I don't have any hooligans. I'm not far from having them and one issue that concerns me is creating a world outside of rationality. In raising children we make up so many stories that they have a hard time sorting out fact and fiction. It starts from the earliest days. We pretend that Santa exists. We pretend that the Easter Bunny exists. We pretend that Fluffy is now in heaven instead of telling them that everything dies and that's it. We pretend that there are ghosts. But we don't tell our kids that it's pretend. Sure, they enjoy the moment, but do we do longer term damage to their ability to reason what reality is later? 

What would be the damage or downfalls of telling children from day one that Santa doesn't really exist, he's for pretend and fun? Could they not have the same type of fun that you or I would in letting go of reality and enjoying a movie or a play? Couldn't we explain it that way too? I remember tossing Santa aside too early for my Mom. I was six or so when I called shenanigans. She was literally hurt and threatened no gifts if I didn't act like I believed. I knew that my mom was full of it, but I went along anyways. 

As a young teen I would watch scary movies and sometimes get frightened by the thoughts of Jason or Freddy (bedroom in the basement area so the walk down scurred me). If we remove that magical component of how the world works, would I save my child fear and confusion? Would it confuse them more because they are different? Would they lose out on being a child or could we still create the fun of  simply extending the pretend world like when they play in forts made of sheets? What are some of the pitfalls of setting up a world where the magic is in the chemistry of life as opposed to the literal belief in a flying reindeer? 

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So it's been done in the US to no ill effect. Sweet.
Imagination is something that is under rated in this world. I agree with you. When I have kids, im going to tell them all about these fairy tales...except I will tell them that it's just for fun. we all figure it out on our own in the end...it couldn't hurt. as for Easter, we'll have a little fun with the Easter bunny but nothing religious will come out of it, because I'm an atheist and my fiance is Pagan.

I also agree with Neal M.
I actually think about this quiet a bit, especially since I have a new born on the way. I would like to raise my child right off not believing in hocus-pocus and Santa/Easter-bunny/the devil/or Jesus. Unfortunately my wife (Southern Baptist) will be pushing these things on the child. I guess these are the trials and tribulations of an atheist/religious marriage. I guess if the child ever ask me… I’ll tell her the truth… that Mommy believes in this stuff…..but daddy does not. It’s just seems like a form of abuse to scare a child by teaching them that the devil exist and that there’s a place call hell. I think more people would grow up atheist right off if they were not lied to as a child about Santa or the Easter bunny.
Ah... so how effective will your wife's fear of God and Hell teachings be if you are teaching that it's not true? You should keep a diary on this back and forth. Not as a competition, but just to track the observed choices that your child makes and why.
I'm married to an Atheist so there won't be any struggle. It was by plan, but my choices were narrowed down quite a bit.
Hopefully her teachings will not be effective.
My husband and I are struggling with this question right now. We just had a little one and therefore have another year to decide the Santa Claus question. Both of us are atheist who were raised in somewhat Christian homes. We both were raised with the idea that Santa Claus brought us presents every Christmas Eve and both remember the sense of magic and awe that we had every year around the holiday season. However, my husband is pretty settled on the idea that we should not raise our little one to believe in Santa but rather raise her with the notion that mom and dad are buying the presents so long as she behaves, as Adriana seems to have done quite successfully. However, my husband might later be persuaded the other way if he comes across a good reason to feed her the Santa lie. I am still pretty torn, perhaps mostly because I really enjoyed Santa as a child. Also, Santa was a pretty secular thing for me, even in my childhood. But that still does not excuse the lie that parents tell to their children, who will believe anything their parents tell them up to a certain age. This is pretty akin to child abuse in some respects (even though somewhat harmless).

We live in the Midwest and it is a very Christian area. If we do not feed her the Santa lie, she will undoubtedly grow up as the only one, or maybe one of a handful of children, who knows that Santa is a farce. That does not really bother me because Christians in the area are always so quick to push their beliefs onto us. Therefore, I am not so concerned with tiptoeing around their beliefs or their fun as a result. But it will be hard for my little one to deal with at first as it is always difficult for a child to deal with being different from her peers.
My wife being Czech, we might be able to baffle strangers with stories of Jezisek (Little Jesus brings the gifts) and more traditional St. Nick versus the gift giving American version. At least we can create a smokescreen that might keep our child from being ostracized like we choose to be. Czech is a country that is over 60% Atheist and you'd be hard pressed to find a Evangelical even with the traditions.
Santa doesn't like poor kids... I think that you just made a winning point with me.
greed is powerful in little kids, LOL!

Even within the first few weeks of parenthood, I have learned this rather quickly. Haha.

I think you make great points and I am leaning towards filling her in on the truth of gift giving around the holidays from day one. However, I have to continue to wonder how it will all play out. Only time will tell and I am sure I can deal with all of her difficult questions and struggles with diversity as they arise. Honesty from the start will probably help her understand more quickly than feeding her lies, no matter how harmless we believe those lies to be.




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