Posted by: Paul | December 11, 2010

To Santa or not to Santa?

I was having a conversation with my best friend the other night about Father Christmas. He has two young children (4 and a half, and 6 months), and we discussed whether to go in for the whole ‘Santa’ thing or not.

I’ve read other posts online about the same subject and there’s quite an opinionated section decrying the santa myth – that it promotes consumerism, and, well, it’s lying to your children.

About the first, you can do absolutely nothing. I think as long as you don’t go too mad and keep a rein on the overexcited grandparents who would happily spend their entire pension on their grandchildren (bless them), then until your kids get to the age when they start disbelieving the myth anyway then it’s actually quite easy to keep the spending under control. There’s nothing wrong with treating your kids at any time of year, and Christmas is just another excuse, should one be needed. But consider that they’re well provided for all year round and there’s really no reason to go overboard with huge presents at Christmas. It’s when they start to notice what their friends get and exert ‘pester power’ that it can start to get tricky! But I think you need to be strong – there’s absolutely no reason a 7 year old should have an iPhone, in my opinion.

As for the second, is it really lying? Is it any different to a bedtime story? There are after all no talking animals, no dragons, no giants, and unfortunately, no Gruffalo either. Where’s the harm in perpetuating part of the atmosphere of this rather lovely time of year when you get together with the family for a mutual show of affection and appreciation? This time is short enough, why bring the real world crashing in earlier than necessary? There’s plenty of time for them to have their dreams crushed later, give them a childhood for goodness sake!

I can’t quite remember when I stopped believing in Father Christmas, for there are several years when I can very clearly remember believing. I still believed well into primary school, and the story among my peers which was probably in the final year before we all caved in to the fact that it wasn’t real, was that if you didn’t believe, instead of presents all you would receive is coal. That seems to be the time when innocence begins to trade for consumerist desire! I must have been about 8 years old, I think.

Adam is two, and is showing signs of understanding the Santa myth. He recognises the picture and knows this red and white fellow brings presents, but is still a bit too little to fully grasp the story. For a story it is, and being a smart little boy he’ll figure that out on his own. Until then, I’m happy to believe in a little bit of Christmas magic.



  1. The year I learned “the truth” was a sad Christmas indeed. I understood the religious aspects .. but missed the magic and the wonder. Having children brought it all out again and I say go for it’s exciting and magical and fun for all. Now our’s are grown but we have grands to enjoy the magic with. Everyone needs a little bit of pixie dust in their lives methinks. Cheers & Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks for visiting Emjay, and for being the first person to ‘like’ one of my posts! (It only took 345 days…)
      Yeah, I say boo to the Christmas and Santa haters. Where’s the harm?
      You may also enjoy my ‘Conversations with a Two-Year-Old’ posts. I’m a part-time stay-at-home Dad, and the things my little boy comes out with amaze me sometimes. All part of being a parent, I guess!

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