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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Kids are very adaptable.  Many people view not indulging in the Santa story as denying your child a magical experience.  But, you have nailed it.  Kids will view the world as magical regardless of what myths and stories we feed them.  Their childhood memories of Christmas will be no less special for lack of belief in Santa Claus. 

Most of my family are very religious people who don't know that I am an atheist. With this, I am almost forced to have my 3 year old daughter believe in Santa Claus. Last year was the first year that we really got to see the magic of Santa. Honestly, I think it was more of amazement of how many presents she had to open rather than a jolly old man sneaking in the house. (rather creepy, if you ask me)

I am going to continue to "play" Santa until the day she asks. Then, I will explain Santa from the historical point of view (no Christianity needed). It was a lot of fun last year though and I think it also helps develop a child's imagination.

 

On another note, for those that do not play into Santa Claus, I'm guessing that also includes the Tooth Fairy? The latter I do not think I'm going to even bother with when Ivy starts loosing her baby teeth.

 

After debunking Santa my kids caught onto that, too. Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and even monsters in the closet. lol Kids really love to play pretend anyway, so it honestly doesn't spoil anything for them. They will still pay along quite willingly if you do. There is just no power trip there anymore, and everyone is honest about what is going on.
It has even helped with movies and tv shows involving magic, fantasy or trick photography. We have found it very useful to just ask questions like, "Do you think trees can throw apples at people?" It opens the door for discussions about reality and imaginative things at am early age. Very very basic, if course.

Reminds me of this:

From the Spongebob Christmas Episode:

Squidward: Who in the world would celebrate a holiday where a jolly prowler breaks into your house and leaves gifts?!

Not having any kids myself, it's just a philosophical point with me, but I can say that in my case, Santa sharpened my skeptical thinking. I didn't find out about Santa by being told (by other kids or my parents), I figured it out on my own by following the evidence. 

 

Things like the cookies left for Santa always being chocolate chip (my dad's favorite), Santa's handwriting being very similar to my mother's, all the way up to the point where I examined the trash and found the discarded packaging of the toys I found the next day in my stocking. 

Yeah, but gee Dave you were 23 years old:)
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This is just me (or I), but I wouldn't do the Santa thing with my kids.  Why not?  Because it promotes a mental paradigm that makes acceptance of preposterous claims seem reasonable.  Even after children outgrow the Santa myth, they are left with a residue of credulousness that is easily carried over into god belief, given enough motivation.  And avoidance of death is all the motivation most people need.
This is something I'VE STRUGGLED WITH...ESPECIALLY WITH THE PRESSURE FROM MY MIL. She loves the whole santa thing. I told her this last xmas that it was really hard for me to pretend there is a santa...I feel like a hypocrite. She  told me I'm taking all the magiout of my kids life because I don't teach them about god or santa. I don't see what is so magical about lying to my kids.c 

My kiddo is nine and as of last year, he still believed.  I found this blog post explains exactly how my husband and I feel about the whole Santa issue, just a helluva lot more eloquently! (here's a link to a Santa post on my blog). 

 

Long story short, it's a wonderfully fun story and a great opportunity for my kid to practice his critical thinking skills.  It also allows him to see that he can come to us with the big questions. 

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