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Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - Printable Version

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Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - CarolusP - 12-27-2017

Hello everyone. I'm a first-time poster and father of two, both under the age of two.

While our children were too young this year for this to be a concern, my wife and I are trying to work out our future Christmas customs vis-a-vis Santa/Christkind. I grew up with the typical Santa Claus custom, and my wife grew up with the Christkind custom. I'd be fine with adopting either/both/neither of these practices, but my biggest concern with whatever custom we adopt is to avoid any lying or deception towards our children. I'm fine with telling stories to engage their little imaginations, but I don't want to employ any practice which will result in us having to lie either in our words or actions, and then having to sit the child down when they are old enough in order to correct reality for them.

The other difficulty with all this is the concern of our children potentially "spoiling" the illusion for their cousins whose parents have used these practices with their children. I'd certainly like to avoid having angry family members to deal with.

I'm just curious how other parents in these forums have navigated these waters with their children and whether they have any input. 

Thanks!


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - Sacred Heart lover - 12-28-2017

Hi there!   :hello!:

Welcome to the tank. 

We told our littles that we would pretend that St. Nicholas came on the eve of his saint day and put the shoes out next to the fireplace.  They would get chocolate coin candies in them and other things in the morning.

We told them it was really Daddy who did it and read to them the story of St. Nicholas and how he became known as Santa Claus over the years.

We also told them that if other children talk about Santa being "real" to not say it's really their parents because it's their parents' job to tell them.

Christmas gifts to each other were a symbol of the best gift of all which God gave to us.

We had the same concerns as you, especially that we wanted them to know we weren't pretending about the real presence and we made it clear that we would never lie to them!


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - VoxClamantis - 12-28-2017

My take is that it should be treated as pretend, but not explicitly stated as pretend. I like the idea of saying something along the lines of "They say that tonight, Santa Claus will come and..." -- all with the sort of wide-eyed wonder attitude parents have when telling their kids fairy tales. If a kid asks a question about Santa, just throw in the "they say that..." before you answer. If the kid sees the cookies gone from Santa's cookie plate and asks if Santa got them, turn the question around: "What do you think happened to them?" And so on.

Religious matters should be talked about with a lot more somber and genuine attitude so the kid can deeply sense the difference but still go along with pretending and having all that fun.

Just my two cents...


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - JacafamalaRedux - 12-29-2017

I think the idea that children are gonna become atheists because parents "lie" to them about Santa and the Easter bunny may be a bit of a stretch. We don't go to the Mass of Easter bunny or the Santa church. Kids are smart enough to see what's real and really important to their parents. 

Children love Santa because it's fun; at least I remember thinking so. But one of my brothers used to throw up every Christmas Eve knowing that Santa was on his way. So granted, each kid is different. Provided you don't go overboard fabricating elaborate details, it's all for fun.

ETA: Do you guys think the Elf on the Shelf is creepy? Now to me that's going overboard.


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - JacafamalaRedux - 12-29-2017

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RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - Jeeter - 12-29-2017

We keep Faith and Santa separated. As Sacred Heart Lover said, the gifts are a symbol of God's gift for us. Santa is a way to make gift giving fun for the little ones, to help get them in the spirit of giving.

(12-29-2017, 08:14 AM)Jacafamala Wrote: ETA: Do you guys think the Elf on the Shelf is creepy? Now to me that's going overboard.

Elf on the Shelf is like Santa Claus mixed with "The Silence of the Lambs." "It puts the stocking on the chimney, or else it gets coal again."


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - Sacred Heart lover - 12-29-2017

One of the reasons we were so careful to avoid the appearance of lying to our kids was because of what happened when my husband was little.

He had always been taught that Santa brought all the gifts.  When he was around 6 he became suspicious and went to the parish priest to ask him if that was really true.  He said to the priest, "I came to ask you because I knew you would tell me the truth."  

The priest put him on his lap (nothing bad) and spoke round about the issue without really saying anything.  (Kind of like many sermons nowadays. :P)  My husband took the non-answer as his answer and knew it was all a ruse.  It was kind of traumatic actually. :/

Also, my father-in-law really resented that Santa got all the glory for the presents he had paid for! lol

So we pretended but made it really fun pretend just as kids do when they play pretend. :)


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - CarolusP - 01-02-2018

Thank you for all of the replies.

Sacred Heart Lover, have you found that your kids have been able to refrain from telling other children the truth about Santa Clause? Thinking only of my own self as a child, I think the whole "I know something you don't know" temptation would have been a pretty strong one. That being said, I also remember being told by other children that Santa wasn't real when I was a child, but since it was unfathomable to me at the time that my parents would lie to me, I didn't take those kids seriously (which is what made the eventual revelation that Santa wasn't real all the more jarring to me as a child). So I think given that most kids tend to trust their parents, I think the concern of other kids spoiling the illusion is probably a little overstated.


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - Sacred Heart lover - 01-03-2018

(01-02-2018, 03:42 PM)CarolusP Wrote: Thank you for all of the replies.

Sacred Heart Lover, have you found that your kids have been able to refrain from telling other children the truth about Santa Clause? Thinking only of my own self as a child, I think the whole "I know something you don't know" temptation would have been a pretty strong one. That being said, I also remember being told by other children that Santa wasn't real when I was a child, but since it was unfathomable to me at the time that my parents would lie to me, I didn't take those kids seriously (which is what made the eventual revelation that Santa wasn't real all the more jarring to me as a child). So I think given that most kids tend to trust their parents, I think the concern of other kids spoiling the illusion is probably a little overstated.

As far as I know they didn't spill the beans, but since they were homeschooled, most of their friends followed the same traditions.

Yeah, I was appalled that my parents had tricked me and wouldn't believe those that told me.  After a few had told me I finally asked my Mom and she said I was old enough not to believe in him anymore. :/


RE: Avoiding Deception with Christmas Customs - RyanPatrick - 01-08-2018

I like the idea of a gift on every day of Christmastide, with the greatest gift they receive coming on Epiphany. This allows us to keep the season without even broaching subjects of jolly old Saint Nicholas. If it ever comes up, then I think just explaining to the children that it is something that some parents do for their children but that we don't is the correct answer. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that it is wrong to play Santa with your kids, I am just trying to find alternative ways to keep the season and do so with a little bit more focus on the Church than on Santa.