The Santa Conspiracy

At my house growing up, Santa Claus always wrapped our gifts in the most beautiful paper--different from the rest; with the largest, most shiny bows on top; and the tags were always written in the most perfect handwriting possible. He (she, my mother) stuffed the stockings with treats, gadgets, and thoughtful little gifts. And Santa ALWAYS left a 2 lb. box of Nuts 'n' Chews from See's Candies, my mom and dad's favorite kind. I think that is why I prefer the soft centers--I got burned out on all that chewy stuff!

The sad part about all this lovely preparation is that my Santa bubble was burst, on purpose, when I was around five years old. I do not like to (nor ever really do) talk about these two people, but without some explanation you will not understand--

I had two older half siblings who found joy in torturing and abusing me. This year, that Santa's origin was revealed to me, is the first memory of their abuses that has been seared upon my heart.  If I think too hard on it, I can still feel the wound. It's probably because it opens up the door for recollection of all the more heinous crimes. Although, stealing the magic of a child's Christmas is quite the crime...


I remember being so excited for Christmas's arrival. It was my first year in school, which meant I had been influenced to be even more hyper about it from all the assemblies, parties, and friend-chatter layered on top of all the sparkle and joy my parents fostered in our home through family traditions. I do not recall why, but They came to me and told me that Santa was not real and that they could prove it. I argued that they were liars in true Laura fashion (I was born this way obviously) even after they showed me presents in my parents' closet. I told them something about the toys were probably for other people and things of that nature. Those two people then made certain to point out each of my gifts and told me to make sure to pay attention to see if they were from Santa when I opened the gifts on Christmas morning. I have never forgotten the image of the baby doll, in a box, in the shadows of my mother's closet, with those two jerks holding back the curtain.

The devastation I felt that day and Christmas morning was only alleviated by the fact that my parents made Christmas full of delight in love and Christ as well. Yes, the toys were important. Yes, I remember crying a lot. Yes, I cannot stand those two people for that spoiling, let alone the rest.Yet, I also remember letting it go.

At a very young age, I chose to look past the reality and find the magic in the tradition of Santa Claus.

Now, as a mother, I have had to decide how much of the tradition to follow. I don't think it responsible to dive in completely after having such a painfully poignant experience when discovering who is the real Santa.

My Santa Philosophy and Traditions:

First of all, the big gifts are from the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. Children need to understand that their main gifts come from hard-work and sacrifice--not by magic. I think it does them a disservice to lead them to believe anything else. If there is a tough year financially, it will be easier for them to know why they didn't get exactly what they wanted or as much as they are used to. It will have nothing to do with how good they have been, which in turn, won't get them worried that they are bad children.

Second, their stockings are filled by Santa and the elves. Period. I don't care how old my children get, it will never change. The two monkeys who know Santa's true identity already understand that the magic is created in the ability to believe that love and thoughtfulness are the fuel behind Santa's cheer.

Third, I read a story to my children every year that teaches the Christian symbolism of Santa, candy canes, bells, bows, etc. And the character telling the children these things in the story is Santa himself. It ties the magic and the truth of the reason for celebrating Christmas together in a lovely short story.

Fourth, when each child realizes the truth, I explain to them the importance of not spoiling the magic for other children by telling them what they know. And up to now, I still don't let them in on any of the surprises, thus keeping the sparkle of surprise alive.

Fifth, if there is a Santa party or opportunity to take pictures with the jolly old elf, we participate. If it will end up being a pain (i.e. standing in a line of crying children for up to or over an hour to sit on some guy's lap for two seconds while everyone is rushing you along), we don't do it. It is beyond my capacity to believe that type of thing will bring more of the spirit of Christmas to my children.

Last, I focus on Christ's birth in all we do. The day after Thanksgiving, I begin our Christmas season with daily Christmas readings, outings, crafts, and discussions. We talk about Santa and presents some, but about the Savior most. When choosing gifts to give, when wrapping the gifts, when giving the gifts, when opening the gifts, I remind them in gentle, conversational ways that Christ is the real gift and He is the reason we give; we give to follow His perfect example.

To be honest, I believe in Santa still. Because I choose to embrace the magic of it all.  And because life is just happier that way.

7 comments:

  1. Great post
    What a terrible way to find out about Santa.

    I love how you have organised Christmas and Santa, definitely have give me food for thought

    Merry Christmas

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  2. Thanks for the compliment. My hope in sharing this story and philosophy is that it might help others to rethink it a bit so it won't be a bad thing when the "truth" comes out. It will only make sense.

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  3. I have always thought and now practice in my home with our kids that Telling the truth about Santa is important. If they ask if he is real I will tell them the truth. We also try to teach the kids that there was a good man who gave and did service that we have turned into our Santa today. Also that Christ is the center of Christmas and that is who we are celebrating this time of year through our gift giving and service.

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  4. I was just thinking somewhat along these lines yesterday. I might write something on my blog about it...or I might get too busy and forget. So, I'll just share my thoughts here. I was thinking that I have a bit of a problem with how people have been connecting Santa with Faith lately. A stong example is in the movie/book Polar Express. I think it's a little disturbing to equate Santa with Faith because of course, Santa actually ISN'T real. Faith is based on things that ARE real and just can't be seen. I think it's dangerous to teach kids to just "Believe" in something that they will grow up and realize was just childhood magic. Whereas, Faith in God (and in godly principles) is not something we grow out of. There is no growing up and looking back on it all as just some magical thing we believed in for fun when we didn't know any better. Ya know? I don't think I'm expressing myself very well, but I just wanted to get the thought out real quick...see whatcha think. Merry Christmas!

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    1. I forgot about this comment, and even though it's been nearly a year since you wrote it, it deserves a reply.
      Thank you for pointing out in what we should invest our faith-based belief. Santa is not real, but God is and you expressed it very well. You always add so much when you take time to comment.

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  5. Thanks! Great read. My older kids were threatened with something just short of death if they ruined it for the younger kids. So, Santa still remains a "force" in our household. We'll also always "do" Santa, because it's part of the magic of Christmas.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the read. I totally agree--Santa is part of the magic of Christmas.

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