We don’t do Santa. It was a very deliberate choice. In fact, it was a choice David and I made before we ever had a child. For us, it came down to the exact same reason my parents did not do Santa with my brother and me when I was a little girl.
It is lying. And we don’t lie in our home. Period.
Here is why I think doing Santa has the potential to cause significant problems.
Anger and Betrayal Over Lying About Santa
First, you don’t truly know what kind of child you have until you are many years into the Santa scenario. I am SO THANKFUL we decided not to do Santa. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Caroline would have been devastated if we had gone to great lengths to make Santa real and then told her it was all a lie.
I am not exaggerating when I say she would have felt angry, crushed, betrayed, embarrassed… I can’t even imagine. She feels deeply and she feels betrayal deeply. I do not ever want her to associate those feelings with us as her parents.
There might be some kids who can be lied to about Santa and brush it off. But many of them won’t be able to do so. I’ve read so many stories online when adults – ADULTS! – confess that to this day they can feel the sting they felt when they discovered Santa wasn’t real. The hurt and betrayal they felt when they found out their parents had been lying to them. The anger. It’s real. Parenting presents us with enough challenges as it is. Why do I want to add another challenge for a few fleeting weeks of fun and make believe that could undermine my parenting for years to come? It’s not worth it.
I know some parents see it as a magical, make believe experience they want their child to have. I totally get it. Caroline would have LOVED the whole Santa thing. This is the girl who loves Littlest Pet Shop and Pooh and stuffed animals and all things make believe. She would have positively reveled in it.
But at what cost?
Would the magic and joy be worth the crushing realization her parents lied to her and led her along? I don’t think so.
Lying about Santa and Lying about Our Faith
The other big factor related to lying is we don’t want Caroline to wonder what else we lied to her about. If she knows we lied about Santa, what else are we deceiving her with? This is especially important as it relates to matters of faith.
If we lied about Santa, then what about Jesus? What about God? What about the Bible? Again, questions of faith are challenging enough. Why add any thought that perhaps we’re not being truthful about these issues?
Lying about Santa Violates Our Essential Family Policies
We have a few policies in our home that are foundational to our relationships.
- Stop means stop. No means no. If someone says, “No” or “Stop” we must immediately respect that.
- Caroline can ask us about anything at any time and we will give her the best answer we can. We never ever belittle her questions, laugh at them, or act embarrassed about something she asks us. We give her thoughtful, straight-forward answers that respect her intellect and personhood.
- Always tell the truth. Always. Don’t lie. Don’t try to hide things. Don’t try to sneak. It will always be worse in the end if you lie. Always build trust.
I could not have spent the past five or six years emphasizing these family policies over and over again with my daughter and then turned around and lied to her about Santa. I would have felt like a total hypocrite. Just as I said in my spanking post that Caroline never hit us until we spanked her, I would not want her to view our lying to her about Santa as somehow justifying that sometimes it is okay to lie.
If I want my daughter to be truthful and willing to confide in me when she’s a teenager or a tween or a child, then I need to prove myself trustworthy in every way possible. I don’t want to ever give her reason to doubt my sincerity. I don’t want to give the Enemy a foothold in our relationship.
I’m very thankful we made the choice we did. And I’d make the same choice again every time.
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