I think my parents handled it well. Firstly, they made sure they told me and my brothers in January/February - so we weren't looking forward to Christmas. Secondly (although this doesn't work for the youngest child) when they told us they promised us we could help them "be Santa" the following Christmas.
Randall Twede wrote:sometimes i wonder if the whole santa thing is such a good idea. it always comes to this day when illusions are shattered.
Honestly, I struggled with this myself. Why is it better to tell my daughter that a stranger is watching over them all year long and will punish them if they are bad than to tell them that my wife and I love her and we are giving her gifts?
But i was overruled. I have tried not to be super encouraging about the myth, but I never went out of my way to destroy it either.
fred rosenberger wrote:Why is it better to tell my daughter that a stranger is watching over them all year long and will punish them if they are bad than to tell them that my wife and I love her and we are giving her gifts?
I don't know, on an average, at what age a kid is faced with reality. But you also want to consider the point, if you tell your kid and they tell the same in school. She would be a party crasher :-)
I struggle with this myself. Fortunately for me, my 5yo son is the only kid I know who is not into Santa. I think right now he thinks that Santa is just like a TV character that other kids talk about but he is not interested in.
It seems to me like the Santa Claus myth is really a way to initiate children into religion. You believe in a powerful good being that watches over you and rewards you for your good deeds. Seems to me like children are being setup to believe in God. Or putting it in another way, if Santa Claus myth had originated in a polytheistic culture, Santa Claus would be a god already.
I won't get into an argument whether this is good or bad. However, personally, I believe Thomas Jefferson was right:- Children shouldn't be initiated into religion until their reasoning powers are mature enough to study religion critically.
OTH, like Saurabh said, if you tell your kid, and they tell other kids, then they are spoiling it for other kids. I don't know how I would handle this when the subject comes up. He's too young to explain to him that "Santa Claus becomes real to people who believe in him, and it depends on how strongly you believe" It's just easier to go along with the status quo, I guess, then explain to him the ontology of Santa Claus, when he becomes old enough
*Sorry if I made this thread too political than it should be
I don't recall this being an issue when I was a child. Sure, I was keen to get up at 5 am on Christmas Day and start unwrapping presents, but it was always obvious that the presents came from my relatives, and nobody ever tried to claim otherwise. Likewise I don't recall it being an issue for my children.
However we didn't have any non-corporeal beings who were responsible for evaluating our behaviour in either household, so there weren't any role models for the Santa Claus legend.