Why I am not worried about spoiling it for other kids if my 5 and 7-year olds accidentally blurt out the truth about Santa

Note: This may be a controversial topic for some. I am not telling everyone else how they should do anything - we are each responsible for our own parenting decisions. I am merely explaining my own thoughts on the matter. Regardless, if this topic does seem a contentious issue, we should keep it in perspective that this should not be a big deal so long as each person follows their own beliefs. If this does seem like a big deal, bear in mind this is a "first world problem".

Why this Christmas I'm finally not worried about spoiling it for other kids if my 5 and 7-year olds accidentally blurt out the truth about Santa:

I chose to tell the truth to my kids right away about Santa, from when they were really little. I never let them think that Santa was real. I was brought up that same way too, and I can assure you I never felt that I missed out. I definitely find the story of Santa to be fun, for sure! But it is just that: a story, a fairytale. So I tell my kids the story of Santa, explaining it's just a story and it's a fun one, just like the other fairytales we know (Cinderella, etc). This way we can have all of the fun, without me dealing with any tricky questions and without having to lie to my kids.

For the longest time though, I was really anxious about the issue of whether my kids would accidentally blurt out the truth around other kids, and spoil it for them.

I don't worry about the possibility of spoiling the Santa belief for other kids anymore. Why? Because my kids attend a secular public school. At the secular public school, holidays are treated as a non-religious festival. I totally understand that is part of public school, and that any one family's beliefs (religious or otherwise) are their own beliefs and that we have to teach those personal beliefs to our kids outside of school. 

However, this let me come to the realization that if asked about Christmas at school, and if my child mentioned the Christian part of his beliefs (the birth of Jesus), and if the teacher said that we don't talk about the Christian aspect because not everyone believes in that, then if my son announces that he doesn't believe in Santa and that Santa's not really real, that's OK. He didn't do anything wrong if he says that. I'm OK with it, and if some parent is mad with me or my kid, so be it. 

Here is why: 

If people don't feel obligated to believe in or perpetuate the Christian aspect of Christmas, neither should anyone feel obligated to perpetuate the idea that Santa is real.

Certainly I don't intentionally want to actively dispel the Santa myth to a child who believes in it. I don't plan on intentionally getting in the way of other people's parenting decisions toward their kids. I would not tell a child that his beliefs are "wrong", just as I wouldn't like it if someone else told my kids that their beliefs are wrong. But neither will I feel bad or tell my child off if he blurts out what HE believes about Santa (i.e. that Santa is just a story and isn't real). 

What will I do if this causes confusion? My sons are fairly social and have a lot of playmates. At some point, it could happen that there is some direct conflict between my son's beliefs and those of his playmates when the issue of Santa - or that of Jesus - comes up. In that situation, I would treat it as a "different families have different beliefs" type of situation, and have my kids understand that some families believe that Santa is real; others believe Santa isn't real. I'd also mention that some families believe Jesus is real; others don't. I would also mention that some families celebrate Kwanza; others don't. Every family is different. 

That is the way I would do it if there is any argument about Jesus or Santa that my kid and another kid come to me about. I would treat it similarly to having different behavioral rules at different houses, which is a concept my kids and their friends understand. I'd explain that different families have different beliefs.

I'd also try to remove the focus entirely about whether or not Santa is real (if the other kid asks) and explain instead that to our family, the important and real part of Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birthday. Everything else about this time of year doesn't really matter as much to our family.

The bottom line is, if as a Christian adult no-one expects me to teach my kids to believe in religions that we do not believe, neither should anyone expect me to teach my kids to believe in Santa Claus. If someone has a problem with that, it will just have to be their problem and not mine.

As mentioned before I don't have a problem at all with parents who want to teach their kids to believe in Santa Claus. It is just not something we do in our family, and that's OK. Again, if this issue seems like a big deal to some, it shouldn't: it's unfortunate if our beliefs about Santa Claus generate more attention than our religious beliefs.

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