Friday, December 4, 2009

My Imaginary Friends

religion, christian, jesus, santa claus, christmas,

The issue of whether or not to do the Santa Claus thing with your children is a complicated one, and affects the religious and nonreligious alike. The Rapture Ready take on this, is of course, highly amusing.

I haven't seen any other posts on this yet. My boys are 2 and 4 months. My wife and I have decided that we will NOT be participating in the Santa Claus traditions for many reasons. I would like some tips from other parents who have decided the same.

For example: How do we deal with friends, teachers, etc. talking to them about Santa? I don't expect everyone to tiptoe around it, I just want to know what I tell my boys about people asking them what Santa is bringing, etc.How can we keep our boys from spoiling Santa for other kids? I'm scared there will come a time when they blurt out "Santa isn't real" in the middle of a class with other children who's families celebrate like that.

Our boys are still young, so there is a lot we won't have to deal with yet, but I'd like to be ready and know how other parents who have made the decision to ban Santa are handling it. Merry Christmas!

Those are all valid concerns. How do you prepare your child for not believing what everyone else believes (go ask an atheist), and how do you make sure your children don't interfere with the way other children are being raised (again, ask an atheist, this is standard stuff for atheist parents)?

It's the replies that venture into unintentional humor.

As they grow up, why not explain to them the difference as truthfully as you can: Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who came as God's gift of Salvation. Then go on to explain that there are many legends of the origins of "Saint" Nicholas, and that even if he were a real person, he was just that, a person doing good things.Might also be a good time to start talking to them about faith vs. works in age appropriate ways.About the other children, simply tell yours to be polite and that there are some who celebrate with Santa.

*I'm not a parent, but this is how I would approach it with my children. I'm not a big fan of simply saying "Santa isn't real," but rather explaining the difference between truth (Jesus Christ) and legend ("Saint" Nicholas, or Santa Klaus).

Translation: My imaginary friends are real, and yours are not.

This is always a hard topic. I have tackled it from the perspective that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny...etc are to be seen physically, so how do I explain that JESUS, Our unseen God is real and they are not? I'm still getting blank stares, but that is ok. We know our time here is short, so it is ok to step on toes, in order to get the Truth out. John 14:6What a blessing it is that you and your wife are in agreement about this! Traditions are also a factor, scripture is clear about. They certainly don't save

I'm sure I'm staring blankly right now, so I can't blame the children. I can't . . . can't . . . things that can be seen are false, but things we can't see are true? What? I don't . . . I can't . . . that makes no . . .

Kids really are smarter than they're given credit for. Even when they were 3-4, they knew the difference between the milk and cookies we put out for santa (me) and the birthday cake they make to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I bet they did: the cookies were for a real person, the other is for daddy's imaginary friend.

And, the Award for Amazing, Unintentional, Somewhat Ironic Insight goes to:

Even if your kids blurt it out that there's no santa, it really doesn't matter. We always played santa for my daughters, and as they became older and realized there wasn't one it didn't really matter. You can tell a kid that their imaginary friend isn't real, but it makes no difference to them when they're playing with him/her/it.



  1. My aunt and uncle were fundies, and they taught their girls that Santa wasn't real. These girls were home schooled and didn't get out much, but they did have a ballet class. And one day before class the oldest girl proceeded to tell all the little girls, from about 4-9 that there was no Santa, it's just your parents lying to you.
    After that my mother told her sister that her kids were never ever to talk to me or my brother about Santa. Ever.

  2. I haven't seen any other posts on this yet. My boys are 2 and 4 months.

    How the hell did she have two children two months apart? This is a bigger mystery than Santa...

  3. How the hell did she have two children two months apart? This is a bigger mystery than Santa...

    Twins that were very far apart?

    I learned Santa and the Easter bunny were all fake when my parents forgot to put something out from the Easter Bunny one year. The next morning was D'oh moment from my dad as he then had to explain it was all just him and my mom.

  4. Best story from my niece, last year as she and my brother-in-law were standing in line for pictures with Santa, she made the comment, 'how does Santa get around everywhere? It just doesn't make sense, you know what I don't think Santa is real.'

    She said that loud in the middle of the line, my brother-in-law grabbed her quickly and said we can talk about that later. My sister and brother-in-law are both extreme fundies that won't let their kids even watch Spongebob.

  5. 2 Christmases ago, my niece came to the stunning realization that Santa and mommy use the same wrapping paper.

  6. Just keep in mind that the other kids parents will tell their own children that your kids are going to hell.

  7. I lived in gov't housing (father was in the military, and this was the rising swell of the 'baby boom') when I was a kid and started doubting the existence of Santa about the time I started doubting any deity, 'bout age five.

    The nearest chimney was blocks away at the central heating and power plant, so how he got into our place was kind of problematic, There were fences and gate guards, plus, there were kids I knew to be "naughty" but they made out like fat rats, and some kids I knew to be 'good' who didn't do well at all. One can now corelate overheard conversations about some being 'spoiled brats' on the one hand and snatches heard about other parents who had problems with alcohol or gambling to put this in perspective.

    Oh, we did the Santa Claus thing, too, with our sons, had fun with it. And we lived in apartments and "mobile homes". The chimney thing, again, and they came and asked about these variances from the accepted "arrival" orthodoxy, we simply asked, "what do you think"? They didn't find it painful at all to come to the conclusion that is was all a myth and joke. They did harbor some concerns that this practice would continue, now that the cat was out of the bag. Yup, they were REALLY growing up...greedy little...
    This was further confused because my birthday is, in fact 25 December.

    But there's a fundy outfit here which is quite puritanical, and yesterday I saw an exchange that really hurt me to my heart.

    A woman and her son were at the VA visiting someone, and they were in the main lobby. A geezer older than me was talking to them, (kid was six or seven) and the older man asked the boy what he wanted Santa to bring him. The boy said a couple items and his mother rounded on him in total fury. She sceamed at him, "You KNOW we're not ALLOWED" to celebrate christmas"! and some other good christian things.

    "Allowed". Whole lot in that word, in that case.

  8. My father thought Santa Claus or the "Weihnachtsmann" was a Nazi-capitalist (makes more sense than "Nazi-communist") invention, so I never believed in him.

    But he tried to convince me that St. Nicolaus was real and brought little presents on December 6th. Didn't work.

  9. I think the individual commenting about what can be seen or not seen is maybe trying to argue something like "You should be able to see Santa but you don't so he doesn't exist. But that line of argument doesn't work for God. So assume God exists." That's not very logical but it is a minimally coherent interpretation of the statement.

    I grew up in a Conservative Jewish family (Conservative in Judaism means one of the less stringent, more modern forms of the religion (more liberal if you will). Jews in general don't like to teach kids things that they need to outgrow. So there wasn't very much of that. We did have the Tooth Fairy but it was always very clear that the Tooth Fairy was my mother (I don't think they ever pretended otherwise).

    I have a friend who also grew up Jewish, albeit with much more emphasis on Jewish practice as cultural rather than religious behavior. In her case, the parents turned the Tooth Fairy into a game about critical thinking in which they would construct hypotheses to explain the observed failures of the Tooth Fairy and she would try to test them or find logical problems in the claims.

  10. i recently discovered the "bad" side of Santa.

    the Santa thing bugged me from the time i first heard of it [i was 4 the first time there was "Santa" at home] and i was always vaguely disturbed at the idea that not only was an old, fat, child-loving man going to break into my house, but he was ALLOWED.

    so Santa didn't last long.

    but the year before last, i finally learned about "Black Pete" - the Anti-Santa. the guy who travels around with Santa and takes to worst of the bad kids straight to hell.

    wtf people?

  11. I answer emails to Santa as a part of my job. ("Other duties as assigned.") Occasionally I get interesting questions, often centering around the question of how Santa will get in if someone doesn't have a chimney. My answer is usually that the same Christmas magic that allows him to slip in through the chimney also allows him to slip in other ways, usually under the door. He just likes chimneys better; they're easier.

    Unless the fire is still going when he arrives. In that case, you get ::drummroll:: crisp Kringle!

    (No, I don't include that part in my responses. It's hard enough to avoid possible problems and still have the e-mail responses say anything. The last thing I want to do is freak out some little kid.)

  12. i don't know if it's true or not;

    but my dad tells me that the Air Force runs a "Santa Tracking" program every freaking Xmas Eve, and that it's possible to listen to a broadcast from Cheyenne Mountain that details the "radar tracking" of "Santa".

    which, if true, probably doesn't cost a dime, but i heard about it because my dad was *pissed* that some asshole had written a letter to his Base Commander whining about the "waste of resources" because the asshole just ASSUMED that Air Force personnel were actually attempting to TRACK SANTA with their equipment.

    my dad swears it's real and is entirely "run" by volunteers off of a script written by other volunteers. if it's true, it's damned hilarious.


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