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Santa Doesn’t Stop Here

Santa doesn’t come to our house.  He did when Hannah was little.  Every year the huz and I would scrimp, scrape, and scramble to create a pile of presents for Hannah, no matter how strapped for cash we were.  Those were some POOR years, when the huz was trying to support all of us on a waiter’s salary, and then I’d have to write “From Santa” on each one!

When Hannah was eight, she found out about Santa.  And when she asked us to confirm what she heard, I told her the truth.  She sadly looked at her baby brother and then looked up at me and said “So it was all a lie?  Please don’t do that to Patrick.”  We felt awful, and the huz and I decided right then that Santa wouldn’t be a part of our Christmas/Yule celebration any longer.

When fall rolled around again I kept thinking about the pile of presents we worked so hard each year to create, torn down and unwrapped in a matter of minutes!  It was always so anticlimactic, to see the shiny wrappings shredded on the floor, as Hannah would look at each toy briefly before moving onto the next.  Most of the things we got her were cheaply made and purchased purely because they fit into our budget.  This was not the message we wanted to send to our children about gift giving.

The next year we changed our present policy to reflect this.  No longer would we scramble to create the largest pile possible under the tree.  Instead, each person in our family gets ONE special thing.  One present, big or small, that is purchased with loving care and a stocking full of little silly things to open for fun.  And everyone gets pajamas to open the night before, because that’s what my Grammy always did.

I used to worry that because my kids know that Santa “is just a fun thing people do for Christmas” they might accidentally tell a friend and I would have irate parents knocking on my door.  But last year, I overheard Patrick talking to his friends about Santa.

“Oh!  Santa comes to your house….”  He paused, and I cringed.  “Hey that’s GREAT! Santa is really COOL!”

And I breathed a sigh of relief.

Do you do the whole Santa thing?



58 Responses to Santa Doesn’t Stop Here

  1. Santa is an argument I lost. So we do Santa and I was Scroogey about it for a few years. Now I go along with the fun-for-now and dread when they find out. Every kid reacts differently to the news.

  2. Love this post. We have been contemplating this exact thing this year, as my oldest is about to turn 10. These thoughts especially speak to my heart.

    “Every year the huz and I would scrimp, scrape, and scramble to create a pile of presents for Hannah, no matter how strapped for cash we were… Most of the things we got her were cheaply made and purchased purely because they fit into our budget. This was not the message we wanted to send to our children about gift giving.”

    We spend a crazy stress filled few hours at WalMart or Target sometime the week before Christmas every year- and it breaks my spirit just a little each time. This year we are especially tight and I really don’t know how we will get any gifts to be honest. I want to tell her so she won’t be heart broken- a couple years ago she cried because her best friend got a guitar and other very cool gifts from Santa and she got a plastic Tinker Bell toy. And I really do not want to have to “keep up the lie” with my littles. Although I think she may suspect, as she has been questioning me about the fairy notes, and she knows we “are the Easter bunny”- but she hasn’t let on.

    It is good to hear that it has increased the joy of the season for your family- I am inspired. Thank you for sharing.

  3. We cut back out of desire and out of necessity. We do three gifts: One of need/necessity/function. One that is handmade. One of luxury. That doesn’t mean pricey. The first could mean a coat. The second a handmade bracelet. The third a CD. It puts more thought into the gifts and less thought into numbers. I’m 15 so I know about Santa, but we did do it when I was young. Until I confessed that the idea of a stranger coming in while we slept gave me nightmares.

  4. Nope. I actually just wrote about this not too long ago. I’m totally over the whole stress filled gift buying part of Christmas. Unfortunately, to my husband, that is what Christmas is supposed to be about. At least I won the anti-Santa stance.

  5. I wasn’t upset when I discovered Santa. I always thought it was amazing that my parents went to such hard work to make that fantasy real to me. Although, Santa only left one gift under the tree and filled our stockings. All the other gifts were from us to each other.
    I have had some doubts about doing Santa in our home, because I don’t want to lie to my child about anything. But my husband and I talked and we both felt that the dream of Santa in our childhoods was a lot of fun and we want to continue that tradition for our daughter. I plan on just having “Santa” fill our stockings the night before and leaving a “Santa gift” under the tree.
    Even though I’m 25 and my brothers are 14 & 15, my mom still has Santa fill the stockings and leave a gift for each of us under the tree.

  6. I had an awkward conversation the other day with one of my doctors. Towards the end of my appointment, she told me I should take advantage of having a babysitter and get some christmas shopping done. Now, if that’s all she had said, I would have just agreed. But then she asked if I had all the presents for my kids bought yet. I told her no. (i should have just said yes) She told me I’d better hurry up, then. Which is when I told her that we don’t celebrate christmas, and we don’t buy presents. The look on her face was almost one of disgust. Like I told her I light kittens on fire for fun. Then she said, in a voice that I knew meant she could not believe what she was hearing, “What?! You don’t buy your kids any presents?!” I told her that none of us get presents. That’s not how we celebrate. We do crafts and bake. We spend time together as a family. Seriously, I thought she was going to have a stroke right there. Sigh. I knew it would have just been easier to lie, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to lie about how we celebrate things just so other people don’t feel uncomfortable.
    Hubby’s family does present exchanges, but we can’t participate in that this year because there is NO money for anything that isn’t needed. Which includes gifts for people we only see a couple times a year. My family stopped doing the present thing a long time ago. Though, they do buy things for the kids, and my mom mantra about Santa is “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive”. So, this year, now that my son is old enough to understand more adult things, we’re going to start learning about the true history of Santa.

    Because, it is our right to celebrate how we want to.

  7. We do have Santa, but my little is 3. I’ve thought a lot about Santa for a large number of years (also, completely off-topic, I love this little frame I’m typing in – OMG, so friggin’ cute!) because of how I found out. I didn’t know until I was ten. At Christmastime, my 5th grade teacher assigned a journal-writing assignment. The topic? “How I found out there was no Santa Claus.” I didn’t have the guts at 10 to write “you just told me,” though I really wish I had. Anyhow. For us, I realized, Santa is not fictional. The man who represents him is fictional character, yes, but Thomas is fictional and that doesn’t mean we don’t like trains or encourage playing with toy trains with faces. Santa Claus the jolly old elf in a suit is a figurehead. A symbol. Like the tree, wreath, lights and everything else. The truth of it, though, is that the *spirit* of Santa? It’s alive in us. It’s our own holiday spirit, wanting to pass on the love and joy of the season to our friends, family and children. The difference? Only some of us know that it takes a lot of work to make a holiday, and only some of us DO that work to make the holiday magical for others.

  8. Santa definitely comes to our house, I am fairly certain that my 9 year old knows that something is up. The thing is personally I do believe in Santa, not in a literal way necessarily, but I believe. However, I struggled with the same thing for years. The last couple years we have stressed quality over quantity in our gift giving and recieving. Mommy & Daddy get to give the one big special gift each year, and Santa brings stockings, books, and clothes. We also get pajamas on Christmas Eve! It’s a family tradition I have always loved :)

  9. Santa doesn’t stop here either. Partially because my son has been Santa phobic for as long as I can remember, even resulting in one round of tears when he was two of “Please mommy don’t let a strange fat man into my house!” The other part is because I don’t believe it’s right. DH & I try our hardest throughout the year to show the kids that it’s not how MUCH you have, it’s WHAT you have & WHAT you do with it that’s important. Why should Yule be any different? We have a small budget as a family of 5 & if it works year round, I refuse to splurge on the holidays. Nor do I want the sense of accomplishment, from myself or my kids, regarding the hard work & effort that’s put into finding the perfect gift for a loved one diminished by the figment of Santa.
    I get asked all the time why we do this & why I put my kids out, but honestly, watching their faces light up as they’ve been making little gifts for family these past few weeks, knowing that they’re doing for others rather than waiting around for ‘presents’ tells me they’re not missing out on anything. =)

  10. Funny thing, I HATED the whole Santa thing as a kid speciffically BECAUSE i felt sorry for my parents having to write “from santa” on all the presents THEY got me. When Evelyn was born I had several LONG conversations online with friends about what to do re Santa. (This was 1992 and there was no internet, just an online BBS and my trusty 1200 baud modem. believe me, they were LONG convos! even as text only )

    the consensus was, tell her EVERYTHING about Santa, but NEVER lie. so i didn’t. i have never written from santa on anything. i told her (and the others now as well) all about what myths were and the different kinds of “real”. and that Santa was about the spirit of generosity etc etc .

    around about the age of 4 Evelyn wanted to have a more lengthy chat about it and i went over it all for again, and then she looked up at me and said:
    “i have thought about it a lot. and since i can pick if i want to believe in santa or not, i pick believing. i believe in Santa.”

    and you know what? at 19, she still does! Conscious Faith is something that I really have to respect :)

    The others have yet to come out with any declaration of belief in either direction but i still never lie and never write From Santa on anything.

  11. I’ve been thinking so much about this lately. I’ve never wanted to do the whole Santa thing but somehow the myth has always been told to my kids, thru family & I’m such a doormat that I just played along and perpetuated it. Now the 6 yr old has gotten wind of the idea that Santa might not be an actual factual entity and the 18 month old is clueless, so I’ve been thinking this is a good time to break the cycle.

    That’s just one thing I want to change about the way we celebrate the holidays. Kind of heavy thought and when i say them out loud to someone who doesn’t get it, they look at me like I’m a killjoy :-/

  12. Nope, we don’t do Santa. We don’t really do very many gifts at all on Christmas because we give all year/ whenever we want or need something. We focus more on the family time and the special foods that we don’t eat very often. This year, my husband and I are considering donating our time to a local cause as our gifts to each other.

  13. We did Santa when I was a kid. I found out early because my parents made the mistake of hand writing a letter from Santa to us kids. I was able to tell it was my dad’s handwriting by the time I was about 8. But I was forced to continue with it for my younger brother’s benefit. When he was about 10, he found out that Santa wasn’t real. He was SO hurt that he was lied to that he hated Christmas and was mad at my mom for a long while. I made the vow NEVER to do that to my kids. So, Santa doesn’t stop here either. I told my oldest son that some people DO believe in Santa and that he should let them believe cause it is fun for them.

  14. We do Santa. By the time I came into Punky’s life, Santa was well established and I sure as hell wasn’t going to be the one to take him away. We DO discuss the “evolution” of Santa, so to speak – how he has behaved (and even looked) differently throughout history and in different places. It allows me to wrap the whole thing in a Pagan-y feel. I’m sure we’ll do the same for Flintstone and any future little ones (should we be so blessed).

    I agree with your stance, and I think it’s a wonderful tradition. I’m working on integrating other traditions into our holidays. We do things for charity, make gifts for each other and for loved ones, decorate the tree, and celebrate the solstice with it’s own ritual.

  15. As our baby is only 2, we have a little while yet before we have to decide – but I’m thinking we are going to put a “No Santa” mat on our door step as well, figuratively speaking. I remember how upset I was when I found out Santa wasn’t real, and I don’t ever want to do that to my daughter. Teaching honesty should happen the whole year round, not just every year except December.

  16. Yes, we do. We love Santa here. This is the letter I intend to write to my children when they need to learn the truth…


    I love the story. I learned the truth about Santa and I was not devastated but instead, I was in awe of the magic my parents worked so hard to create for ME. I loved it so much and I have so many great memories.

    Now as far as gifts go, we spend waaaay too much at Christmas time. There is nothing under the tree that isn’t truly loved.

  17. My parents did 7 small presents and 1 bigger present for Chanukkah.. I really liked that as a kid. I knew that i would be getting socks or underwear, but id get something else too

  18. We do Santa, we even have an Elf that visits all month. Now, do my boys actually *believe* in Santa? I’m dubious personally. The older one did believe at one point for a few years but I don’t think the younger one ever did really. Neither will actually admit it (they are 8 & 9) but given things they say, I think Santa is just a holiday tradition we do every year, like the Lego advent calendar, making cookies with the neighbors & welcoming the new Sun on the Solstice.
    we do 3-4 presents every year – something you want, something to read, something to play with and something from Santa. The stockings are from Santa as well because Mom would never give a kid a 2 pound bag of Skittles. :)

  19. I’m 35 and ABSOLUTELY believe in Santa. We’ve been living paycheck to paycheck for quite some time (pretty much forever), but about a month ago, the paychecks stopped. My husband lost his job. I don’t work because of medical issues, plus the fact that we can’t afford for me to work since, with all the things I do to save us money, I’d have to make 4-5 times what my husband would just to BREAK EVEN with staying home.

    Going this long without any income (his unemployment checks don’t even cover rent for our single wide trailer and the car payment for our 2007 van) means there is absolutely no money to spend on Christmas. I’ve been working on collecting free used items and making gifts for the kids, but, because of the outpouring of love, support, and generosity of others, the kids will have no noticeable difference in their holidays this year! To me, THAT is Santa. A spirit of giving that is alive and well and not any sort of lie.

  20. We still do Father Christmas. (We’re English, so it’s Father Christmas, not Santa). But he only leaves a few fun gifts in the stocking. All the main presents, under the tree, are from us. There will be one meaningful present in the stocking, that they have specifically asked Father Christmas for (they’re only allowed to ask him for one present!) Everything else they want is under the tree from us, their parents.

  21. Santa comes to our house but I don’t expect it to be for very much longer. Kids seem to realize at a younger and younger age, that Santa isn’t real these days. However, my oldest eld on to her belief in Santa until she was about 11. I love finding some of the old stories of his origins and sharing them with the kids. It’s just something my kids love to do. Mostly though, Christmas is a day spent with our extensive family, eating, laughing and spending time together.

  22. I kinda let the kids set the mood for the holidays. I just love to see what thier imagination comes up with. My kids seem to be more into the tree and seeing what all can be hung up on the tree ( they are 4, 2 and 1). My daughter is wanting to bake cookie soon and all she has really asked for was some pj’s and a doll. So i am thinking of maybe just making them each something really cool. But she has kinda thrown in some new traditions on me.

  23. Santa fills the stocking we hang on our bed, all the presents under the tree are from real people, friends, relatives, each other. I don’t understand why some folks label everything “from Santa”, doesn’t it bother them that their kids don’t appreciate the thought and effort thats gone into each gift because they think that Santa has magicked it up, and they don’t realise that actually mum & dad have had to work hard to pay for and also take the time to buy & wrap them. And don’t these kids mind that their mum and dad haven’t given them any presents, but Santa and Aunty & uncle & granny etc have?? It’s crazy!

    Nope, Santa fills your stocking with small fun gifts, the real presents come from us.

  24. I believe in angels and fairys and kind spirit guides. I ask them for treats and help all year round. So much more fun than Santa, and they are there all year!

    When I was a kid I really bought into Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc and I was really disappointed when I found out “the truth” … I don’t have kids now, but when I do I might skip Santa and go straight for the angels LOL

    Coincidentally I wrote a post about this a couple months ago!


    love and light


  25. Yeah, we do Santa, although I’m not sure how much longer that’ll last 😉 BUT he only brings one gift for each of our girls and we don’t make a big deal about him. We also are not huge gift givers. I’d rather the kids only got one thing as long as it is heartfelt (and we prefer homemade or from etsy!), rather than a pile of crap plastic gifts that they’ll never play with. Definitely quality over quantity!

    I honestly don’t remember how or when I found out about Santa, and I also don’t remember it being traumatic what-so-ever (or else I’d probably remember). But even after I found out (and consequently my brother found out…he is 3 1/2 years younger than me), we still got presents from ‘Santa’…I got presents from ‘Santa’ last Christmas and I’m 27! Haha! I think its silly, but fun in a way and we don’t mind at all :)

  26. I love this. I was raised with the understanding that Santa was fake, and rather silly (I’m paraphrasing and editing). I don’t want my kids let down like your daughter was, so when the subject came up I treated it like I did magic or any other make believe story. My kids draw their own conclusions. Then I married into a big Santa believing family…now I’m the wicked witch if the south for just taking it in stride…instead of making SURE my kids believe. Oh well.

  27. When my oldest discovered the truth at 11 years old, she wasn’t upset at all. I told her that Santa was an actual person in the past who did very kind things for children, and that he became a legend. (St. Nicholas – Biography had a very good episode about him.) We honor that spirit by trying to recreate that magic. She handled it without any problem. I’m honestly not sure what will happen when my youngest finds out. I’m hoping she will be OK, but Santa doesn’t necessarily bring a lot of gifts to my house. We told the children that he checks with the parents to find out what is OK for him to bring, and that there are other children who need gifts even more.

  28. The majority of Monster’s presents come from us. Santa only brings one gift. I figure it’s the best of both worlds – Santa doesn’t get all the credit for my hard work, but there’s still a little bit of magic in the season – we have someone to leave a “magic key” out for, cookies, etc. I’m doing a really awesome advent calendar this month of holiday-inspired family activities to bring us all closer together.

    We do new jammies the night before too. :)

  29. We do exactly what you do, 1 big present from us and a stocking of fun little things. Usually there is at least one handmade thing in the stocking, and part of my decision to not do Santa was that it would be hard to hide the mama made amongst the store bought.
    What’s interesting to me is that I was very into make believe as a child, unicorns and fairies and Santa. I remember being very sad at the age of 6 when I realized that Santa brought better presents to some kinds then others. I knew it had something to do with how much money each family had and that seemed extremely unfair. It was a relief to find out that he was pretend.
    While Moira loves fairies and magic, she is very clear about what is real and what is pretend. I’m sure if I told her Santa was real, she’d believe me, but when she won’t even pretend to be a cat without informing us that she is a “pretend cat” it seems silly to insist, when she is right about what is real.
    When my father in law found out last year that we weren’t doing Santa, he basically said that he was going to do tell her he was, but fortunately, he isn’t so good on actual follow through, so he hasn’t mentioned it since. I suppose if his presents start showing up with “From Santa” written on them, we will just tell her that Grandpa also likes to pretend sometimes.

  30. We do Santa. My almost 10 year old will be experiencing her first xmas aware that Santa is not real, but is willing to keep the magic alive for her sister. I look at Santa as the magic of xmas, and that it is in our hearts to keep the magic alive for the young. No longer believing in Santa is a right of passage. When one becomes wiser, we can then pass on our knowledge, wisdom, kindness and love, and embody what Santa means to those who still believe. There is no lie. There is a Santa in each and every one of us. And there is nothing wrong with feeling that magic.

    I wish christians would do that, embody the meaning of santa. Instead I see judgement, hatred, condescension, hypocracy, and disapproval for those who don’t believe by those that still do. To me, Jesus is just another Santa. Something to believe in that isn’t real. Yet it holds a magic and a hope. I feel like i went thru a passage of maturity, where once i believed and then thru education, research and simple maturity, realized that it was all an illusion.

    Our Santa fills the stockings and leaves one present for each of the girls, something “special”. they leave milk and cookies and carrots out for the reigndeer, and i make sure to sip some milk and leave a bite out of both the carrot and cookies as “proof” that Santa was there (like christians often find “proof” to further their belief). My 10 year old believed as long as she did because she once heard the door open and close late at night, thinking it was santa coming and going (it was really me getting presents from the trunk of my car). It is amazing the power of “proof”. We explained that this is a powerful tool towards the illusion of santa (and of jesus also).

  31. We used to when I was a kid, and I don’t even remember the day my parents told me it was not true. I do, however, remember the fun the next year helping to prepare everything for my younger sister… our Dad would take her on a walk, and she locked the livingroom door before, where there was just a decorated tree. She would then hide the key somewhere (wasn’t allowed to take it with her, so as not to lose it *ahem*) and they would head out for at least one hour. And we would use this time to light candles, place gifts under the tree etc. and then lock the room again.

    However, I do not think I will do this with our own children when they grow up (once we have got them). I think it simply doesn’t fit.

  32. Yes, we did Santa when the boys were little. My mother reacted much the way Hannah did when she found out about Santa, so my parents didn’t do Santa with me, and I always felt I’d missed out. Kids are all different, obviously.

    When our kids were old enough to question it (Jakob was only FIVE!), our discussion went much the same way Lauren described in her post. We talked about symbolism more than anything else.

    (I must say I can’t wrap my brain around believing in other supernatural things but scoffing at Santa. How do you KNOW he isn’t real??? 😉

  33. Who’s Santa? lol

    Lately I’ve been watching a lot of talks by/with Joseph Campbell on spirituality, mythology, and religion. I’m really struggling right now, because I grew up in a Methodist Church family, but by the time I was 16 my faith was completely destroyed by the actions of my former sunday school teacher – who was also my mother. I’ve never actually replaced it with another “mythos” and now I’m acutely aware of how rudderless I am. I don’t know what else to say, except that Santa doesn’t, hasn’t, and won’t ever come here.

  34. I don’t do Santa in my home. I knew it would be a long time before I would have the money to make Santa a consistant gift giver. However my mother didn’t want the kids to miss out on Santa so on Christmas morning we head up to her house and the kids get there prestents from Santa.
    For our family this works out great. My husband and I give them our gifts on Yule and the grandparents do their gifts and the Santa presents.

  35. Nope. No Santa here. My mom didn’t do Santa with me and how thankful I am for that. My childhood was rocky enough without having to deal with the instability of learning that what I believed was reality is really just a fantasy. My mom vowed to never do Santa with her kids because she herself was brought up to believe in it and was devastated when she learned the truth. My children are so TRUSTING and look to my husband and I for all the answers to EVERYthing. We want them to ALWAYS be able to trust us. I cannot imagine lying to them. We have no interest in doing something that would jeapordize such a precious gift as their trust.

  36. We do Santa but not by my choice. My in laws basically had a cow over the whole “no Santa” thing and went out of their way to make sure they told my little ‘un about how wonderful Santa was so now I have to follow. I would hate to confuse the little guy.

  37. My one grandfather played Santa for many years up until the year before he died. I always knew that Poppop was one of Santa’s helpers and I always figured that he was one of the wee folk since he hung out with elves. Since the folk play a big role in my faith, I have no issue with Santa. I don’t have children but when I do I plan on explaining Santa to them this way. (Plus gifts aren’t always under the tree or come as yule time!)


  38. We do Santa/The Holly King. I have a 4 (almost 5) year old son (and a toddler who is not old enough to understand, but we’ll do the same with her). We’ve told him from the very beginning that “Santa is not a real person. He’s the Spirit of Giving. When you get a gift from Santa or from the Holly King, it’s really from a person who loves you who wishes to stay anonymous because Yule isn’t about getting credit for the gifts you give.”

    He’s always understood that. :-) He also knows that the Santas at malls and such are just regular guys dressing up like Santa, and that some kids believe that Santa is a real person– and that’s ok.

  39. My parents didn’t “do” Santa, because my mother remembered her own childhood and feeling similarly to how you describe Hannah’s feelings. She said she felt lied to. I think the grass might well be greener on the other side, because I always felt I missed on on some fun as a kid. I did Santa with my boys, and when Jakob started asking questions (he was little…only about 5yo), I asked what he thought. If they question, that means they doubt. He said he thought it was make-believe, and I confirmed it and we talked about the spirit of the season and what Santa symbolizes. He didn’t appear to be traumatized. Adam never questioned anything about Santa (not to me, anyway), and I don’t know when he stopped believing. It was pretty much a non-event.

  40. My daughter is only 2, and I haven’t really thought about it. Hannah’s reaction really has gotten me thinking! Thanks for sharing. I don’t remember what I thought when I realized there was no Santa, so it’s nice to get input.

  41. We don’t either for similar reasons. I’m not really worried about them telling other kids-there’s always some kid that breaks the news! It’s nice to know we aren’t alone. All my friends keep posting about how sad it is when people don’t let their kids celebrate Santa-and then I try to be the bigger person and not respond.

  42. We do Santa (not that either of my kids understand yet) but he only fills the stockings. I completely understand not doing Santa but I like the magic of it and I was distinctly not traumatized when I figured it out so that’s where I’m coming from. I have a feeling Santa may not last long in our house though since my oldest has a developmental disability similar to autism and it’s likely that he’ll figure it out quickly and be unwilling to play along for his sibling(s).

  43. I do Santa, but it bugs me. So, I’ve always limited Santa’s thing to one present per person. We also do pajamas (or sheets one year) Yule-Eve. I make sure to tell my girl that she probably won’t get everything she asks for, and if it’s something she really, really wants, she can ask for it for her birthday too. The thing that bothers me is that I choose things based on what my child likes and wants and I don’t like that some other person gets the credit.

    But, now that I’m a single mom, I do something similar for her dad who lives out of state. If he can’t get her a present here – on time – I designate one to be from him. Last year, he just sent me more money in Dec & in our daughters birth month to help out and I chose something to be from him, but I would have done so even if he couldn’t send extra money, because I don’t want my child to grow up thinking that her father doesn’t care enough to send her something on Yule & her birthday.

    I think I was 4 or 5 when my oldest brother ruined the Santa charade for me. I don’t really remember it, I just remember knowing that Santa was just make believe. But, I also grew up very poor, so there were some years when we only got one present because that’s all my mom could afford. In fact, one year, she made my sister & me each a blanket made out of sheets and batting and some yarn. I was a bit disappointed to see the tree, but I also knew that she had worked really hard on those, and had kept it secret from us until they were ready, so it was a big deal to me. 25 years later, I still have that blanket – though it really needs some repairs. My sister still has hers, too.

    I’d rather leave a legacy of love and caring to my daughter than a bunch of cheap toys that she won’t even remember in 25 years.

  44. We do Santa. We only have one child (almost 10, and somehow still believes),and she only gets one present from Santa which is generally somethings she really wants. This year my husband is making a wood bed for her doll. We also fill stocking with fun things. She has presents under the tree that are not from Santa, and these generally include things she needs such as clothes, rain boots, etc. We have no empty feelings upon unwrapping presents and looking at the carnage, but quite the opposite. She does not get anything that is cheap crap, but thoughtful much needed items. The feeling I had as a child was magical to me. Even when I found out there was no hurt or anger, but the feeling of being let in on a huge secret. The magic is still there for me….even being super poor and struggling.

  45. We do Santa at our house. My 13yo, almost 8yo, 5yo, and 3yo all believe in him. Heck, I’m 36 and believe in him! Last year, my husband had just gotten fired about a month and a half before Christmas and we’d been struggling before that so there was NO money for Christmas. Somehow, there was far more under the tree come Christmas morning than in previous years. An outpouring of unexpected and unasked for support from the community, our UU church, and our local homeschool group all created an abundance of the likes we’d never seen. Somehow, no matter how strapped we are, Santa always finds a way to get the kids the perfect few presents..even if it isn’t something we would buy for them.

  46. Well, yes, we do Santa. But I will approach Santa questions later on much like my parents did. When we were old enough to question his existence, my mother would return the question with a question, “Do YOU believe in Santa?” More often than not I would insist that I did, and my mom would say along the line of, “Well, if you believe in him then he exists in your heart.” That was a good enough answer for us!

    Somewhere down the line, we all grew out of the Santa mythology…I think partly because one year I found the Christmas presents hidden in my parents’ closet. But it wasn’t a traumatic experience, because in the end my mom did not insist one way or another. She left it up to us.

  47. Thank you so much for writing this. We do NOT do Santa at our house- well really we don’t do anything. Though I do love the old holiday movies!!! I always get parents thinking I am judging them though when I say we don’t lie to our kids… but it is a lie! LOL oh well… we don’t do the tooth fairy either or easter bunny… i think you can make childhood magical without those beings.

  48. Hi Joni Rae and all,
    I just wanted to chime in about our Solstice ritual. We are a blended family and our religions vary. Here is what we do, daughter 9 stepdaughter16 Husband and I: on Solstice, or when we can all get together we do our family ritual. We each give each other one gift- and as the gift is given we trade. As I hand daughter a gift, she tells me something she loves about me. and around the circle. Then daughter hands my husband a gift and he returns with a loving thought. The whole thing is super rewarding! then on Christmas, Santa fills a stocking, I can’t let it go… none of us are true believers, but all of us like Christmas treats, and sometimes my 9 year old likes to pretend.

  49. I can understand why you don’t do Santa during Yule, and I can’t blame you for it. Honestly I’m not sure what I will do when I have kids (if I have any at this point). My mother always told me that Santa was the spirit of Christmas and the Holidays season. That Santa wasn’t a flesh and blood person but that he was magic. When I got older and knew that my parents were playing Santa I didn’t get upset because they hadn’t lied to me about it. They were truthful about the fact that Santa wasn’t really a person, they just never came out and said that they were putting the presents under the tree.

  50. We do presents over a weeks time for Yule, and on Xmas morning, we have stockings and the kids are able to ask ‘santa’ for 2 or 3 reasonable gifts. I will not do the 15-20 item lists my parents allowed (and bought) me as a kid. I plan on next year it being one gift from Santa, and plan on dwindling down the gift giving and save the money for family vacations instead, now that the kids are older. I would have much rather spent time together as a family in neat locations instead of the plethora of gifts I received as a kid.

  51. I like that. We have had a small, potted, live tree the past few years for our Xmas tree, but don’t have that this year. Instead of getting a bunch of presents for each kid, we got the family a tv (which we went without for most of our 7 years together!), and will get a new game for the roommate’s WII. I’ll fill a stocking for each boy with oranges, apples, chocolates, and a gift card for whatever game they want on their computers/ipod. This is Rowan’s last year for Santa. He said that he knows Santa is just a ‘legend’, but wants to hang onto the magic, which I am totally okay with providing for him! We found a website and sent Santa an email, and got a personalized email and video response; it was sweet and fun for him. I think we’ll forgo Santa for our next one, and stick to just celebrating winter and family togetherness time, especially since the three boys all go to other family’s houses for the actual day. :)

  52. I never went for the big pile of gifts, I think I tried once, but quickly realized how ridiculous it was. I am not sure the kids ever believed in Santa, I taught them that Santa is not one person, but many, he is in all of us. He is the spirit of Christmas, of love and Giving. We all get a nice gift and stalkings filled with candy and little novelty Items, like Jacobs latter and such. Never outside our budgets, One year when I was military, me and the kids were alone and broke, living in a one bedroom temporary housing that cost us more than I made. So we took charity, and I was shocked how many people took advantage of this charity. People were spending thousands and then taking charity claiming that they could not afford gifts. I was humbled by the few gifts of clothes and games we got and Christmas was awesome! This is why I hate Christmas, people have blown it way out of proportion, kids are getting gifts they do not need nor deserve. I hate the rush and the selfish people who push you to get the hottest toys and crowd isles. People really need to think about what it really is and give more than you take. Charities need help every year, go to a soup kitchen, donate jackets and Christmas food, buy a meal for a homeless person.

  53. No Santa here! I always thought we would…but then I realized that we didn’t lie about anything else…so why lie about this? As a child it caused nothing but anxiety anyway (was I good enough??? Would I get coal????) And I didn’t appreciate when my parents explained away my questions instead of being honest.

    Each year my big thing is makinjg sure each kid had at least one gift I made myself. :)

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