Ugh. Santa.

I’m torn. 

Now that I have a kid, I can’t just be all “pft, whatev, Santa sucks butt, commercialist propaganda, mutter mutter” because there is a whole lifetime of believing (and behaving) to be done before the bubble is burst and Kale finds out that Santa is what Santa is. I have long believed that Santa is, in part, a behavioural modification tool that parents use and abuse at Christmas time to deal with behaviour they find abhorrent while justifying overspending on plastic toys-du-jour. However, I do have to take into consideration that there is another parent who has their own opinions on Santa, and above all, being a united front as parents tops my list of important parenting qualities. 

As much as my critical thinking and skeptical side would like to inform Kale right from Christmas 1 that Santa is just an “idea”, perpetuated by everyone because wink wink nudge nudge it’s about the spirit of Christmas and let’s just keep this between us, okay? I realize that its going to be very very difficult to carry this out, never mind the fact that I have already been informed that it would be a complete “shame” if I “ruined” Christmas for Kale so early. Because being honest about make-believe fat men who break into your house, well… I guess that makes me the most horrible parent in the world. 

So in acquiescence to those who feel that no child’s Christmas is complete without a visit to Santa, and no grandparent’s/auntie’s/uncle’s/etc Christmas card is complete without photographic evidence of said visit, but still mindful of my “I won’t go into a mall past December 1st” resolution I made 5 years ago and trying to find the happy medium between what Ross believes and what I believe,  I did some research and found Father Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum, who is willing to listen to children’s wishes and you can take your own photos. Huzzah.

Father Christmas is the pre-Santa, the Beta-Santa, if you will. He’s a kindly old thin dude, with a long beard and robe – sort of Gandalf type of dude – and was around way before Toys R Us and the Sears Wish Book and iPods and Wii’s were, and is more of a Sinterklaas than a product of a good marketing department at Coca-Cola.

It’s all about happy mediums, right? So our happy family is headed to see Father Christmas on Wednesday, in the afternoon, to try and beat some of the crowds of people. 

Ross and I were out walking Mooki and Kale the other night, talking about this. He then brought up The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I didn’t even think about them. Man. I’ve never thought about all this before. What is with all the made-up bearers of gifts? Is it possible to raise children without all these fictions?

How do you, readers who are parents, deal with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny?

13 years ago


  1. I actually agree with your take on being honest with Kale from the beginning, but unlike Ross, Ben actually agrees wholeheartedly with my take on this. We both believe that it is more important that the child understands the concept of Santa as ‘symbol’ and understand that Santa truly represents ‘giving’ instead of ‘receiving’.

    Thusly once our spawn has been spawned we’ll probably be doing the Santa thing for the first few years just to have the memories, but when they get to the point of understanding the concept (early school age) we’ll be honest with them. This will not preclude visiting Santa, but will include more historical information on the origins of Santa and what the concept of Santa means for children around the world. My sister in law has already told me that it’s a bad idea…what about other kids…yadayadayada. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel I need to be responsible for the fact that other people choose to lie to their kids. Same goes for the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. I am assuming that this won’t be easy because we’re working against the standard but I have a whole wack of cousins in Taiwan who weren’t raised with Santa, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny and came out pretty darned okay!

  2. Okay – just so you know, I am writing this Exact post right now! Actually, I have been writing it for a couple weeks now. I’m not even going to read your post until I finish writing mine because I don’t need anything else to write about. I’m going to come back and read your post after (but first I have to get someone to bed).

  3. This is the first year that Jenna (now 5) has been remotely interested in Santa– previous years he freaked her out and she did NOT want this creepy dude coming into her house.
    We talk about Santa as someone who used to live who gave presents. The Mall Santas are NOT the real santa- they just dress up like santa. I agree with Margaret, however, Jenna has picked up the whole x-mas fever thing from our society. In fact, the other day she made a point of pointing out a nativity scene and telling me that “Look mom it’s the Baby Jesus!” I almost choked!

  4. I’ve been reading a couple months – don’t remember where I found you but I had to comment here. I feel the exact same way as you, and my husband feels the same way as yours. I thought I was the only one with the basic, “You’ll be an evil parent if you don’t perpetuate Santa” type reactions I got early in my son’s life. So I relented and there is Santa… but I refuse to lie. Santa has never been at the mall, or Christmas parties. As my oldest is now 10, he has asked, and I have answered with, “What do you think?” As far as I know he still believes despite many (if not all) of his classmates disagreeing. So, somehow a person who could do without Santa altogether managed to create “the last believer”. I don’t know what all this means for us, but I wanted to put that out there. I will say I have NEVER used Santa as a threat… so at least I have that going for me.

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