It’s official. My daughter hates Santa Claus. My cousin-in-law arrived at the family Christmas party dressed up as Santa (partly at my request). At first Allie was curious, and crawled over to see what the fuss was all about. That curiosity quickly turned into fear, as she quickly started crying.
I was interested to see how
loudly she would cry she would respond if I put her on Santa’s lap.
This picture says it all.
I’m not sure who was more traumatized – Allie for being afraid of Santa, or Santa for having to hold a screaming baby. Maybe Allie is only afraid of Asian Santas…
(Allie, if you are reading this and have an irrational fear of Santa Claus, this may be the reason. Sorry. It’s mostly your dad’s fault but in my defence, I was just too curious… and your mom did not stop me. Plus you’ve shown that you have a large capacity for forgiveness at this age, like the time I dropped you.)
This got me thinking about family traditions at Christmas, and how many families make an annual trek to the shopping mall to have their children take a photo with Santa. Olive and I have pretty much agreed not to lead Allie into believing in Santa. Maybe we’re totally missing something, but I think the cons outweigh the pros.
PROS of having your children believe in Santa
- It’s a fun tradition and helps to exercise your child’s imagination.
- You can give children an incentive to be good (at least the days leading up to Christmas), because Santa will give them gifts if they are nice (but not if they are naughty).
- Your children will be able to relate to other children their age (who also believe in Santa).
CONS of having your children believe in Santa
- Having your children associate their behaviour with material things, and only being “good” to receive gifts.
- The danger that your children might trust you less when they discover Santa is not real.
- Your children place their hope in something that is not real, rather than hoping in things that are real (family time, Christmas traditions, giving and receiving gifts, spiritual meaning of Christmas, etc.)
Those are my thoughts in progress, though we probably won’t have to decide this until next Christmas when Allie is 2 and starts understanding more.
Have you (or will you) let your children believe in Santa Claus? Why or why not?