We never taught our daughter to believe in Santa.
No telling her that Santa would know if she had been good or bad.
No going to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what she wanted.
No Christmas list sent to Santa.
No milk and cookies left out on Christmas Eve.
No gifts from Santa under the tree on Christmas morning.
Originally we made the decision because we felt that teaching a child to believe in something that is obviously not true was confusing to the child. And rather silly. How would that affect their belief in other things that can’t be seen, like God? (Side note: Over the years I’ve seen my own belief in God diminish to such a point that I now consider myself a firm Atheist). How can you expect a child to trust you on other matters when you have lied for years about something?
I don’t believe that in most cases deep lasting harm is done from having a child believe in Santa. Hey, I turned out fine! (Okay, maybe the jury is still out on that.) But, I also just don’t really see the point in it. Especially when people get to a point of ridiculousness where they argue that other parents shouldn’t give their children expensive gifts from Santa just so there doesn’t need to be an explanation for why Santa discriminates against children from families with less money (or who just choose to spend less on Christmas gifts). Just tell the truth — it is much easier. Life is just as wonderful.
My daughter enjoys Christmas just as much as the next child. We still watch and enjoy the many Christmas stories and movies that depend on Santa being real as a major plot point. It’s fantasy. She understands that.
She has not had her imagination taken from her — I think nearly anybody who knows her would agree that she is highly imaginative… just listen to the stories she is constantly coming up with. Just because you know that dragons and magic aren’t real doesn’t mean that you don’t love them just the same.
She hasn’t grown up too fast — at ten years old she is right where she should be. A perfect mix of childlike wonder and growing intellectual and emotional maturity. With a dash of tween irrationality just to keep things interesting!