Santa, are you there?

K and I have been debating whether or not should teach our kid about Santa. We still have some time to think about it. K is about five months along. We find out the gender this Friday.

Here's a list of pros and cons. So far the cons outweigh.

It's fun.

You get to eat cookies on Christmas Eve.

Our kid won't be the jerk kid who tells all the other kids that "Santa ain't real."

You can use him as a boogey-man to scare your kids into being good.


And the best argument I've heard for Santa:
". . .has belief in Santa Claus ever closed the door to knowledge as loyalty to a scientific credo so often has? Is it better for a child to believe in Santa Claus with the understanding that someday he is going to revise his views than for him to be taught what is scientifically correct . . . from infancy, so that he will never, never have to revise his views on anything and thus go through life always right about everything? Which course is more liable to lead to disaster, the open-ended Santa Claus, or the ingrained illusion of infallibility?"
Hugh Nibley. "Sophic and Mantic," CWHN 10:332

When K was a child, she was so grateful for her Christmas presents that she looked up and said, "Santa, wherever you are, THANK YOU!"

Her mother was rather put off. She had stayed up most of the night wrapping and setting everything just so, after countless hours of shopping, after months of working at the ER so that she could afford everything. After all that her kids thought she had just gotten them a couple of things, but that Santa, what a guy.

Santa can cause your child to lose their faith in God. (That's right, I just used "their" as a third-person neuter. Take that, grammar Nazi).

For example, a friend of ours wrote recently:
"Last night when J was helping the kids with personal prayers he started with [our 3-year-old daughter], who looked up [at] him, thought for a minute, then said "Dad, Heavenly Father's not really real anyway." Oh man. Darn Santa Claus. Darn the Easter Bunny and curse the Tooth Fairy."

K knew a family who didn't celebrate Santa, because Santa is an anagram of Satan. Of course that line of logic can get you into trouble. For example:

Abraham Lincoln is an anagram of Banal Charm Loin. So apparently that great president was some sort of boring yet hypnotic sexual deviant. Better not teach your kids about him.

Latter-day Saints = A Startled Sanity. Therefore Mormons are crazy.

Anywho. Let us know what you think we should do. Otherwise we'll probably teach our children this. (on youtube)

More fun anagrams (I got carried away on the website):
Thomas S Monson = Most Hansom Son
George Bush = Be Gore's Ugh (Just ask Al Gore)


Anna and Stephen said...

I am pro-Santa, but of course am biased from my own experiences. I learned early on that Santa wasn't real, and yet, all my growing up years, we still pretended that he was. Perhaps it comes from my love of "play" and the imagination, but I still get letters from Santa. I also recieved letters from Herman P. Snowball, head-elf, and Cornelius Crunchbody, Santa's executive attorney. My sister also receives a small gift from each reindeer for Christmas, because they are in love with her. My grandparents went to such lengths that they keep a copy of all the different North Pole characters signatures on file, so each signature is different and unique. They also had special red and green envelopes with a North Pole return address.

You might think we are just delusional, which is probably true. However, in our family, Santa became (and still continues to be) an extra avenue for expressing love in a fun and playful way.

Just my thoughts. :)

Crystal said...

Teach them about old school Santa Claus, about how he was a kind giving man. And that we need to be kind and giving and do secret service too. That's what we do at our house; we call it 'Secret Santa' and serve people around our neighborhood.

Heather & Matt Fisher said...

wow. a lot to think about. honestly, though...I loved the magic of Christmas..and I can't wait to be Santa!! :)

My parents did a good job with Christmas. We had this crazy light display, like Christmas Vacation style, but all of it focused on the nativity. So even when I was making my lists for Santa, my parents kept me grounded in the real reason for Christmas. Hopefully I can do the same.

A. said...

Um, the fact that you're finding out the sex of the baby this Friday kind of overshadows my position on Santa. So I'm just gonna say Congrats! And I can't wait to know, too, and then we can buy you a cute little gift. Yay for you guys!

Genevieve Beck said...

I am absolutely pro-Santa (and those nasty kids that say Santa isn't real really make it difficult for the rest of us). I think as long as you keep things in perspective with your kids, he won't compete with God and you know in your heart who really deserves that sincere gratitude.
I think the problem comes in when parents decide that they will tell their kids there is no Santa the first time they ask. I read an article about that that said if your child approaches you after kindergarten with tears in their eyes asking you if Santa doesn't exist, they're not ready for reality yet. Let them dream a couple more years. :)

Jenny said...

We Believe in Santa. Santa is Christ's helper who comes to bring us gifts, but (after reading about K's mom) I'll always make sure those are the more simple gifts.

However, I can not get into the Easter Bunny. I'd rather follow Susan Easton Black's lead by making a birthday cake for Christ at Easter and celebrate the resurrection, not an over-sized, scary mall bunny.

And, since you opened the subject, some of the best advice I received on parenting: make up all sorts of fairies to take the role of "bad guy" so you remain the good guy. Most recently, as I tried to get my kids to pick up toys, I told them that whatever toys they didn't pick up in 10 minutes would go in a garbage bag. The toy fairy would then take it away and bring it back after they have proven they can take care of toys. AND in case they found the bag, I could simply answer, "oh! I guess the toy fairy brought it back!"

Nicholas James West said...

I was just talking about this with Libby. I'm still undecided.

The argument that fantasy and imagination are important to a child pushes me a little towards Santa.

Just Some Dude said...

I would kill to be able to believe in Santa again. That's the most wonderful time of my life that I just can't get back. I see that as a wonderful primer for life.

I took a history class on Joseph Smith about three years back (it was one of those three-credit special studies courses done for the bicentennial). We studied about Joseph's treasure hunting days. Most people see it as such an embarrassment that they just don't know what to do with it. One author we read (Richard Bushman in Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling) saw it somewhat as a project in belief. Joseph never found any treasure, but maybe he was just a little more open in his mind and heart, a little less limiting in what the Lord is like and what he is capable of.

I don't really want to draw clear lines between that example and this situation, but perhaps without that project in belief (Santa), life might have made us all a little bit more skeptical.

Here's a quote from old JS, himself: "I believe all that God ever revealed, and I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief." (DHC, Vol.6, Ch.22, p.477)

Let's not be too sensational about this. It's just food for thought.

SLC-PHX said...

Just make sure your kid knows the facts on Santa by the age of 5. It'll make her one of the smart kids. You don't want some old fool telling her Santa doesn't exist when she's 8 and has had her bike swiped.

C-|-W said...

Just Some Dude,

Your comment is the best. I've been thinking about what you said all week. Thanks.

C-|-W said...

Someone who wished to remain anonymous wrote:

We did not believe in Santa growing up and so I was the obnoxious kid in 2nd grade telling kids that their parents had lied. :( Sad, but true. I never felt like I missed out on anything because we still wrote letters, left out cookies and milk, and my parents signed the gifts from Santa and Mrs Claus, but we knew it was them. That almost made it more fun. We also knew they were the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. With our kids rather than come right out and say there is no Santa we are just going to treat it like a make believe story. No parent reads their child The Three Little Bears and prefaces the story with 'now this is not true'. They just read the story. I think Santa is a really fun idea, and I prefer to use it as make believe. Also, we've talked about having our kids make Christmas lists of gifts they want to give rather than writing letters of what they want. We also have a tradition of doing Sub for Santa each year (so we get to play Santa) and as our kids get older we are going to do a midnight run on Christmas Eve and on the drive read The Polar Express and drink hot chocolate and eat chocolate candies 'with nougat centers as white as snow'. That way the focus is still on giving, not getting, but we get the best of both worlds. This way I don't ever have to worry about them finding out, it is just a fun story from the beginning. So there you go.