Dear Santa…

Another post inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.  Other people’s similarly wintry posts here.

Dear Santa Claus,

I was so relieved when I found out that you didn’t exist.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of Christmas spirit as much as the next person.  Decorating the tree, making paper chains, putting out socks (upstairs) and pillowcases (downstairs) were, and still are, a load of fun.  For several years, it was somehow important to make a nativity scene using toilet roll middles, cotton wool and felt-tip-pens.  After that we had a spate of making those Christmas decorations (Santa, angels, little drummer boy) made out of a clothes peg.   I think that’s just a more advanced version of toilet roll middles.

We would save up chocolate from my birthday (October) onwards so that we could have a ‘feast’ early on Christmas morning.  Every year we seemed to forget that chocolate tastes completely disgusting when you’ve just woken up.

Then we would excitedly open the Christmas sock upstairs (apple, satsuma, Chocolate money, shiny pennies, pencil sharpener) and wait till we were allowed to go downstairs to see what wonderful things were in our pillowcases.  The excitement!

But the actual Santa business, I found pretty confusing.  From a very early age, I could see that it didn’t make sense, for you to get all the way round the world in one night.  I think the pseudo-scientific explanations were even worse than ‘it’s just magic’.  It bugged me.  Everyone said Santa was true, but the story just didn’t fit in with the way that things work in the rest of the world.  It sat uncomfortably with all the other things I knew about the world, even the scary ones, like death and infinity (yes, I was an obnoxious 6-year-old).

Then at school, I found out that not only did people get presents from Santa, they got presents from their parents as well!  My parents didn’t give me anything for Christmas. Just Santa and the other relatives.  Why was that?  I gave them presents.

To be fair to my (rather rational) parents, they probably thought they were taking the best route to making it clear to us that it was all a story without actually saying so explicitly.  We didn’t have carrots with teethmarks, or footprints outside or anything.

There’s another thing: we had no open chimneys.  I had to wonder, could you just pick locks?  Or did my parents let you in?

I continued for a while to try to make the fantasy fit the facts.  But when I figured out (or was told) that you didn’t exist, it was like letting out a big breath.  Christmas didn’t get any less fun.  It just hurt my brain a bit less.

A few years ago, I had an argument with Mr Woodsmoke about whether kids should be told that you’re real (the argument was all the more ridiculous given that we’re not having kids).  He believes that kids should get the standard ‘magic of Santa’ thing.  I, of course, take the opposite view.  I think Santa is still magical even if you know he’s a story.  I don’t remember playing kings and queens to be no fun because it wasn’t real.   I didn’t complain every time I read an Enid Blyton book that it hadn’t happened in real life.

So Santa, I really appreciate the presents and all that, but how about we get over this “Santa is real” nonsense and enjoy you for the fun traditional story that you are?   I don’t think I’m the only scientifically-minded little kid who’d enjoy that approach even better.

Love, blurofwoodsmoke.


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20 Responses to Dear Santa…

  1. Jenn says:

    Interesting post!! I’m not sure what I’ll do when I have children-but I think I’ll be more like your husband ;)

  2. Skip says:

    I can’t actually remember ever believing in Santa (or being confused by it). Not sure whether that tells me something about my parents’ approach to the whole Santa thing (which is pretty much in line with your view) or amnesia about the first 6 years of my life…
    I do find it troubling to tell outright lies to small children about such a thing (though I’d be much more comfortable with lying about “the annoying talking toy is broken” when it has no batteries in it…).

  3. Peeriemoot says:

    I don’t remember ever actually believing and I don’t think for one second that it’s necessary for the enjoyment of Christmas ‘cos I love Christmas! I don’t do the Santa Claus thing with my kids because it’s not just a little white lie, it’s a huge out-and-out monster of a lie. I get particularly annoyed with the ‘if you don’t believe you won’t get presents/you’re a bad person’ themes of films like The Santa Clause or Polar Express. It’s not just down to me though – the kids got all the ‘believing in Santa’ stuff from relatives (not on my side though, as you’ll have guessed!), from other kids, from nursery and school, so they do believe or have believed.

    • Do kids still get asked at school what they got from Santa? (as in, formally, by the teachers) That always seemed like a terrible thing to do, not just from the Santa belief angle: there were always the bragging kids who’d got the latest gear then the one or two folk who didn’t celebrate Christmas sitting there looking awkward…

      • Peeriemoot says:

        I don’t know actually. I suspect not by the teachers. I remember the bragging kids from my childhood! But other kids, other parents and other well-meaning but essentially thoughtless adults Talking this over with Skip earlier I think my real issue with the whole thing is that other people are allowed to tell a big lie to MY children and I’m expected to go along with it.

  4. When I was five I informed my mom that I knew Santa wasn’t real, but that I would keep pretending he was…for the sake of my grandparents.

  5. Jen says:

    I don’t want my kids to ever stop believing in Santa. Heck, I still believe.

  6. CaJoh says:

    Stopping by from Mama Kat’s…

    I think I may have been told not to tell someone that Santa isn’t real (I guessed they assumed that I already knew) I wasn’t devastated, just disappointed that nobody told me directly.

  7. We let the girls believe (and the middle girl, at 8, still does). I am tempted w/the boy, though, to just tell him straight up it’s me! I buy all this crap! It’s me! But, I probably won’t. I think I’ll let Santa seep into his brain and just not do the whole is he/isn’t he real thing. He’s only 2; I have time. BUT. Even in saying that, I have this incredible desire to try to hold on to the magic of it all for the 8 yr old b/c she is so sweet in her belief and I think just on the edge of disbelief. I don’t want to lose that sparkle in her eye but then I don’t want her to be sad when she realizes the fat bearded man at the mall is the closest thing to a real Santa.

  8. betsy says:

    I remember believing in Santa but I wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t exist. It was like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc… I sorta knew they weren’t real, anyway. And now, with my own kids, I only talk about Santa when they do. I don’t read them Santa stories or ask them what they want from Santa. They get enough of that at school. What they don’t get enough of is talking about the reason we celebrate Christmas. My parents did the whole “did you hear Santa on the roof top?” thing but my husband and I feel like things have gotten so out of hand with the secular side of Christmas that we choose to only talk about Christ’s birth when our kids ask about Christmas. It’s not that we think the whole Santa thing is evil or whatever… I mean, my dad is a pastor and loved playing up the whole Santa thing. We just choose to do something different.

  9. momma says:

    You mean there is no Santa????

  10. Dana K says:

    Officially, I still believe and he better bring me an iPad 2. That said, mom never officially said “Santa is Real,” but we believed. Whenever we asked, her pat response was “if you stop believing, he stops coming.” Hence the reason my sister & I still believe. ;-)

    She did focus more on the story of St Nicholas and explained that Santa has “helpers” that spread the spirit of St. Nicholas. That left room for her to be one of the helpers (and our next door neighbor who looked JUST LIKE SANTA).

    I’m not a fan of attaching threats to Santa. This is probably not going to go over well when I correct some of the inlaws.

    visiting from MamaKat’s

  11. I remember believing, can’t remember when or why I stopped.

  12. Pingback: (A bit of) 2011 in blog posts | blurofwoodsmoke

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