4 Santa Controversies: Where Do You Fall in the Santa Debates?

Yes, we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but if you double check the calendar, Christmas is only 50 days away. And chances are that the next time you walk into the mall, your favorite big box store, or, really, just about anywhere, you're going to see holiday decor, hear holiday music, and start seeing all things related to the holiday and the man in the red suit. Whether this will be your first Christmas season as a parent or you've done this before, you may still have some questions about how to handle these Santa dilemmas (if Christmas and the red-suited visitor are your thing). Today we're looking at four of the controversies parents may be faced with regarding Saint Nick. 

santa debates
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{ MORE: So Much Cuteness! Little Babies Meeting Santa for the First Time }

Should You Tell Your Child Santa is Real?

For many parents, telling their child Santa exists is a no-brainer. Santa provides so many children with so much delight it may seem odd that there is even a question that any parent who celebrates Christmas would tell their child about Santa. Belief in Santa can be part of a healthy imagination in kids. But some parents believe that telling their child a man in a red suit flies around the entire world in one night delivering presents is an outright lie and do not want to lie to their child. 

These parents argue that while children should be encouraged to be creative and imaginative, parents should not convince their child that an imaginary character is real.   Is Santa harmless fun or does he degrade a child's ability to trust his parents and distinguish fact from fiction?  There is no right answer, but it's worth giving some thought to how your family will handle this question while your child is still very young.  

When Your Child Questions Santa, Should You Tell Them the  Truth?  

Even the most ardent believers in Santa reach an age where they start having questions.   Common doubts may take the form of questions like “how there can be so many Santas?” and “why do they all look a little different?”; “how can Santa get around the world in one night?”; “why are there no other flying Reindeer?”; or “why did Santa never bring that pony?” your child has asked for every year.  Some parents believe once a child starts to doubt Santa's existence it's time to fess up and tell the truth.  

Other parents want to hang onto Santa and that bit of childhood magic for a long time.  These parents may tell children that Santa stops bringing presents if they no longer believe in him or imply in other ways that Christmas won't be as fun without Santa.  Doubts typically start to arise in children between 5.5 and 7.  Be on the lookout for doubts and be prepared to answer any questions, no matter what you decide the right answer is.  

Should Santa Give Expensive Gifts? 

Some parents delight in Santa bringing their child the latest, greatest gadget.  Other parents want to give their child the same expensive gifts some of their child's friends receive but can't afford it.  What's the result?  Kids whose parents have fewer resources may be really disappointed come Christmas morning – not because they didn't get the latest gadget or gaming system, but because they think they weren't good enough for Santa to get it for them. 

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The solution?  Many parents ask that you let Santa bring the more modest gifts most parents can afford and make it clear that the expensive ones are from family members with more money.  This way, Santa isn't playing favorites and kids whose parents can afford it can still give their kids anything their heart desires without guilt.   

Should a Scared Child be Forced to Sit on Santa's Lap? 

Parents fall into two categories here:  Those who will get the photo at any cost and those who don't think letting their child cry is worth a cute photo.  It's hard to deny that those photos of crying kids with Santa are cute or that the kids who got upset at the sight of Santa will one day cherish them.  There is also something to be said for a family tradition with a long, unbroken line of Santa photos year after year. 

On the other hand, no matter how long a parent has waited in line, some parents don't hesitate to take their screaming child as far away from Santa as possible.  It only takes a moment to get the photo so it's hard to think that sending a crying child onto Santa's lap does any long-term damage but it's completely understandable to not want to force your child to do something they don't want to just to get a photo.   As with the other Santa debates, there is no right or wrong answer.

{ MORE: Was Raising a Family Really Easier 50 Years Ago? }

Where do you fall in the great Santa debates? 

What do you think?

4 Santa Controversies: Where Do You Fall in the Santa Debates?

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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