The Biggest Parenting Lie: Santa Claus

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Christmas is causing serious problems in my house. That Jolly Ole Fat man, in particular. Included in the Santa-induced trouble is the damage he is doing to my psyche as every day I lie my way deeper into a hole. 

I have no problem conning my kids into believing in Santa. Sure it’s complete deception, but my childhood recollections of Christmas, when I believed, are up there on the list of greatest memories ever. I want my kids to experience the same thing. But they aren’t. They are a tad confused, as well as worried about their friends.

The root of the commotion is the fact that my kids aren’t being raised in the same kind of Catholic, homogeneous suburban environment that made it so easy for my parents to dupe my siblings and me, qualm-free.

My kids are growing up in Brooklyn. On any other day, I’m deliriously grateful for the fantastic diversity they are constantly exposed to. It just gets a little tricky on December 25.

Take, for instance, my 4-year-old. Her new BFF’s family doesn’t celebrate Christmas. This is unfathomable to my daughter, and she worries incessantly that it’s not fair to her friend. When I explained to my girl that her friend’s family is Jewish, she insisted that shouldn’t matter, “I’m Jewish, too, Mommy, but Santa comes to me!” Since my husband is Jewish, we’ve been dipping into Hanukkah fun as well, giving our kids presents on the first and last night. Additionally, last week we went to the new BFF’s house to light the menorah, and we’ve attended more than one latke-fest this year. Now my little girl has a few ideas on including her friend in Christmas “since her mommy won’t let Santa come to their house.” Oy vey. How do I explain my way out of this one?

It’s not like I can fall back on religion. You could say that the Christ in Christmas is the most underplayed element for us.

As if the web of lies I’m weaving for my 4-year-old isn’t enough, I’ve got my more analytical and skeptical 6-year-old interrogating me on a regular basis. “Why doesn’t Sid's family put up a tree, just so that Santa knows he wants presents? That’s what you do, right? I think Santa should be more fair. If a kid wants presents, he should just bring them. You said he was magic, Mom.” Right ...

Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of coming clean. And yet, I don’t want to ...

Santa, help me!



Image via seantoyer /Flickr

elementary school, friends, holiday