Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Playing Santa With The Kids AND How I Learned 'The Truth' About Santa!

Kittenpie @ Life of ‘Pie got me thinking about this - Do most of you parents “do” the Santa thing with your kids? If so, what are your traditions and how do you reveal ‘the truth’ about Santa. If you don’t “do” Santa - why? I want to know...

I never really thought about it until today (yeah, weird I know.) My daughter is only 17-months and the only Santa-thing we do is teaching her how to call the old guys in the malls “Santa” (or any old guy with a white beard.)
In my own life, I’m a little jaded - I found out ‘the truth’ when I was around 5 or 6. It was a horrible experience. I went out to the garage on that Christmas Eve to turn on the outside Christmas lights and saw two BMX bikes (from ‘the Santa list’.) I remember standing there in shock like, “did he come early?” and then I heard an angry voice behind me yelling, “what do you think you’re doing!!” Before I could think or talk I got chewed out and sent to my room. All confused I had no idea what to think –random stuff filled my head like “God, I hope these aren’t my parents..…maybe my “real” ones will come this year to take me away”. Actually no, I thought that all the time. I think it was just simple confusion.
Anyhow, my father comes in maybe about an hour later and starts yelling at me like I robbed the corner 7-11 and tells me not to tell my brother anything about “the incident” and then goes on to say “you’re not getting anything for Christmas!”, He then left, slamming the door (I remember my framed poster of Chewbacca falling off the wall that moment and breaking – Chewbacca didn’t deserve that.)
I sat on my bed confused, “why did Santa come early and why was I in trouble. Santa must be an angry teamster.”

Low and behold, I did end up getting the bike late the next day. My parents gave it to me after my brother was riding his new bike up and down our cul-de-sac street all day with the neighbor kids while I sat in the garage and observed. But my Dad warned me “don’t tell your brother about Santa not being real”. Then it hit me – “What, he’s not real?”

Oddly around that time, my younger brother told me that he knew Santa wasn’t real. All parents lied about it to make the kids behave (yes, younger brother.) Some kid, Billy Bologna (not his real name) told him at preschool or on the street. And then he went on and told me why didn’t I just go along with it - I’d get more gifts if I did.
That’s probably the smartest thing my little brother ever said his entire life. Because God knows most of the stuff he says these days isn’t.

O.K. so tell me people? Do you still do Santa? And do you have any stories about “the truth”


radioactive girl said...

No one ever told me, but I figured it out really quick. On Chirstmas Eve, my parents would make my brother and I go into our rooms and shut the door. We would hear a bunch of rustling around and then they would go up and down the stairs a bunch of times. When they were done, we were allowed to open our doors. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that they were bringing all the packages downstairs! Not quite as traumatic as your story though!

Lisa said...

Santa's alive and kicking at this house. Don't know what next year will bring though? It's that "witching" age - between 6 & 7.

As for finding out the truth, you can read the saga here http://refusetoblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/yes-there-is-santa-claus.html

aalize said...

what a sad story. parents can be such a-holes. we do the santa thing only in that we tell her the santa story. all gifts come from us and we feel that teaches her to show gratitude to the giver. we tell her it's just a fun story and play act it if she wants to and get the videos and books but we don't do the santa sit on weird old guy's lap thing. Eeeeew!

Jared said...

No Santa here, either. Well, at least not much. We're Christians, so you can guess why.

'What? You mean, Santa's made-up? Okay, then what about God?'

Why deceive my son? He's only three, so we haven't gotten into the details, but we tell him that Santa is pretend; and it's fun to pretend! We plan to celebrate Sinterklaas (my wife's family is Dutch), and teach him about the real Saint Nicholas.

Catherine said...

Well, WonderBaby's only one, so Santa still looms (tho' she did freak out - not in a good way - when she saw him at the mall. Something about beards and garish clothing, I guess.)

Catherine said...

Catherine is me, btw. Blogger Beta seems to be insisting on it.

Her Bad Mother

How About Two? said...

Wow, I hope your dad never got in a jamb at work; his lack of ability to think on the fly borders on scary.

Jonathon said...

I figured it the myth when I found the stash of presents on year. when ones that I'd found were labled from "santa" i knew the jig was up.

that picture, by the way, is totally awesome.

Becky said...

I love your blog! I read you on Julia Sweeney's blog.

Anyway...I have two stories. The first what when *I* learned. I was THE ONLY KID in 4th grade who believed. My classmates told me..and pointed and laughed and made fun. I was BOUND AND DETERMINED not to ever let that happen to my kids, so I told my 7 year old (11 years ago)while we were at the post office. He's 18 now. He always reminds me of the time "I RUINED IT FOR HIM" at the post office. Lord.

Other story...I was teaching 5th grade. The class was talking about not believing in Santa. I was just kinda listening, but didn't say much. Later, one of the girls asked me if I believed in Santa. These were 11 and 12 year olds. I said "I wish he was real! It would be easier for me." She went home and told her mother, and the mother accused me of ruining her daughter's childhood.

From that day forward, I have NEVER said that I don't believe. EVER.

Ask me now! I BELIEVE! ;-)

Anonymous said...

We intend on doing the Santa thing. I can't imagine not giving Chicky that gift and a chance to use her imagination.

That story of your finding out about Santa made me very angry at your parents. Is that wrong? Ah well, too late.

- Mrs. Chicky (who is seriously hating Blogger right now)

Pete Aldin said...

I'm with aalize above. The Santa thing was just another anxiety-ridden and disillusioning aspect of childhood for me. We've told our boys from the get-go that there ain't no Santa - BUT here's the real (as real as it can be) story of Saint Nicholas (good moral to the story) and we make the most of the season in as many ways as we can.

The reasons we don't go along with the thing are 3:
1. We don't like lying to our kids. Ok that came out like an indictment on the parents who go with the Santa thing - I don't mean it that way, we simply want our kids to live in truth. (And yes, we do play imagination games, read bedtime stories and watch Star Wars as much as possible)
2. Like Aalize above, we don't want some imaginary fat old guy getting the credit for the presents we have out all that thought and effort into!
3. We want to find other behaviour managament tools that shape well-adjusted human beings - we kinda feel that the "Be good or no Santa" doesn't really do that.

Does that make me a Scrooge? (Judging by the joy and imagination in our kids lives, I personally don't see it)

pete aldin said...

Oh, and your story about the bikes and Chewie? That profoundly sucks, buddy.

L.A. Daddy said...

Bring on the Santa, baby! We use him all up and down the joint... but not to keep the little monster in her cage. Just to give her a bit of excitement. Sure, they eventually find out it's all a big sham, but I don't think it's too devastating, just a "No, shit?" kinda shock.

LA Toddler is 2 and a half and she recognizes him and we'll probably take her to the mall for the traditional screaming & crying photo. Those are fun to laugh at when they're older :)

sweatpantsmom said...

We do Santa big time, totally against my husband's wishes. He grew up without it, but I pointed out it's probably why he never got that deluxe train set he wanted.

I have a strong feeling my girls (8 & 10) know the truth and the gig is up. I tell them that "as long as they WANT to believe, he's real."

And they do.

J in Ric said...

I guess Santa has stuck around at our house, mostly because we havent said there is no Santa. I think our oldest is wavering (he's 6) but the younger one (3) is totally on the Santa page... I can't see myself pulling the rug out from underneath him. Although, they both know that presents come from mom and dad, so that alleviates the Santa worship

creative-type dad said...

Interesting feedback everybody...

Mrs. Chicky- Yeah, it made me angry for awhile. But now I just laugh about it.

Darren a/k/a Clare's Dad said...

Clare totally believes in Santa Claus. She's even convinced that she saw the real SC one Christmas Eve when she was a baby. We wouldn't have it any other way here...it lets us pull the ol' Santa is watching card.

I found out when I was about 7 and a nun told my class. I already had my doubts, but she confirmed it for me. Like yours, my father got so mad when I told him that he didn't want to bother with toys for me. It must be tough for parents when kids let go of the Santa Claus magic.

Pageant Mom said...

My mother didn't believe in "the great lie" so she sat me down when I was four and just told me. Since they didn't really play it up, I wasn't too disappointed...so I missed all the excitement!! However - I managed to keep my son believing until he was NINE and my four year old is absolutely convinced she is going to hear reindeer on the roof!!

h&b said...

I too, found out about the non-magic of Christmas, Easter et al early on in the piece. My parents believed in raising mini-adults, and we were to behave as such.

Now i'm a rock-hard shrew of a woman with a heart of coal.

Anyway, my boy is only 2yrs old, so maybe we'll try to stoke up a bit of merriment and mystery for next year..

Merry Christmas !

creative-type dad said...

Pageant Mom - wow! 9 years old...that's something.