Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll 12/10: The Santa Question

This poll is for the present and future parents among our readers.  How do (will) you handle the Santa question in the age of the internet?  Do you think it’s possible to keep a secret like Santa in modern times, even from very young children?

By Ophelia Payne

Editor in Chief of Persephone Magazine, Ophelia spends most of her time in front of a monitor. She writes long, rambling emails in her free time.

3 replies on “Lunchtime Poll 12/10: The Santa Question”

Here’s what I’ve noticed. I remember believing in Santa, but I don’t remember any kind of crashing realization that he wasn’t real. I think there are so many shows encouraging kids to believe in Santa that the idea of Not believing subtly creeps into your mind. When kids get old enough to notice the inconsistencies they transition more smoothly into accepting that their parents are the gift givers. I think that’s how it happened with me and that’s how it seemed to happen with my kids.

I encouraged all my kids to believe in Santa; my five-year-old wrote her own letter this year to send to the North Pole and her big brothers are under strict orders not to disillusion her. I loved the magic of Santa when I was little and I believe that my children deserve some magic in their childhoods too. (And here’s my secret Santa confession – I do all the stocking stuffing in our house, but I always ask my mom or my husband to put something in mine so I still get a surprise on Christmas morning)

I don’t know why I never believed in Santa, but I have no memory of ever thinking he was actually real. The biggest factor in my disbelief was probably that I was always with my mom when she was shopping for our presents.

That makes me sad, so I want my children to believe in Santa at least for a little while,during that time when they’re under 5, not reading yet, and won’t be able to find any Christmas spoilers on the internet. Unlike my mom, I’ll probably shop for Christmas presents alone, but I will continue our tradition of leaving out cookies and milk/Coke for Santa, plus an apple for the reindeer, which my parents undoubtedly ate.

I have no business ever being a parent, because I’d actively do things that were harmless, but would put bizarre connections in the kid’s head. Such as:

In my city, there’s an aquarium that has “Scuba Santa”– a diver in a Santa suit who swims around in the tanks with the aquatic life. If I were a parent, I’d never mention Santa at home, but I’d bring the kid to see Scuba Santa once around age 2 or 3. I wouldn’t make a big deal about seeing Scuba Santa, and I’d never bring up the visit after it happened.

So the kid would always have this weird experience with Santa (“He’s the bearded guy in the red suit and mask who hangs out with sharks!”), but the association would come at such a young age that they wouldn’t know exactly how or why they have that association.

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