Don't have any kids yet, but I probably will at some point, and if I continue to live in the United States there will be no way to avoid exposing him or her to Christmas. For obvious reasons, I will not celebrate the religious "birth of jebus" bs... but Santa Clause? Should I do the whole Santa thing with my kids? Would it be right to decieve them? If I don't... they will be exposed to those who think santa is real.. and what would I do then?

Thoughts?

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When my daughter turned 5 she asked me if Santa was real. I asked her if she really wanted to know the truth even if it might not be what she wanted to hear. She said yes, so I asked her, "If there is no Santa, who do you think leaves presents for you under the tree?" Quickly, she guessed moms and dads, and kind of had an Aha! moment. She asked why, then, did everyone pretend there is a Santa? I told her we do it just because it's fun. And she was totally okay with that. Everytime people referenced Santa after that moment we would catch each others' eyes with cheshire grins and discuss the fictional gift-giver as if he were real. I think she really enjoyed being trusted with the truth. Since then, we used the same process with all our kids.
It really pisses me off that schools and parents spend do much time on tricking children or making them believe in fantasy. Its only okay in my book if you explain to them that it's all pretend. No wonder their little minds are so ripe to be taken in by the Christian mythology.
Kristin - That is a very good approach. One of the best I have heard.
Thanks, Reg. I know how you feel about brainwashing kids. I'm right there with ya!
I agree.

At primary school, the teachers would spend the few weeks just before the xmas holidays getting the class to make tree decorations. The usual beard with cotton wool and the like. In hindsight, this was a terrible thing as it only reinforced one religion's traditions and culture at the expense of the rest. At the time, I didnt really care who SC was,  had already happened across my presents that were not-so-well hidden at the age of 5 on xmas eve. That was my 'Aha' moment. But maybe some other kids were a little thicker than others and did so thinking that SC was real. Santa mimics chistianity so well, but you get a lump of coal instead of enternal damation. The basic idea is sick.

I say scrap the santa claus bull and just put presents under a religious neutral tree. After all, the pagans were doing all this way before chistianity crawled out of some dark hole.

Good idea... but then you could get the problem of the child learning about "santa" [or god] from school mates, and how do you respond when he/she asks "what's santa?"

 

Same way you deal with all sorts of silly or false notions others try to impress upon your child. Santa and God are but one of a myriad.
about age three, We just asked our son if he wanted to believe in santa, prior to that the gifts just appeared, he said yes, but after a year he asked if he could just get presents without santa.
You could have them visit me. I portray Santa, but I tell kids that the Santa legend goes back tens of thousands of years and that the first gifts were probably seeds & the knowledge that winter would end. I also teach kids about the Spinozan view of God because I'm clear with this who hire me that I'm an atheist.

SantaErik (on twitter, FaceBook, DailyMugshot, blogspot, YouTube, ThinkAtheist!)

I would have no problem with Santa as a symbol for giving so reading make believe stories about Santa or reading books about the origins of the idea of Santa won't be a problem for me when I have kids. I could never keep up the charade of telling/convincing my kids Santa is real though ... it's bad enough as a teacher to keep my mouth shut when the kids I work with ask me if Santa is real... my default response is that "It's up to you to decide."

I have been debating this question for the better part of two years. I have a 7-1/2 month old now and I probably won;t have to worry about it for a couple years yet. But, seriously, Santa fucking Claus? Why am I sitting here worried about Santa Claus (a most recent epiphany)?

I have never been one for tradition unless I enjoyed it. Christmas, I enjoy, for purely secular reasons. I only refer to it as Christmas out of convenience. It could be called the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or Damn It Is Cold and Dark So Let's Put Up Lights and Decorations and Eat Food and Get Drunk. I don't care. It is a good time.

But Santa Claus? I just see no fun in deceiving my child. Maybe it is because she isn't talking yet. Once she gains the power of speech, I may find great joy in bullshitting her. Santa Claus would be the ultimate prank because everybody already plays along with it. At this point, I have no plans to feed her fantasies. But, this is my first child, so I reserve the right to reverse my position on anything and everything as experience stomps all over my naive ideals.
I think you articulated it better than I did, Linda. = ) Especially about wanting your child to trust you and know you would never purposely mislead him. You can have fun even when is not ay someone else's expense.

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