We've Never Done "Santa" and the Kids Are Alright!

We're that family that doesn't do Santa at Christmastime. The more I talk about this online, the more I realize there are actually many families like ours, and at the very least, there are many families out there with a bit of dissonance around the whole thing. If you'd like to read a detailed post on why we don't do Santa, see here, and if you'd like to read my most recent musings on why it's been a great decision for us, see here. I can now say, as a parent of kids who are past the Santa age (they're 7, 9, and 10) that it was the right decision for us and our kids are quite alright!

Today I wanted to tackle a few often asked questions. Especially with all three being school aged how did they handle the Santa secret with their peers, and how did we navigate the many Santa-themed activities they do at school, and aren't they feeling a bit left out?

Keeping The Secret 

We've always insisted that our kids don't spoil the secret for others. It's the choice of every individual family and we're not about to have our kids hurting feelings over a fun tradition. That said, last year two of our kids were asked head on from peers if they believed in Santa. This is where it gets awkward, because we don't want them to lie for obvious reasons. 

We've taught the kids to say, "I personally don't believe in Santa, but you can believe whatever you want!" 
They don't say why they don't believe (because we told them the truth!) as that would probably convince their peers and we have no interest in making other kids not believe in something that's special for them. I think it's so important for kids to learn from a young age that it's okay to have opposing beliefs and to communicate them respectfully. 

Santa Themed Activities

Our kids have all attended public school with the exception of Oli beginning homeschool this year. This means come December, every craft has a Santa theme and every song is about him. Honestly, I just let it go. Our kids know full well that he's not real but it's fun to participate in these songs and crafts at school. As with many things in life, they've learned that they won't always share the beliefs of their peers and that doesn't mean they need to break fellowship with them or be offended by everything.

Feeling Left Out? 

I'm often asked if our kids are left out by the lack of "magic" that Santa provides for the Holidays. I can say confidently that this has never been the case for our kids! As Christians, Christmas is magic because God became man and dwelt among us, and because that miracle means life everlasting for all who love him. There is nothing more magical than this beautiful news! We focus our hearts on the joys of the season beginning with Advent (this year it's November 29th, fyi!) and for the next four weeks we're constantly coming back to encouraging Bible verses and our favourite Christmas songs. The anticipation that Advent provides to Christmas is amazing and makes the Holiday last longer. I'll be writing about Advent this week for anyone interested!

This may go without saying, but our kids still receive gifts on Christmas morning like any other Santa-believing children. They're not missing out! The added benefit is that instead of them thinking the gifts came from a fictitious character, they understand that they came from their parents who love them, and they can practice gratitude practically. Our kids look forward to Advent and Christmas all year round and have the fondest memories of our Christmas traditions. 

To be honest I'm glad we're past the Santa years (generally by grade 2 kids no longer believe in him, from what I understand) so it's no longer a *thing*. We have no regrets in not including Santa in our Christmas festivities and we've been able to teach so many life lessons as a result. We've been able to magnify the importance of Christmas as Christians and not get distracted by competing narratives, our kids have learned to speak confidently about their beliefs in a respectful way, and they've learned that there will be many times in life that they don't see the world the same way as their friends - and they can be both bold and loving in those times and maintain fellowship despite differences. 

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