I seem to be finding myself in this cyclone of opposing views when it comes to certain topics...of the top of my head, Halloween and Santa. I could name a few un-holiday related topics in which I have left situations not really knowing whether it was 1)me trapped in a different culture of circumstance (and i just don't fit in) 2)I need different family and friends or 3) I could be the one who is off her rocker.
Regardless, here is another perspective based on my experiences/views with my own children, students, reality, Jesus....etc etc. A preemptive note: I am not so Scrooge-like where I would think otherwise of family and friends who do not jump on the same notion bandwagon. So, don't be all negative in thinking about my tune. It's just something to think about as you will never dodge the age old question from your kids, "is santa real?"
As an educator and a mom, I know the its developmentally appropriate to nurture a childs ability to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. It's important for their cognition and we should be recognizing that as a huge factor in their achievement in that area. They will see and hear all sorts of things in media, movies, school, and from friends, so it's inevitable that the reality/fantasy dilemma will come up. When our kids have nightmares or scary thoughts, we tell them, "they aren't real, don't worry, nothings going to happen because they don't exist." How do you expect our kids to trust us if we are sending mixed messges on reality. It causes confusion when they try to conceptualize how Santa could be real. Don't even get me started on the creepy lady coming into your bedroom taking your teeth. My son wouldn't pull his teeth (hanging by threads) because he was afraid of a stranger coming into our house. So, ya, trust is a big issue with me and my kids. I don't love having a household full of no sleep, fear, and falsehoods.
Some things are real...some things are not
Is Santa real? No...but Jesus is. The truth in that is far more magical and worthy of celebrating. My youngest is 8 and at first when he asked, I would cringe because I felt dissonance between the outcome of telling this particular offspring the truth version AND the fantasy version. The old me would say, "it depends on the child" whether or not to tell them the truth. The new me would say, "tell them the truth no matter what." Matter of fact, I wish I would have started them out knowing that Santa is just a fictional character that we enjoy telling stories about...the focus wouldn't be on Santa it would be on Jesus. Even if you don't believe in Jesus...Santa still isn't real. We still can have fun with Santa and if your household can't enjoy the multitude of meaningful traditions and giving of generous proportions that occur on the Holidays without Santa, then that is concerning to me (still, true to my preemptive note, not judging).
This is a gift....from us!
Why the heck would I let Santa, whom we never see, and only talk about once a year, take credit in the things I spent a lot of time, thought, and money into getting my kids? My husband and I love getting things for our boys that we know they will love. And, moreso, when I was a kid (and even as an adult) It made everything all the more special knowing that my parents know exactly who I am and what I love. The look and emotion in our kids' face is pricesless...knowing it came from us, not a stranger. There is plenty of jolly in that alone.