Posted Dec 7, 2008 - 10:02 am
My kids haven't believed for years. I think my son was about 3-4 and my dd was only 1-2. My son asked and I didn't see any need to "lie". We still enjoy Santa, leaving cookies and a drink out, we enjoy the Season immensely. At the time, and I have never regretted it, I saw no reason to perpetuate the myth of Santa by lying to my kids.
So...what did my kids do when others believed? They just smiled and nodded along. No one ever asked them if they believed. Occasionally they were asked what they got from Santa and because they understand that the myth of Santa was that he gave gifts, they said a gift they got. I never asked them to lie about whether there was a Santa or not because Santa isn't really a person, it is an idea of goodness and love. I always explained to my kids that some like to believe that there is a jolly fat man that makes lists and gives gifts and that is their belief. My kids never had an issue with it at all. I also did some research and found out info about Santa, St. Nick, and other traditions and shared it with the kids.
We also are Christians so we emphasized the Birth of Christ. We talked about it all and I always explained that it is not our place to take away a tradition from other families. And as far as I know, my kids never did.
It is interesting, because when my young son asked me, and the way he asked me, I found it very hard to lie to him. To outright drag out a story to cover what he wanted to know. The funny thing is, because he was so young, even tho I told him the truth, he didn't really understand. Their comprehension is limited at young ages and although we always told him there was no Santa, he would see a Santa in the mall and say that he wasn't real because the real Santa was someplace else. As my son grew, he began to comprehend more and we have never regretted telling the truth.
We also always explained to our kids that our family was special and that sometimes it was best not to share everything we do at home with other families. The main reason we did this was because we didn't want them to share our thoughts on Santa/Tooth Fairy etc with other kids and have their parents upset.
I personally think you can have it all...you can have the wonder and beauty of Christmas without a fat jolly guy climbing down your chimney.