I guess every holiday deserves a confession.
Our children don't believe in Santa Clause. And it's our fault.
We decided, long before we had children, that we would not do Santa Claus in our family.
I could say it is for religious reasons. I could say it is because we want to focus on Christmas being about Jesus's birth. I could say all those things and more. But that's not the real reason.
I don't ever remember believing in Santa Claus. Hubster doesn't either. And maybe missing out on those memories made our decision easier.
The real reason we decided not to support the idea of Santa Claus was due to watching friends stop believing.
I had friends who described the devastation they felt when they realized Santa wasn't real.
The other reason was the whole idea of lying to my child. I have friends who, even now, go through complicated charades and set-ups to keep their children "believing." Setting out cookies, then eating part of them after the kids are in bed. Addressing presents as "From Santa." Even getting on skis and taking a loop around the yard in the snow to make it look like Santa's sleigh had been there. Or using Santa as a way to manipulate children into good behaviour.
It feels dishonest.
I don't want to lie to my children. I'm not saying I tell them everything about everything. Sometimes I omit (How did the baby get in her tummy?), sometimes I simplify (What is blood made out of?), sometimes I just tell them I can't tell them (Why is that person on the news?). But I'm not going to go out of my way to support what amounts to a lie.
I recognize these might be rather strong feelings. Maybe overly strong. And I don't want anyone to think I'm condemning parents who do promote Santa. We've just chosen not to.
There's another thing about Santa that I don't like. The concept of Santa makes me sad. I always wondered how people explained that Santa only came visit children whose parents made money, but that he didn't visit children who were poor, or homeless, or sick in hospitals.
I desperately wish that there was a Santa, and that he brought new computers and PlayStations and puppies to every child. I wish there was someone that made sure everyone had something to open Christmas morning. I wish there didn't have to be children who only got one pair of socks, or a piece or candy, or nothing.
But wishing doesn't make it so.
So my children don't believe in Santa.
Watching their eyes light up this time of year, I don't think this has decreased the magic that surrounds the season. Or given them any less to believe in.