Thursday, March 29, 2012


So I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day, and we were reminiscing about a local restaurant we used to go to every Saturday morning when I was a kid.

Me:  Ahhh, I remember that place!  That's where I discovered how well scrambled eggs and cream cheese go together... and the first place I tasted coffee... and that was where I learned Santa wasn't real!

Max:  WHAT!?!  SANTA. ISN'T. REAL?!?

Oops.  He was engrossed in playing a video game and it did not even occur to me that he was listening. I just chuckled and said, "Haha... I was just joking!" and he didn't ask any more questions - probably because he's not ready to ask those questions yet.  (When he does start asking, I plan to do a lot of "Well, what do you think?" and let him work it out for himself.)  Crossing my fingers that he'll forget about this conversation by Christmas...


  1. Oh my! You almost blew it big time. This was a hard one for my family. Personally, I love that innocent belief in magic. I wish my children could still have that. We did exactly what you're talking about doing when they started asking questions. Since it took them a while to truly stop believing, those questions lasted a few years. They didn't want to stop believing. We let them believe until they wanted to stop.

  2. I did *not* cater to this belief. It seemed a set up--a gateway belief--for religion.

    The Tooth Fairy was the first to, uh, bite the dust. I always spun Easter as more a Spring Festival than anything Easter Bunnery, and when the kids asked about Santa point-blank (lots of exposure when in school), I came right out with it.

    My son was disappointed, but it also came around the time one classmate was threatening him with hell for not believing ("I'm not sure about god," is what my son had said. That was enough for damnation to a second grader).

    Giving him confidence that I would not lie or mislead was why I could not support the charade. We love make-believe, but not fallacies.

  3. I have a lot of wonderful memories of my family's Christmas traditions, and I was not at all devastated when I learned the truth about Santa as a child. On the contrary, I think that the experience of first believing in a lovely story and then coming to the realization that - although it was a nice idea - it wasn't really true, that I eventually extended that logic to apply the existence of all supernatural beings. I was on the fence for awhile about what policy to adopt on Santa-vs-No-Santa issue, but the following post by "Parenting Beyond Belief" author Dale McGowan helped me crystallize my thoughts on the matter. I'm okay with letting them have this bit of childhood magic, and I think it will be a useful learning experience in the future.

    Here's that post:

    1. I agree. We don't go through any extreme measures to keep our kids believing longer, and I'm really proud when they start figuring it out. A good exercise in critical thinking!

  4. I don't know anyone who was permanently traumatized by finding out there's no Santa. I DO know a lot of people who wouldn't give up those fabulous childhood memories for anything....Me included.

  5. I learned a new word to use for Santa et. al. a few months back that I really like: Legendary. (not that the word was new, just the application. :~D ) I like it better than Mythical or Fairy-tale or any of the other things I've heard. It is a word of wonder and adventure and excitement - like Santa.

    I have a 13 year old (tomorrow) who still believes in Santa <3 I *love* this. It gets harder and harder not to "slip up" in front of him, but he is a hard-core imagineer and invests very deeply in his stories and fiction. I try to keep the myth-busting to bigger things like urban myths and life/limb-threatening things.

    I tried, early on, to disabuse him of the tooth fairy legend. For some reason, that one really pushed my buttons: people selling body parts they can do without - where could *that* lead?! :~D All was well and good until he lost his first tooth. Then, he came to me and said, "I know there isn't any tooth fairy, but can we pretend there is?" Well, heck. How could I say no to that? That's when I knew how invested he becomes in his fiction.

    I was very upset to learn what people thought of Santa. I had someone tell me in 4th grade, "There is no Santa!" in scathing tones. I went to my mom for verification that I was right, but she sided with the enemy. As we lay there in my bed and the weight of this reality was sinking in, she also offered, "And no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy or anything else". Ugh!! Santa was bad enough! Couldn't you just let me deal with that for a while, Mom?! But, she wanted to be done with the pretending, so she was only too happy to put them back into the story books.

    That took the magic out of Christmas for a long time for me. Eventually, I realized I don't care what other people think, I DO believe in Santa. He lives in every heart that loves to see the sparkle in a child's eyes when they open a gift. He's as real as my heart. :~)

    After the Tooth Fairy incident with Wyl, I decided to give my kids the information I had about stuff and let them come to their own conclusions. Whether that is Santa or if the Myth Busters really *did* bust that myth or what to believe philosophically or religion-wise...


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