Do our children believe in Santa Claus? We made the decision years ago not to actively teach our children about Santa Claus, and if they (on their own) expressed interest in the folklore surrounding him, we’d support it to the extent of their interest. We love good ol’ St. Nick (the Saint), but not so much Kris Kringle or any other derivative of the original, philanthropic dude that sparked the legend of Santa Claus, and never wanted Christmas to be commercialized in our home.
We were recently contacted by the New York Post to discuss our thoughts, after they read an old post of ours sharing our thoughts about Santa Claus and kids when they boys were very young, and they asked to photograph us for their article compiling the thoughts of other families as well (here is the second page of the article below):
photo credit Brian Zak NY Post
It was my first chance to really sort of organize how Santa evolved for us over the years, and I’m sharing the full content of my interview (including what wasn’t posted in the article) here:
“We decided not to focus on the idea of Santa around Christmas, or to teach our sons about gifts from Santa. We actually stuck to that for 7 years (my sons are now 6 1/2 and 9). During Christmas, we would watch movies, go to church, visit family, eat great food, etc but any gifts they received were from us (their parents) and usually very modest- about $20 or so. Other parents found this odd, but I felt that it wasn’t my sons’ birthdays, why would we shower them with gifts?
“The biggest problem was when other families or our work places would ask us to exchange gifts and we’d opt-out. It didn’t make sense for us to give others gifts for the same reasons we didn’t give them to our sons, and we didn’t want Christmas (for our sons or ourselves) to be about giving and getting presents, and this actually did cause a bit of a rift in some ways. So did the fact I don’t give Christmas gifts to adults at all, unless it’s to show appreciation for someone such as my sons’ teachers and those who serve us and tend to be under-appreciated. We love buying tokens of our gratitude for them all around this time of year, and our sons help pick out those gifts. My sons were used to this for the most part and didn’t know differently.
“Last year my sons saw a Veggie Tales cartoon about St. Nicholas, and heard about Santa Claus from classmates. They learned he was a real person in history, and were told today he visits once a year to bring presents to good kids, etc. Because St. Nicholas actually is part of our history (we are Christians), and because I don’t actually have any objections to families teaching their children about Santa Claus and the whole celebration of it (we just didn’t want it to be what our children cared about when Christmas was being celebrated), my husband and I decided the boys could write letters to Santa last year. We went to the post office and mailed them off. We picked a gift from their lists to arrive on Christmas from Santa, and a second from us (so they each received two gifts last year). They didn’t feel left out when they heard about Santa and presents in school, we still kept it as a very small part of our celebrations, and since our older son will turn ten next year (when I was a kid, it was no longer “cool” to believe in Santa in fifth grade 😉 ), we expect this not to last much longer.
“Last year we also read about St. Nicholas and how he became so philanthropic while he was alive, and we participate each year in “Operation Santa” in the New York City Post Office each year, so that they always remember to give more than they receive each year (like Santa did). We love our kids and feel like it worked out this way, that we didn’t deny them the Santa experience when they asked for it, but it’s very much NOT a big part of our Christmas celebrations and the concept of gift-receiving is not important to them around the holidays.”
So what are your thoughts on St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, and the whole gift giving experience during the holidays?
And thank you Brian! (our awesome photographer Brian Zak from the NY Post is letting us share this image of our boys from his visit to our home):