheet of paper.
    (I have some cool tools to create fictional fun)

    What can I say–I think imagination is wonderful and I prefer a child that believes too much than too little. But that’s just me. =)
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      We do so much to foster creativity and imagination… perhaps that’s what got us into trouble in the first place *wink*. I think she can have “magic” without us “lying” to her about Santa Claus.

      I’m curious to see how things pan out too. Ceil mentioned that my daughter might even be the one to play the Santa role… now wouldn’t that be neat.

      Curious moments indeed.

      I love your idea of writing a teeny, tiny note because I like little things. I wish I lived in a hobbit house.

  • Brittany Bullen


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    Jennifer,

    That’s so interesting! All along you’ve been telling her there’s no Santa but she’s decided there IS a santa after all… you’re right, that is totally Miracle on 34th Street! Haha not to worry. It wasn’t super fun finding out he wasn’t real, but for me it certainly wasn’t heartbreaking. I’m sure she’ll be fine. Good for her for having a vivid imagination!

    =)

    Brittany
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  • Amanda


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    I remember believing in Santa and I remember finding out he wasn’t real and I remember not being bothered by it at all. My husband’s family never did Santa so he doesn’t ‘get’ why I perpetuate the myth (even going as far as bringing Christmas Mice from the North Pole to our house) but I think there’s only a short window of our lives where ANYTHING seems completely possible and I don’t see any reason to shorten that time. I tell our kids that Santa brings them one present each year regardless of their behavior (just like the gift of Salvation) and Gramma fills the stockings!
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      It’s so interesting to hear different perspectives on this. I don’t think there’s any “right way” either. We’re doing what we were convicted to do. My husband and I were in complete agreement when we decided there would be no Santa.

      This recent turn of events is curious though. It will be certainly interesting to see what happens over the next 23 days.

  • Nina


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    My five-year-old recently asked about Santa, which we also don’t “do.” I don’t hide it; we sing songs about Santa and I’m sure he’s seen him around, but we don’t play it up or buy gifts from Santa. I’m curious to see how he will interpret it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’ll also believe in Santa even if we don’t!
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  • Amber


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    So sweet that she believes. We do the Santa thing, but I know many people who do not. We’re just honest: if the kids ask if he’s real, we tell the truth. For instance, my son is 12 and he knows the truth. But my daughter is 7 and still believes.
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  • Stephanie


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    Tough one. I would probably respond, were it my kid, that it’s wonderful to embrace the spirit of giving in the way that our modern day Santa Clause does and talk about how it morphed from Saint Nick to Santa Clause (I’ve never researched in depth the history of the real Saint Nick but I’m pretty sure that was the gist of it). I’d try to focus on giving to others vs “fat man in a suit.” Which is kinda creepy now that I think about it… he knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good… wait a minute, are we talking about Santa or Jesus?! lol

    We did the Santa thing, but our daughter figured it out when she was 10. Which was fine with me, it’d went on long enough for my taste. She was actually mad at us for lying to her, and still, two years later, will ask me why parents lie to their kids about it. I see her point. I really think some kids just handle hearing the truth about Santa/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny better than others, and I think there’s no way to predict that before it’s too late to have made a decision one way or another. It’s definitely one of those tricky parenting choices.
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  • Vanessa


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    This is an interesting conversation for me. I know that some people don’t “do” Santa, but I never really thought about not doing it with our kids. I remember loving the magic of the Christmas season as a kid. I think I had doubts often, but there was something special about really thinking maybe you heard the reindeer on the roof or jingling sleigh bells. I don’t even remember finding out he wasn’t real. It was more a gradual realization as I grew older.

    That being said, in our family the kids only get one gift (aka the fun gift – haha) from Santa. The rest are from us. And we have daily conversations about the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Our kids are too young yet to be caught up in the commercialism of the season (they are 4, 3, and 2), but I plan to nip it in the bud when it comes to asking for extravagant presents when they’re older just because “Santa can make anything” or protests of that nature. :)

    Hopefully your daughter doesn’t take it too hard on Christmas morning. It sounds like she really WANTS to believe, even thought she probably has doubts deep down. I agree with another commenter, I bet some presents from “Santa” make their way under the tree. Good luck!
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  • Amanda @ Growing Up Madison


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    And here I was thinking I was the only mom who did that. I told my kids that he didn’t exist and my husband said I was “spoiling” the magic of Christmas. My toddler is 2 and I’ve already told her that he doesn’t exist either, but that doesn’t stop us from going to the mall and taking pics with jolly old Nick. I love that your daughter has such a great imagination and maybe when Madison gets older she’ll be the same. In the meantime enjoy the Holidays!
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  • Cindy Hasko


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    Great post! Everytime my little one brings up Christmas and/or gifts, right away I will ask him “Who was born on Christmas day?” He says “Jesus”. I say
    “That’s right. It’s Celebrating the birth of Jesus and not all about getting presents.” Last time I said that, he replied “Aweee, baby Jesus.” I mean, nobody knows the TRUE birth date of Jesus, but like you, I want my boy to know it’s about Christ and giving to the needy. Ohhh, their little minds want the magic so bad. I can’t blame them, it’s so nice to have a fairy tale every now and then in this crazy world ;) I still want to be a Disney Princess for crying out loud, after all, anything & everything Disney IS real, ha! ;) *wink*
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Thank you for the kind and encouraging words Cindy. This has been a little emotional. I want Christ to be the focus but the world certainly pulls our children in the other direction doesn’t it?! I homeschool, we go to church, we don’t allow her to watch TV (only DVDs we provide), yet she still fell for the Santa thing.

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Kitchen


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    This is probably not what you want to hear but I’ll say it anyway ;) Your daughter is so cute! I admire her imagination :) And it’s true, I guess, kids believe what they want to believe. They live in this fantasy world and it’s a realistic world to them. I’m 20 now and I still live in this world sometimes ;) Not in such an extreme way of course. But I dream.
    I don’t really know how you can protect her from the dissapointment :s Who gave her this letter?
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Yes, she has an incredible imagination and I admire that in her.

      Since she refused to show the letter, I’m guessing there isn’t one and she just made it up? No one here would write one to her.

      It will be interesting to see what this Christmas holds for her… and us.

      Thanks so much for stopping my Sarah. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this.

  • Alex

    I see the good intentions of what you’re trying to do, and I agree that Christ is of course the center of Christmas, but I also believe that the Santa myth has a lot to teach Christian children about Christ and their faith. You may want to visit this link for some very good perspective on the subject: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/december/why-santa-belongs-in-your-kids-christmas.html?paging=off
    However if you choose not to entertain your daughter’s hope for a visit from Santa, I hope you let her down gently, before Christmas morning (to avoid bad Christmas memories and heartbreak).

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Hi Alex! Thank you for sharing your perspective on this. I did read the article… thank you very much for sharing. I do like the idea of a gift from a stranger that “was not earned”.

      The thing is Alex, for us we can share the “story” of Santa with no issue with that aspect of it. It’s the giving of the gifts (that are actually from us) and labeling it as it being from Santa Claus, that for us, is an outright lie to our children. This goes beyond faith and rather is based on principle. My husband, who is not a Christian, 100% agrees with refraining from perpetuating the whole Santa thing. Then myself, as a Christian, I feel that children can still find “magic” and imagination if you will, in the books we read, in the beauty of creation, and in real life experiences.

      We have always shared the “truth” surrounding Christmas; that Santa Claus is a “character” and where the idea derived from. For some reason, this year she has clung onto it as truth… regardless of what we say. So we will see. We have three weeks until the big day. Hopefully much changes before then.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment and leaving the link to a resource.

  • Debbie


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    Hi Jennifer, as parents we always try to do what we see as best for our children, but as your story proves there are no fool proof solutions. As I read about your daughter desperately wanting to believe that there is a Father Christmas I felt a knot in my stomach.

    Your daughter has an imagination that many would envy and I feel for you for having not been able to protect your children from potential disappointment.. But I have a feeling that it will all turn out well (as it did in A Miracle on 34th Street!), after all she has proved that she has a great imagination and she’s not scared to use it!

    My two, who are very nearly 15 and 17 have never questioned the existence of Father Christmas (of course they have, but never directly to me). I have a few small gifts ready for their stockings on Christmas morning and we will be putting out a mince pie and some carrots on Christmas eve. It’s what just what we do.

    I also remember as teenagers me and my sister preparing stockings for our parents from Father Christmas ( it really made their day, maybe knowing that we were thinking of others and not just ourselves), that became a family tradition until the Christmas I left.
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Thank you for sharing this resource Lyssa. I like the idea of when being asked if he’s real to say no but to acknowledge her eagerness by saying “it’s fun to pretend that he is”. I’ll have to show that to my husband and discuss it as an option of a way to respond to our daughter if she persists in this manner.

      Thanks once again for thinking of me/us.

  • Lauren


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    This might be a long comment, so I apologize in advance ;)
    Thank you for writing this. We don’t do Santa either. We knew before we even were expecting our first that we wouldn’t, but I’ve found that as my kids have gotten to the ages they are (6, 4, and 2), I’ve begun to wonder if we made a mistake. Last year was especially difficult as the kids were extremely confused about whether Santa was real or not. We’ve always told them that he isn’t (although they do know the real story of St. Nicholas), but everywhere we went, they were bombarded with him. Add to that my guilt about taking the magic out of the season and my fear that they would let the cat out of the bag to their friends and I second guessed myself a lot. This year hasn’t been as confusing for them thankfully, and my sister said something that helped me. Her kids are 12 and 10 and they’ve never done Santa either. We were chatting about Christmas and traditions that her kids were looking forward to doing again this year and she assured me that they haven’t felt as though they’ve missed out on anything. Christmas has been just as special and magical for them without Santa as it would have been with him.
    I know our situations aren’t exactly the same, but I just thought I’d share that to let you know I appreciate knowing I’m not totally alone. I often avoid telling other parents we don’t do Santa for fear they won’t understand, so it’s nice to know there are other parents out there doing the same thing as us.
    I told you it would be a long comment, haha.
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      First off… never apologize for a long comment. Long or short… I just love that you’ve taken the time to share.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this. I have felt very alone and somewhat ostracized with the approach we take to Christmas. I have felt guilt as well. I, for one, think my children can have a “magical” childhood without Santa, elves, Easter bunnies, and tooth fairies. I think the “magic” they experience which is based in reality is something that’s beautiful and lasting. Nature, animals, experiences, travel… all of these things can be “magical”.

      Thank you once again for sharing.

  • MB


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    Very interesting blog. Although we fed into the whole Santa thing, my kids are older now and pretty much outgrown it. It has crossed my mind that it’s not the best idea in building trust, but it’s so ingrained in our culture that it’s hard not to participate. I found it a little frustrating when my son was in preschool and asked me if Rudolph was real. I said no and then he went to school and told a girl. She cried and was upset, but, to me, I thought it was a little ridiculous and unfair to confuse the girl like this. What are we the rules? And when they differ from others, what’s the protocol? I guess it’s like any other hot topic.
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  • Steph @MisplacedBrit


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    Haha! Well… That was a rabbit from a hat!

    Maybe ‘practicing’ believing is no bad thing at all…
    It’s what you hope she’s going to do for the rest of her life too isn’t it ;-)
    Heb 11:1
    …faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…

    There are going to be times she prays, and ends up disappointed. A certain amount of ‘grief’ may be expected from all things related to hope and belief. I don’t think we need to ‘protect’, I think we need to stand beside.

    Random ramblings, though perhaps a funny comparison :-)
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      I’ve thought about Santa in relation to faith and the thing is and I can’t see the connection. I feel in giving gifts and saying they are from Santa is an outright lie. I would never want my children to think that the truth of Christ, God, and scripture to be false because I have laid a foundation of mistrust (i.e. well if Mom lied about Santa, why wouldn’t she lie about God). I’m not saying that’s the way it would be but what I am saying is I would think that by not participating at least I’m not outright doing something that goes against our established principles.

      Believe me Steph, I have contemplated so many aspects of this, it’s ridiculous. I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve realized that I’m in over my head and prayer is the only “answer”.

      Yes, disappointments are unavoidable and that is a great point and perhaps the bigger lesson will come after Christmas. We will see.

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. It has been so interesting and refreshing to hear how other families celebrate Christmas. Seeing other perspectives is so rich.

      Blessings to you and yours.

  • Lysa


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    Hi Jennifer,

    I have been wanting to read this post all week but just haven’t had the time until now. I’m trying to adjust to a new schedule while co-hosting the Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday Link Party this month. There were lists to make, LOL, and a new schedule to layout, and all of those other obsessively organized things to do as you can probably imagine. Thankfully I now have a handle on things. ;-)

    Enough about my crazy week though. As I read this post I must admit that I became all teary eyed as my heart ached for not only you but your daughter as well. I completely understand your decision on not doing the whole Santa thing. Honestly I have always felt really guilty at Christmas time because I felt that I was lying to my children by pretending Santa was real while at the same time teaching them how important honesty was.

    Despite the guilty feelings we have always had presents from Santa under our tree along with stockings filled until bursting also from him. We always bake our Christmas cookies the week before Christmas so they are fresh for gift giving and every year we make “special” cookies just for Santa.

    Many years ago I purchased a set with a glass and a plate that was made just for Santa on Christmas Eve and each year before bed we set out his “special” cookies with that glass filled with milk. We also leave carrots for the reindeer to fuel up on as well. So every Christmas Eve after the kids are sound asleep I eat the cookies and dump out the milk, I’m allergic to milk, and I use only my front two teeth to leave scrape marks on a carrot to make it look like the reindeer made them and eat the rest with the cookies.

    But we have always focused on Christ as well during the this time of year. Being raised Catholic I continued the tradition of dragging them to midnight mass for many years. Now that my husband, Kenny, and I are ordained ministers I no longer practice Catholicism so we will not be attending this year. We also have a birthday cake every year for Christ and hold a little family party to celebrate his birth.

    Well, three years ago, the magic of Santa was ruined for my youngest daughter, Kelsey, and I still feel bad for the way she found out and even more guiltier about lying to them about Santa for so many years. It was our first Christmas in this house back when it was just my girls and I living here. I began gathering all of the presents from their hiding places and put them under the tree and I must have woken Brooklynn up because she came out into the living room sneaking up on me. She saw the heartbroken look on my face and assured me it was okay because she no longer believed. :'(

    The two of us began filling Kelsey’s stocking together when to our surprise she too snuck up on us and asked us why we were filling her stocking as she looked at all of the presents under the tree and began to cry. At that exact moment she realized that Santa didn’t exist. I eventually calmed her down and explained to the best of my ability in the middle of the night where the whole Santa thing came from and that it was me all along. Needless to say we didn’t really sleep that night. And as I promised her we still leave this fictional man his “special” cookies and they still write a letter to Santa as well but now they just leave it on my dresser in an envelope instead of asking for me to send it off in the mail.

    Sorry this was soooooo long but I felt I needed to tell you this story to explain why I’m going to say what I have to say next. If you have told her the truth all along what harm would it do to leave just one gift from Santa for each of you under the tree? Maybe just write his name on one of the tags placed under the tree and inside leave a note that simply reads, Love Mommy and Daddy? That way you aren’t going against what you believe in completely and are still giving her the wish of a present from Santa under the tree. It’s just an idea that came to me while I was reading this post…hope that maybe it helps you in this sensitive and difficult predicament you are in.

    Much love,
    Lysa
    Lysa recently shared this amazing post…My “Blonde” Problems #5My Profile

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Oh Lysa. Reading what YOU had to share brought tears to my eyes.

      This is a tough situation and I think at this point in time we might need more time and prayer. I don’t want to “feed the mania” she has but I do want to make sure she’s “let down” as gently as possible. I like the idea of telling her that he’s not real but acknowledging that it is fun to pretend he’s real. Then she can “do” whatever she likes – whether it be that she makes her own gifts, etc.

      We’ll see. Less than 3 more weeks!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I appreciate reading about your experience with this whole Santa thing.

      Blessings to you my friend.

      • Lysa


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        Sorry to make you all teary eyed Jennifer but felt it was important to share that story with you as we never want to see our children hurt…especially by us, the parents. I do like the idea of acknowledging he isn’t real but how it is still fun to pretend he is. You are always in my prayers friend and I will pray that you find the perfect solution to this dilemma soon so you no longer have to worry about it.

        Much love,
        Lysa

        P.S. Congratulations for being featured on BlogHer! What an awesome accomplishment for you! :-) xx
        Lysa recently shared this amazing post…My “Blonde” Problems #5My Profile

  • Katie | The Surly Housewife

    Oh Mama. I feel so bad for you. I can only imagine how worried you are about your girls are going to feel on Christmas morning. HOWEVER, I think we sometimes worry when we don’t need to be. The girls may not even notice. And if they do, I am sure you are more than ready to handle it. I haven’t read all the comments above, but it looks like you have gotten some great advice :)

    We too have never done the Santa thing. Even though we aren’t Christian, if our daughters chose to be, we wanted them to grow up knowing the reason for the season. Honestly, my mom was more upset the girls didn’t believe in Santa than the girls ever were!

    Hang in there and I hope your family has a wonderful holiday season :)
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      You are so right about worrying and that usually things are far better than we anticipated (thanks for that reminder)!

      You don’t do the Santa thing either? Do you find it challenging to live in a culture of people who “do” the Santa thing (and with such rigor”?

      It will be an interesting season and I truly think all of us will gain something from this year’s festivities.

      Thanks for sharing your kind words Katie.

      • Katie | The Surly Housewife

        No we have never done Santa. We didn’t set out to say, “Santa isn’t real!” We just never brought it up. When they did learn about him (ahem Grandma), we said, “No he isn’t real.” Same with the tooth fairy. I had to chuckle at Thanksgiving when Fofo replied to someone “Santa and the tooth fairy are NOT real!”

        I don’t find it challenging since the kids don’t go to public school. It would be harder then because I wouldn’t want them to wreck it for other kids. Nothing against families who do Santa. It just isn’t our thing :)
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    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author


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      Awww, I’m glad you liked it. It was a tough one to share – my goodness, some people really struggle with the idea of someone doing something different than them. I’m not saying Santa is bad! I’m just saying we don’t want to do it and we haven’t done it for the first almost seven years of her life… we’re not about to start doing it now.

      Anyway,I’m delighted you enjoyed this post.