Debating What to Do About Santa

This is Stacy’s second guest appearance on Multicultural Familia.  Read more about her family in her story, “Holidays Between Two Cultures“.

Debating What to Do About Santa

It seems like the holidays came so fast this year.  Everywhere I turn I see Christmas lights!  I think that retailers skipped over Thanksgiving decorations and went right to the Christmas displays.  Technically, this will be Princess’s second Christmas.  Last year she was only a few months old and didn’t really get to enjoy it.  All she wanted to do was eat through the gift paper.  She was also sick with bronchiolitis during the holidays.  So, I wasn’t thinking about going all out with decorations and pictures.  I’m not a scrooge!  I was just more concerned with nursing my baby girl back to health.

Now that she’s doing much better this year (fingers crossed), I have no excuse.  I came across this pic of my hubby’s first Christmas.  His mom dressed him in this cute outfit for his photo with Santa.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m not quite sure what to do.  I’ve always moved to the beat of my own drum.  I’ve never been the kind of person to do things just because everyone else is doing them.  But, I grapple with depriving my baby girl of this American tradition.  Some may say I’m over thinking this, but I say I don’t want my daughter feeling left out.  I also wouldn’t want her running around saying Santa is fake, and ruin Christmas for her schoolmates.It got me thinking of whether or not I should do the same for Princess.  I was never taught to believe in Santa.  In fact, my siblings and I were told there was no such thing.  I was the kid who went around school saying Santa was fake.  I should also mention that by the time my family and I migrated to this country, I think most kids had already realized the truth.  Therefore, I probably didn’t ruined Christmas for a lot of kids.  I hope.

I was at the mall with some relatives over the Thanksgiving break and someone asked, “Why don’t you have her take a picture with Santa?”  I can’t remember if I gave a response.  But, I did feel that it was a waste of time.  Why should I have her take a photo with this make believe person?  Why should I tell my child that this white old fat guy with a beard visits all the kids who are nice, and gives them presents?  I remember having a discussion with my brother and sister back in the day.  We questioned the idea of this guy, and his reindeer being able to deliver gifts all over the world in one night.  It just didn’t make sense!  I still see some parents go all out to feed this nonsense to their little ones.  These poor kids actually believe it.  They wait in this long line at the mall just to take a pic with him.  When they finally get old enough to understand the truth, they’re heart broken.  Do I put my child through that same heartache, or do I keep it real with her?  It’s bad enough that I feel like a hypocrite doing a Santa tracking forecast every year at work.

The way I see it, her daddy and I work hard to support our family.  We’re responsible for all the gifts, along with all the people who love her.  Why should I give this man, who doesn’t exist, all the credit?

If I have her take a pic with this guy, I feel like I’d be perpetuating this fakery.  I’m kinda torn.  I knew that I’d have a tough time making these kinds of decisions, when it came to the holidays.  I certainly don’t mind compromising like I did for Halloween.  But, I’m just not sure about this one.

My hubby and I celebrated Christmas differently as kids.  He believed in Santa until he was about seven or eight.  I never did.  I’m leaning more toward teaching Princess about the real meaning of Christmas and how it came about.  Instead of making a list, I want her to have an appreciation for all the gifts she’s given.  My hubby and I have a lot to discuss.  Let’s just hope we can arrive at a nice balance.  I’ll let you know what we come up with.

Do (did) your kids believe in Santa?  Do (did) they take pics on his lap?

Stacy-Ann Gooden can be seen delivering the weather week nights in New York. However, her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama.




  1. Aisha Greene says

    I never believed in Santa because I thought it was highly irrational to
    think a man could live that long. I stopped believing when I was around
    4. I did however fully believe in the tooth fairy because that was a
    fairy after all. I don't think there is anything wrong either way – I'm
    sure both you and your husband are well adjusted despite knowing the
    myth or not. Great article!!! I'm in NYC and need to check your station
    for the weather!

  2. says

    Good topic…we have always had the Santa tradition though just tonight my oldest (7 year old) son asked me if Santa was real.  Guess we'll have to have a talk!  I have fantastic memories of Christmas morning and getting ready for Santa to come.  It was always so mystical and fantastic to wake up and see gifts that had come from "nowhere".  Sure it's irrational and silly but it's also about the magic of Christmas.  While my husband was not raised with this tradition he has fully embraced it.  It won't be long until our kids are too old to believe anymore.  Looking back I don't think I would have done things differently and I certainly don't have any negative feelings towards my parents for Santa – only amazing memories!

    • says

      I have the same kind of amazing memories, Amanda. It is totally magical to watch kids innocently believe in something good, a character whose only purpose is to give to others. My kids are older than yours and they still believe…but it’s hard to keep the tradition going!

  3. says

    Thanks so much Aisha!  We haven't discussed the tooth fairy yet.  I'm sure that will eventually come up too!  Marocmama, that's what I worry about.  One day Princess will ask whether or not Santa's real.  Am I supposed to lie?  It'll feel too weird.

  4. says

    The question would be, what is the author's interpretation of what the real meaning of Christmas is and how it came about. Because if her belief is about the birth of Christ, that would be incorrect as well. Christianity never celebrated Christmas until they encountered European cultures that celebrated Winter Solstice, and as Christianity had become the official religion of Rome, they created a Mass to celebrate the birth of Christ (not his birthday) which they superimposed on the local Winter Solstice holidays while adopting many of their rituals to make the celebration more palatable. Much of the colors we see used come from Roman Saturnalia. While the use of elves and Santa comes from Nordic cultures and their father Winter or Odin. They superimposed the Turkish saint, Nicholas onto this fatherly figure of Nordic culture and the gift sharing concept was merged with that of Saint Nicholas Or Sant Nicholaus shortened to Santa Claus who gave dowry to poor girls so they wouldn't be sold into prostitution. The decoration of the tree comes from the Nordic celebrations as well as concepts of the Asherah pole (The wife of Yahweh, but that is a story for another day). Here is a Jewish exploration of the Christmas Holiday.
    mms:// (for steaming)… (for download) 

  5. says

    I have the same kind of amazing memories, Amanda. It is totally magical to watch kids innocently believe in something good, a character whose only purpose is to give to others. My kids are older than yours and they still believe…but it's hard to keep the tradition going!