A friend posted on Facebook around the quandary of what to tell her four year old about why Santa only brings one gift in their family and the rest are from them.
From Mom and Dad.
This is the type of parenting question that I would never in a million years ask.
I would never ask, because I believe to my very core that each family has a right to create whatever tradition they need or want to make their thing work.
I'm not picking on this family.
I hear a variation on this theme from alternative parents.
I might be confident, or perhaps delusional, but I have never wondered such a thing.
My kid will believe what I tell them. I am his universe and outing Santa and explaining in painstaking detail why we do what we do is not going to make a young child feel more or less good. That kind of explanation is for adults, not for children.
Getting their loot, and eating something special, whatever that looks like, will make them feel good.
If you opt out of the gift scene, your child will not notice (much, or for long) until he is older than preschool age.
He may invent some personal narrative to go along with the stories of candy canes and Barbie the other children are sharing in preschool.
In my opinion the best thing you can do is believe in whatever thing you are doing.
When I was 20 I had a Jewish lover.
A man more than twice my age.
Older than either of my parents.
I loved him insanely much, an admired him even more because he was a single parent.
He parented his children with a fierceness and defined confidence that was totally foreign to me.
When Christmas rolled around I wondered if I could have a tree.
He laughed at me.
Of course you can have a tree, you can have a whole god damned forest, you can have whatever you want to have.
My extended family are all very religious people.
Sincere and deep believers.
We always had the manger and the angels and and Mary and Joseph, the tax collector, the
I always had to be the angel, with a tinsel halo, that stood behind the holy family, because I was a sort of second string player in the nativity play, being the granddaughter of a parishioner.
There are photos of me in my white bed-sheet angel costume, with my cousins and my brother in bathrobes, as shepherds.
And we always had Santa, even at my paternal grandparents house.
My grandfather was a Baptist minister and he never spoiled Santa for us.
I guess I don't understand the people that feel that this is deceiving their child.
My mother grew up poor and her parents were foster parents to a gaggle of special needs kids. In their family, my grandfather would come home from the dairy on Christmas eve, and clean up and they whole group would walk to the top of the driveway and look for Santa, and by golly, every time they got back to the house, my grandmother would report that they had just missed him and there would be a present for everyone, plus new underpants and socks. On Christmas day they would go to church. I grew up going to their house on Christmas eve with cousins and extended family. Everyone had fun. No one required a lengthy theological explanation. No one was duped by the notion of Santa.
In my family we opened our presents on Christmas morning, with my mother and went to my father's on Christmas day. His mother would make dinner and my grandfather would make some kind of dip out of liver sausage, which I love. He would put green food coloring in it and my grandmother would say
My brother and I would give him a giant peppermint stick and give our father a package of white handkerchiefs. We would have a Santa gift, something fun, and something we "ordered" from our grandmother, something special. When I was an adult and she was an old lady, I would order snicker-doodles.
I am not a religious person, but I have tried to teach my children to respect all people's beliefs and to be considerate. I hope that they don't grow up and wonder if they need therapy because their mother "lied" to them about Santa.