The Great Santa Debate

Ever since we got married, Steve and I have had an ongoing debate over whether or not to do the Santa thing with our children.

Santa Claus was a huge tradition in Steve’s childhood. Santa made yearly visits to the big family Christmas gathering (while some uncle or another mysteriously disappeared for the duration of the visit). He has wonderful memories of Santa, and wants to continue the tradition with our children.

I, however, have mixed thoughts on Santa. When I was about seven, I began to wonder about the feasibility of Santa Claus. How did one fat, bearded man with a large sack of toys manage to fit through people’s chimneys to give gifts to every child in the world in one single night? “Is Santa real?” I asked my parents suspiciously. “Of course, he is!” was the answer I received. I suppose they were trying to keep the magic alive for me, at least for a little while longer. By the next year, I was sure of the truth, and quite disillusioned by the realization that grownups lie to children. Embittered, I spread the bad news to my younger siblings and cousins. Out of that experience, I feel a bit hesitant about spinning the Santa tale for our trusting kids.

That brings us to now, Christmas of 2011. Steve already owns a Santa suit, and is very excited to dress up as jolly Saint Nick for our 2-year-old son. We agreed on a compromise: we will give our child the Santa experience, but whenever he questions the truth about Santa, we will come clean. At some point, he will understand reality from make-believe. Until then, our family will enjoy the fun of setting cookies and milk out on Christmas Eve, and anticipating a visit from Santa Claus.

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