Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is here! Our tree is up, our boys (5 and 3) already got an early Christmas present (a new outdoor play set) and they’re watching Christmas movies. The season is all around.
And now, at least for families like mine, comes the seasonal question that I must decide upon: should we play Santa or not?
Ours is a blended family, and when I first met my husband and his sons from a previous marriage, they believed in Santa Claus. And me, being simply the girlfriend at the time, played right along. Even after we got married, I continued to play Santa. After all, at least in my experience, stepparents don’t exactly get a say on ending family traditions.
But when I had my own children, I had to think long and hard about what was right for my biological kids. The age differences between my stepsons and my bio kids is very big (11 and 8 years), and my stepsons had already stopped believing in Santa by the time my kids were born. So it was no longer an issue of spoiling the magic for them. After a lot of thought and conversation with my husband, we decided that we would be a Santa-free home.
So far, my kids haven’t seemed to notice any difference between them and their peers. They know who Santa is from school and from TV shows, and from time to time they talk about Santa. And when they do, we just remind them that the real reason for Christmas is that it is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. And then we change the conversation. We’ve never taken our kids to get Santa pictures, and they’ve never asked to go see him. The boys don’t get presents from Santa, but they don’t seem to mind because they get plenty from us and their family. And we’ve yet to have to “break” the news to them, which is important to us because we don’t want our 5-year-old going to kindergarten one day announcing that Santa isn’t real and spoiling the game for his classmates. But even though we’ve decided to be a Santa-free home, I have plenty of friends, including those from church, for whom Santa is an important part of their family Christmas traditions.