Why we decided not to do Santa, Tooth Fairies, etc…
So.. something we agreed upon as parents before having Little Bun was that we would never tell him there was any fictional character in real life. This included Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy.. and whatever else you’ve got.
I was told when I was younger that there was a Santa but my parents were half-hearted about it, so it never stuck.
They also never tried to use it to make us behave.. it was more of a mascot for Christmas. We also didn’t get many gifts past the age of 10 or so, for anything – even birthdays were just big meals at restaurants, so we just weren’t into gifting in general.
My partner grew up with no gifts at all for anything. That was pretty extreme of his parents, and I disagree with this approach 100%. I’m not into giving a ton to children but I’m not in favour of nothing either!
So.. we had no memories that were so special that we felt the need to recreate it for Little Bun, which understandably is such a good reason for why many parents do – the magic of it all can be quite special for that childhood period, even if only for a short while.
Our main reasons why we ultimately decided against doing this are as follows:
(Please note, I’m using Santa Claus as the main example below but it would apply to them all.)
1. It’s a lot of work
You have to keep up the façade and I don’t have such mental dexterity to pretend he’s real when he isn’t.
You also have to answer how it works if we don’t have a chimney, or how it’s possible that the whole world would be served by one guy with a few reindeer….
It’s a lot of questioning, particularly from a tiny one who already exhausts me with his curiousity and questioning on a daily basis.
2. It seems unfair to others
Imagine being a kid who gets 30 presents for Christmas versus one who got 1? Or none? Kids see and are able to absorb this kind of inequality at a young age, and will wonder why they’re so “bad” or “naughty” that they only got one gift versus a classmate’s 30.
It enforces inequality at a young age and starts (as I see it) doubt in themselves and self-esteem.
If they knew it was because of their parents, they could be relieved to find out that it isn’t because of them being anything but great and good children, and related to more complicated, adult issues like money.
Or how about children in shelters? They don’t get a lot of gifts either and I wouldn’t hate for them to think it is because Santa doesn’t like children in shelters, or whatever logic children come up with to explain their world.
3. I didn’t want to use it as a tool
Many parents use it as a “if you don’t behave….” tool in their parenting toolbox. If it works for them, so much the better.. but eventually they’ll find out he isn’t real, and then what?
I’ve seen kids get quite angered to find out he isn’t real, and then wonder what else was a lie fed to them by their parents.
Others were more sanguine once they found out, and not as angry, but still. It is a little deflating.
I would rather he behave, be conscientious and be good because he is trying to be good for himself and for others, not for a fictional character who would punish him (?) by not leaving a gift.
Actually, the funny thing is he told me if Santa was real and he got a piece of coal, he’d be as happy as with a toy. He said he’d give the coal to Daddy to use for the BBQ and the wood sticks could be toys to play with in the park.
So I suppose it wouldn’t have worked anyway on him.
4. Kids think toys are “free”
I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of children whispering to their siblings to ask Santa for the most expensive gifts they could, so that Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t have to pay for it.
Then, their parents have increased guilt to try and make that wish happen to keep the magic alive.. and/or increased pressure and stress on the family finances.
It’s so heartbreaking. And unnecessary, honestly.
So.. That is essentially why we refused to pretend that these characters exist.
Even the Tooth Fairy thing we avoided because I just created a card for each tooth he lost, and we had a little “Party” for each tooth. A trophy if you will, was given for each one lost.
There are ways around having to make up characters, and it’s the path we chose.
Why should we even ASK OUR CHILD TO KEEP UP WITH THE LIE?
It’s not to ruin it for them.. for me it’s a respect thing that their parents should be the ones to tell them or confirm, or they find out on their own. I just wanted to avoid him crying in the playground screaming that Santa was real … when he isn’t, and kids taunting him for it.
Avoid the whole thing altogether, keep chill and quiet about it all, and live your life because one day, everyone will find out that there is no Santa.