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How to Tell Your Kids Santa Doesn’t Exist

santa isn't real

Whether you’re a parent or not, you’re gonna want the best for your kids. You want to provide a better future for them. You want to see them prosper. You want to see them happy.

And you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you made. You want to spare them any suffering and pain you went through. But you wonder where to start.

How will you live up to such high expectations as a parent?

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be so hard. You can start with the little things, like beliefs. Raising children to live better lives requires us to help them develop a proper set of beliefs.

The best kind of beliefs are the ones that are grounded in reality.

One small way to get started is to tell your kids the truth about Santa. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but it can be.

Growing up my parents never told me that Santa existed and they never told me that he didn’t either. Later on I found out my Dad, although a raging alcoholic, had some common sense. He wanted me to grow up and decide for myself what to believe.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, I don’t know. My parents aren’t American and in El Salvador where we’re from we celebrate Christmas but not Santa. Some kids do but not as many as here in the United States.

The problem with Santa.

Letting your kids believe in Santa may seem harmless. But like I said, you want to raise adults who are grounded in reality and it all starts when they’re kids. You have to understand the difference between having an imagination and living in a fantasy world.

Imagination gives you what you need to create wonderful things in the world like art, new technologies, bridges, space ships, books, and endless other things we all enjoy today. That’s what imagination and creativity are all about. Fantasy is a totally different thing.

Fantasy is believing in unicorns, tooth fairies, easter bunnies and santa. If you really want to foster a healthy imagination, maybe you should start exposing your kids to science instead of fairy tales.

You have to ground your kids.

Don’t let them believe in bullshit.

Santa vs Mother Earth

The other problem with Santa is that he places a huge burden on Mother Earth.

Picture one of your favorite department stores, like Walmart. Think of all the toys in those isles. Now think about all of the plastic those toys are packaged in. Now think about where all of that plastic ends up after the packages are opened. Get the picture? Now imagine the number of people in the world who go to the stores and buy these presents for their kids. I don’t know the exact numbers but it’s staggering to just think about it. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that the amount of waste produced by the holiday season, which is highly promoted and encouraged at an early age through the image of Santa, can do a lot of harm to the environment.

Basically, Santa doesn’t give a shit about Mother Earth.

Santa’s message

A man in a red suit coming from the sky, sliding his fat ass down your chimney, while you’re sleeping, placing gifts under your Christmas tree, eating your cookies, then managing to slide back up the chimney, getting into a sled and flying off into the sky with reindeer who have glowing red noses may seem like an enchanting story – but it’s crazy.

Think about the image this places in kids minds. “Someone is coming to give me gifts because I behaved.” “I made it on the nice list, so where’s my reward?” “I hope I get what I want.”

If left unchecked, kids are taught that human action is only about personal gain.

They call it the season to be giving but how many commercials do you see on T.V. about feeding the homeless or donating to a homeless shelter? How many commercials do you see about buying toys, clothes, cars and everything else under the sun? This “season to be giving” is just another way for department stores to clear out their inventory.

If you’d like to know more about what we did in our household this year then read this.

How to tell your kids

First you have to get your mind right about Santa. Get rid of the notion that not believing in Santa will stifle a child’s creativity when their older. Do you think Einstein believed in Santa? How about Edison? I guess maybe they did because there’s no way they could have come up with the theory of relativity and the light bulb if they didn’t!

  1. The next step is to not pretend or imply with your actions that Santa is real. Don’t leave cookies on the table and don’t tell your kids that if they get on the nice list this year, Santa will leave them a gift. Just treat it like another day which is what it really is.
  2. Wait for them to ask if Santa is real or not. Don’t bring up the conversation on your own. Let their curiosity entice them to ask. Who knows, maybe they’ll never ask. Maybe they don’t even care. But chances are if they ask you, it means they’re probably ready for whatever answer you give them.
  3. If they do happen ask and you do tell them the truth, then ask them not to mention it to their friends at school. It’s just a courtesy to parents who choose to raise their kids differently. Don’t have them go to the schoolyard and give a sermon about how Santa is the devil.

And finally, use this opportunity to tell your kids what the holiday season is really about. It’s not about Christmas trees, decorating the house with lights or giving and getting gifts. Explain to them that this season, and every single day of their life, is really about one very important thing that doesn’t happen enough in this world. Giving.

Telling them Santa isn’t real won’t ruin your kids and doesn’t have to destroy your traditions. So stop being afraid. Tell your kids the truth and then put up your Christmas tree. If they want to, let them pretend Santa is real.

There’s a huge difference between pretending and believing in something.

Believing in Santa or not believing in Santa doesn’t seem like a world changing event. But believe me, it’s usually the most unassuming and insignificant little beliefs that can trigger off a series of events which can drastically change a person’s life. This is even more true when it comes to kids.

And don’t worry if you mentally trash this whole post, no one will put you on their naughty list.

- Tony

PS: Want to earn a spot on my nice list? Tweet or Share this article with your friends, it’ll be a huge help to me. Promise I’ll slide down your chimney in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping :D

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  • Adriana Scott

    Interesting. We grew up believing in Santa, but I don’t know how it happened, maybe it was the fact that my mother was “born again” and was preached to about the evils of Santa, but we just stopped believing and it wasn’t a big deal. We still celebrated Christmas, decorated the tree, and had fun.

    I don’t have any kids now, but I knew that I didn’t want them to be lied to about Santa Claus (and he is pretty creepy, always watching and knowing whether you merit a gift or coal). I was wondering if that was the right step, and now that I’ve read this, I’m more confident about what to do in the future regarding that subject.

    Great post!

    • Tony Fuentes

      Hey Adriana, thanks for sharing your experience. What I’ve found is that most kids don’t care, unless you’ve gone out of your way to engrave it in your kids very soul that Santa does exist. The holiday season is what you make it. If it’s about the “spirit of giving” then we need to teach our kids what it really means to give.

      It isn’t about shopping or some creepy fat man breaking into your house in the middle of the night.

      Glad this post was able to reaffirm your sanity. :)


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