Sure... they can’t believe that, but expect their kids to believe that a jolly old elf makes a trip around the world in about twelve hours, and sneaks into children’s homes.
Here’s the thing. There are a number of reasons why Santa isn’t a “thing” at my house:
1. I DON’T LIE TO MY CHILDREN.
Let me just get that out of the way, first. I don’t lie to my children.
I need my children to trust me. I need them to believe I’ll always tell them the truth, when they come to me with questions.
Maybe telling the truth is paramount in my house because of my children’s history (most of my children come from hard places), but there it is.
They have questions about their history, and that's expected. I want them to know that they can ask me anything -- absolutely anything -- and I will tell them the truth, at an age-appropriate level.
I also want them to know and understand that the truth is the expectation in our home. I want and need them to be honest with me, too.
Lying to children for fun, or to create a sense of “magic,” or out of a need for tradition is still lying.
We create our own magic. We create our own traditions. And that magic, those traditions, come from a place of trust.
2. SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, IS GOING TO TELL THEM.
It’s inevitable that any secret I would try to keep from my kids is going to come out, at some time.
I’d much rather have them learn the truth from me, than for them to feel like I’ve lied to them, and that they can’t trust me.
Funnily enough, we had the opposite happen, when a teacher told Curlytop that Santa was real, and that her parents were lying to her when we said he’s not.
Let me tell you, stern words were had. A lot of them.
I had to explain to the school that when adults tell children that their parents are liars, it grooms the child for abuse, because it conveys that the child can’t trust their parent.
Yes, I just mentioned abuse in a discussion about Santa. I sure did.
Because when children are told “secrets” by adults they can’t share with their parents — no matter how small, it opens the door for adults with ill intent to isolate children, and ask them to keep bigger “secrets.”
3. MY KIDS ARE SUPER LITERAL.
Taking things literally sort of comes with the territory in a house where autism rules supreme, but let me just say that the idea of someone seeing me when I’m sleeping is pretty firetrucking creepy.
A lot of the whole Santa sham is about covert surveillance and someone coming into your home without getting caught.
I mean, really.
As an adult, that scares the hell out of me, and I don't even care about getting presents.
4. I WANT MY KIDS TO EXPRESS THEIR EMOTIONS.
“You’d better not cry; you’d better not pout.”
You can’t lay out the Santa ruse without admitting that a lot of songs and stories have already been written, chronicling how the whole Santa gig works.
And this song? This one tells kids they need to stuff their emotions, because Santa is watching.
If my kids are having big feelings, I’m much more interested in learning what is causing them than having kids stuff their feelings for the sake of the creepy old guy who is spying on them.
I mean, let them worry about Google snooping, and their tablets tracking their location, and Amazon feeding them ads based upon their browsing history. Those are REAL things to be worried about.
Am I right?
5. I DON’T NEED TO LEVERAGE GIFT-RECEIVING TO ENFORCE BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS.
I give my children gifts because I love them. It’s not conditional upon them being “nice” instead of “naughty.”
Love isn’t conditional. I don’t only love them when they’re being “good.” I love them because they’re my children.
6. DISAPPOINTMENT SHOULD NOT BE PARALLEL TO BEING “NAUGHTY.”
When kids believe that writing a letter to Santa and being “good” will score them whatever they’ve requested, it sets them up to think they just weren’t “good” enough when it doesn’t materialize.
That year when we were losing our house? That year? No amount of “goodness” would have made an Xbox materialize on Christmas morning, and it had nothing to do with behavior. It was all about finances.
7. SANTA PLAYS FAVORITES, AND IT’S ALL ABOUT SOCIOECONOMIC PRIVILEGE.
How do we explain — if Santa brings toys to “all the good girls and boys” — that children who don’t get gifts from Santa are still good?
How do we explain that Jimmy, who got gum and an orange from Santa, is just as “good” and worthy as Joey, who got a new iPad from Santa?
So... there it is. Seven of the reasons why we don't do Santa at our house.
What do you do at your house? Are you about Santa, or nah? Why, or why not?
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