The Santa Question: What is Your Family’s Approach to Santa?

santa question
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What is your family's approach to Santa? That is the question we asked parents on Facebook. Here are some of their answers about how their families handle the Santa Question!

Lenora W: When my older kids started questioning Santa, I told them that Santa Is REAL! He may not be that guy in the fuzzy red suit. He may be the gentleman that you held the door for. It could be a teacher at school. It could be the older lady at the restaurant you waved and smiled at. Santa is kindness, love, generosity, and happiness for those around you. KINDNESS IS ALWAYS FREE!

Lauren M: We let our children believe in Santa Claus, which they still do until this day. They are catching on but why not let them have a magical Christmas like I did growing up? They know the true meaning of Christmas they know all about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, that it's Jesus's birthday, and they know about Saint Nicholas (who has since been cast down from being a Saint …). As long as they know the true meaning, why not throw a little extra magic in there for them?

Lindsey H: We absolutely celebrate Santa! My daughter will be 20-months-old on Christmas, so it will be the first time she really “gets” it. I am SO excited to share in the magic of the season and the spirit of giving with her! Family time, lights, Christmas stories/movies, decorations, cookies, gifts, the whole nine yards … I can't wait!

{ MORE: Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Kids NOW }

Jenny B: We focus on Jesus and others during the Christmas season. But we don't ignore Santa either. We treat him like Mickey Mouse. He's just a character in a book and movies. We still go to get pictures with him (the free ones, not paying major bucks for this). Gifts come from Mommy and Daddy.

Sara A: We love Christmas and my 6-year-old completely believes in Santa. He writes a letter, we do pictures every year, Elf on the Shelf is a favorite in our house, watch Christmas movies, leave milk and cookies, etc. Santa brings a couple bigger or more wished for gifts and fills kids stockings. Mom and Dad buy the rest. My son also knows and believes that Jesus coming to Earth is the reason we celebrate Christmas. The rest is just fun. We focus on giving as well: treats for neighbors and church staff, some version of Angel Tree, and food donations. I completely agree with people who have said there's nothing wrong with letting our kids believe in the magic of Christmas.

Andrea W: My kids are 10, 7, 1. My 10-year-old isn't sure he believes in Santa anymore because his friends at school told him that Santa wasn't real and that parents buy everything. My 7-year-old still believes, and my 1-year-old doesn't know who he is yet. I'm hoping they will keep believing for a few years longer. I'm not ready for them to grow up yet and with the world the way it is now our kids need something magical to believe in.

Samantha E: We're secular, so we exchange gifts from family on the solstice, celebrating the changing of the season and cherishing time with family, BUT Santa has largely become a secular figure born of several culture's traditions, and quite frankly, is just a type of pure childhood magic we adore. Santa does come to our house on the 24th like everyone else. He fills the stocking, leaves an ornament, and a single gift, preferably something of heirloom quality (a toboggan, a tricycle).

We do have a tree (a solstice tradition, appreciating nature), and we do have the German pickle (to teach children to appreciate each ornament on the tree) and the Ukrainian spiderweb (the legend of tinsel).

While the christ child and the nativity story are not a part of our celebrations, as our son grows, we'll teach him about other cultures' celebrations, too (Hannukah, Ramadan, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Autumn O: My kids think Santa might be real but aren't 100% sure. Santa fills stockings and gives a little gift. I'm an atheist and their dad is not. So no Jesus talk in my house, but church on Sundays when they're with their dad. They'll figure it out when they're grown. Neither of us hide our perspectives. Right now they believe in both. I think they'll outgrow both fantasies.

Jackie M: My kids are 11,8, and 6. My 11-year-old stopped believing at 8 or 9.
Santa brings all the presents in our house and the stockings. We aren't religious, so Santa and giving are the reasons for the season.

AudreyAnna M: My boys, 6 and 9, both know that Santa is not real and not to take that away from other kids who do believe. We celebrate Jesus Christ and make time together as a full family (extended members included). I was traumatized as a child when I found out that my father lied to me. He always promised that he would not lie, but even that was a lie. I refuse to celebrate a “holiday” (Easter Bunny included) that idolizes a lie. I know this could turn into a debate and am not looking for that. I am providing my families beliefs and practices only.

{ MORE: 3 Alternatives to the Traditional Gingerbread House }

Amber N: I love the stories and want my babies to experience them as well. However, I do not intend to raise them believing it as a reality. They will learn the reasons behind the stories and be a part of them as both giver and receiver. For example, Santa Claus will be taught as how the story originated. A toymaker who wished to give to his village by making gifts for the children. My kids will do the same as well as being able to receive a gift from Santa.

Khrysten V: I was raised Pagan, my husband's family is Catholic, so we compromised. Yule is what we celebrate at home, Christmas is with the extended family. We made sure our daughter understood that Santa is not real, mainly for the reason that I'm not going to lie to her for years on end and expect her to be truthful.

Ray T: Santa gives one gift (usually the least expensive thing on their list) and fills stockings with candy/ other stocking stuffer type gifts. My 11 y/o stopped believing but I will still give her Santa gifts until her younger brothers stop believing.

Rebekah T: We treat him for what he is, a fairytale figure. He is fun to pretend about, but my children know their presents come from friends and family who love them. We also encourage them to play Santa and give the way they are given to. Santa is a symbol of love and giving during the holidays.

Michelle A: We're not big on Santa. Our son still “believes” in him, even though we have never stressed his existence. He's taught the true story of Christmas and the meaning behind why gifts are exchanged. When it comes to the nice/naughty list, we don't focus on it being a list for Santa. Instead, it's a way to gauge what kind of a person we've been through the year. When he see's a Santa at the mall or TV, we kinda explain that they are just helpers, spreading Christmas Spirit.

Lindsay D: We honestly don't do Santa, we do a tooth fairy and that's it. We don't want him to be disappointed in us later in life for lying to him about a fictional man. Instead we do other fun family activities and celebration type things without the Santa aspect, the way we keep the kids in line is they pick out what they want online and we make like a shopping cart wish list(they always put like 50 things) and when they misbehave a toy get taken off the list, but they're the ones who have to take it off the list.

Tonia S: I don't teach Santa Claus. We decorate snowmen or Nativity scenes. We have a gift exchange. And we do five gifts each. Three gifts represented by the three gifts from the Magi, one from mom, and one from Dad.

Sarah A: We are a non-religious household. We let our daughter decide for herself if she believed in Santa. At first, she didn't, but now she does. We'll ask her again before Christmas. Also, “Santa” only brings a few non-expensive items. Mommy and Daddy buy the rest. We do this because some people can't afford a lot, so I'd hate for her to tell another child Santa brought her a really big Lego set and the other kid feel bad because Santa couldn't bring him much. We also explained to her that some kids get more from Santa. We tell her that we told Santa since we could buy her stuff, he should only bring her a few small things. We will do the same with our son when he's older. He's only 5-months-old now.

Kristen O: No Jesus in my house, but I do go full-blown Santa and Elf on the Shelf. I have a 5-year-old and 3-year-old. Santa brings the best gift (and/or what they asked for for Christmas). We do a picture with Santa every year so they can tell him what they want. My kids put out cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer.

Dinah C: Santa does stockings just like in the story The Night Before Christmas. We do the big presents under the tree. My 9-year-old still believes, but that's ok, she has a 2-year-old brother who doesn't have a clue.

Alexandra C: In our house, Santa is a reflection of the goodwill towards others that Christ's birth was to bring. He does stockings and a few presents, but we focus on the fact that Christmas is the birth of Christ, and that Santa is a newer part of the holiday, not the meaning of the holiday.

{ MORE: Got Crafty Kids? Check Out These Homemade Ornaments! }

Kayla T: We told ours Santa wasn't real from the get-go. Watched Polar Express and saw Santa at Cabelas and she thinks he's real, even though she's never gotten a present from him.

Carolyn D: My dad's family is 100% Dutch, so to honor that we celebrated St. Nicholas day (Dec 6) growing up. That was our family day and it still is – it makes Christmas week so much easier with one less gathering to go to. I always knew Santa wasn't real because of that (though shared gifts, like a new Wii game, were from St. Nick) and I don't intend on teaching my daughter anything but about the real St. Nicholas either. I'm not comfortable lying to her, and anyway, I want the credit for getting her new toys!

Erin S: Santa does stockings and brings one or two presents depending on positive behavior throughout the year. He rearranges all the presents under the tree and writes a response to the children's letter from the night before. My children know that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus's birth (even though it wasn't the day he was born) and he loves us so much that he wants us to have a present from him so he sent us Santa.

Tammy B: I say let the kids believe in magic as long as possible! Fantasy is good for a child's imagination and plus it is WAY MORE FUN than reality! Let kids be kids! This world is too full of BAD things, let them enjoy some happy fairytale moments for awhile! Mine are all grown now but they believed as long as I could pull it off (late grade school-aged). Different wrapping paper from Santa, different tags and all!!! I loved Santa and so did my kids!!! I just asked my adult children and neither of them felt lied to or betrayed because of me letting them believe in Santa! So NOW it's the grandkids!!!! LOL Merry Christmas everyone!

So, how does your family deal with the Santa Question? Share in the comments!

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The Santa Question: What is Your Family’s Approach to Santa?

I've lived all over the place! I was born in Hawaii, grew up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, enjoyed some time in the cities of the Bay Area, and even spent a few years in Arizona. These days I am living in beautiful Colorado and loving it. I live with my husband, baby boy, my mom, and our 5 pets (3 cats, 2 dogs). There's a lot of love in our little condo! A few of my favorite things include: Pretty dresses (especially ones I can wear while breastfeeding/pumping these days.) Tea parties wi ... More

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