Erin was born on New Year’s Day so her birthday is only a week after Christmas. Erin’s first Christmas meant that she was nearly 1 and really didn’t understand anything about it so at this point, we hadn’t really made up our minds about what we were going to tell her. Now that she’s nearly 3 and going to nursery with other children, we have had to make a decision.
Although I was brought up to believe in Santa I think I realised quite early on that he wasn’t real. When you hear someone building your present downstairs on Christmas Eve it kind of ruins the idea of Santa. I think I decided in my head quite early on that I didn’t want Erin to grow up believing in Santa for a number of reasons, which I’ll get to soon but know that I have stronger views about this compared to John. I think he would have been happy for Erin to grow up believing in ‘the magic’ of Santa like he did.
Quite a lot of people have already expressed an opinion on the way that we’re bringing Erin up and most people don’t agree with it. So, here is what we’ll bring Erin to up believe and why I don’t agree with some things relating to Santa.
Naughty or nice?
We all know that at some point our children are going to misbehave, even if they’re good as gold 99% of the time. We want to raise Erin to know that she should be well-behaved, well-mannered, polite and thoughtful (among other things) regardless of what she will get in return.
All too often I hear parents threatening their children with Santa. If they don’t behave, Santa won’t bring them presents. If they don’t behave, Santa will throw their presents in the bin. I don’t want Erin to be ‘nice’ in December just because she thinks she’ll get presents. That’s not how things work and I highly doubt the majority of these parents actually throw anything away or punish their children with no presents if they do actually misbehave.
We also don’t want to teach Erin that if we say something, we mean it, such as a punishment or whatever. We don’t want her to think that if she does do something she shouldn’t have and give a consequence, that we won’t follow through with it.
The real Saint Nicholas
The truth is, Santa, in the way that we explain him to children, isn’t the truth at all. Although we have decided not to raise Erin to believe in Santa in the modern sense, we have decided that we aren’t going to say he doesn’t exist at all… because he does. The ‘real’ Saint Nicholas was a man who was quite wealthy due to his parents dying and him being left their money. He used this money to do nice things for others who were less fortunate and surprised them with gifts.
When Erin sees the Santa dressed in the red outfit with his sack of presents, we will tell her that this is how people celebrate what the real Saint Nicholas did all those years ago.
Santa is creepy
When you really think about it, a man coming down the chimney and into your home, your safe place, is really very creepy and strange. Being okay with Santa doing this because he brings presents is like saying anyone can do it as long as they bring you something nice. I am definitely not okay with someone coming down the chimney, having a snoop around my house or being in my child’s bedroom.
Don’t even get me started on the elf on the shelf!
Who gets the credit
This one is a bit of a selfish reason but I don’t want Santa to get the credit for the presents. We work extremely hard to spoil Erin a bit at Christmas and I don’t see why someone who isn’t even real should get the credit for that. The elves don’t spend hours and hours wrapping the presents. I do. Santa doesn’t bring the presents down to be around the tree ready for the morning. Me and John do. Us, as well as family members, take the time to think about what Erin would like and spend their own money on the presents. I think we all deserve the credit rather than giving it to Santa.
One of the biggest, and most important, reasons why I don’t want to raise Erin to believe in Santa is because I just don’t like lying to her. Not about the big things anyway. Erin would get to a certain age and find out that Santa isn’t real anyway so we might as well just start out that way. I worry about someone randomly ruining it for her, or her overhearing a conversation at some point and being so upset about it. I don’t see the need for it really when we can get to that point sooner and without the tears.
What will Christmas be about?
There is absolutely no reason why Christmas can’t be a magical time just because Erin won’t believe in the modern version on Santa.
We plan on teaching Erin to do nice things for others all year round but at Christmas we’ll be making some handmade presents, giving to charity and making the most of spending time with our loved ones at Christmas. To me, Christmas isn’t about the presents but what we do with each other and how we treat each other
It was quite a hard decision to make to raise Erin to not believe in Santa. Her friends will probably think that Santa is real and then we have a whole other issue to tackle so that she doesn’t blurt out something else. I think this is why we decided to include a version of Santa somewhere at least.
I’m sure we’re going to be in the minority here but please let us know what your children believe in for Christmas!