Author Topic: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief  (Read 3130 times)

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snowflake

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2012, 03:42:26 PM »
I'm 40, my oldest sister is 47, and my parents deny being Santa to this day.  They still threaten us with coal.  We clued in very early that it was a game and were not upset at all.

My husband and I played Santa together for fun.  We filled each other's stockings and put presents out for the first years of our marriage.  We just assumed we would do the same for kids...and then by the fifth anniversary we had to accept that the kids just weren't showing up.  We went through years of fertility treatments, years when we dealt with birth moms changing their minds, countries changing their adoption laws, etc.  And finally after ten years we had foster children for Christmas!  We were so stoked to do SANTA!

And suddenly this took on new dimensions.  Our first Christmas child was just with us while his poor grandparents looked for a place where they could have room for him.  (He was 2.)  How were we supposed to tell him about Santa when Santa might not be responsive in the years to come?  He will probably never be in a situation where he can ask for a specific item and get it.  (Most of the time, generic toys are picked for them based on age and gender.)  Telling him that presents were contingent on "goodness" would just be cruel.  We didn't do Santa that year.

The other side of the coin is the 4-yo we have now.  He asks about Santa.  Same thing - next year he could be with some destitute Aunt and getting a random toy.  I don't want him to believe in Magic that will only hurt him, but I can't exactly leave Santa out of things. 

So I really don't know what to do about Santa.  Right now, we talk about Santa in a Disney Character sort of way - like it's a nice story and there is a time and place to go see it in the flesh.  The stocking presents are "surprises" that just appear.  We also are very upfront about the non-magic origins of the toys they are getting from various charities.  We tell them that they are getting the toys from people who care about them and that when they are older, they will give toys to other children.   

I have no clue whether this will work out, or whether we will be remembered as "that loser Christmas I was in the system with those modernist, no-fun grinches."  I'm sort of hoping they don't remember us so if we fail it doesn't matter!  Maybe I'll figure out what works before we're brave enough to take on older children.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #46 on: December 12, 2012, 05:04:24 PM »
I'm 40, my oldest sister is 47, and my parents deny being Santa to this day.  They still threaten us with coal.  We clued in very early that it was a game and were not upset at all.

My husband and I played Santa together for fun.  We filled each other's stockings and put presents out for the first years of our marriage.  We just assumed we would do the same for kids...and then by the fifth anniversary we had to accept that the kids just weren't showing up.  We went through years of fertility treatments, years when we dealt with birth moms changing their minds, countries changing their adoption laws, etc.  And finally after ten years we had foster children for Christmas!  We were so stoked to do SANTA!

And suddenly this took on new dimensions.  Our first Christmas child was just with us while his poor grandparents looked for a place where they could have room for him.  (He was 2.)  How were we supposed to tell him about Santa when Santa might not be responsive in the years to come?  He will probably never be in a situation where he can ask for a specific item and get it.  (Most of the time, generic toys are picked for them based on age and gender.)  Telling him that presents were contingent on "goodness" would just be cruel.  We didn't do Santa that year.

The other side of the coin is the 4-yo we have now.  He asks about Santa.  Same thing - next year he could be with some destitute Aunt and getting a random toy.  I don't want him to believe in Magic that will only hurt him, but I can't exactly leave Santa out of things. 

So I really don't know what to do about Santa.  Right now, we talk about Santa in a Disney Character sort of way - like it's a nice story and there is a time and place to go see it in the flesh.  The stocking presents are "surprises" that just appear.  We also are very upfront about the non-magic origins of the toys they are getting from various charities.  We tell them that they are getting the toys from people who care about them and that when they are older, they will give toys to other children.   

I have no clue whether this will work out, or whether we will be remembered as "that loser Christmas I was in the system with those modernist, no-fun grinches."  I'm sort of hoping they don't remember us so if we fail it doesn't matter!  Maybe I'll figure out what works before we're brave enough to take on older children.

Snowflake this is such a wonderful thing for you to do.  I honestly hadn't spent time thinking about kids in temporary foster care until this year.  My DD and I have been helping a organization that provides Christmas presents for kids in the foster system.  Each case worker has each child identify 3 items they want.  The organization collects donations through out the year then in December volunteers like us come into their warehouse and "shop" for one or two items on the list or pick out something else that seems appropriate based on the age, gender and some other factors.  I would get so excited when I could select the EXACT thing a child had requested (i.e Lego 2n1 building table) versus how hard it was to know that instead of the Strawberry Shortcake doll they would have a more generic baby doll.  I don't even know these kids, so I can so understand your delimana when you have them in your home. 

IMissItaly

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #47 on: December 12, 2012, 07:33:05 PM »
My younger brother and I would write our letters to Santa, after perusing the "wish book" (JCP or Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogs). The letters were then placed behind the drapes over the dining room window. You see, a railroad track ran just behind our house, and the north bound train would stop for our letters and deliver them to Santa!

We opened presents from Mom and Dad on Christmas eve, and on Christmas Day there would be one Santa present for each of us under the tree, unwrapped. I must have been about 8 when I figured it out, but played along for a few more years for my little brother.

afbluebelle

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #48 on: December 12, 2012, 08:45:08 PM »
Welp, this whole thread has made me realize that I was a horrible kid (unintentional)

My parents didn't do Santa. Not at all. Half of Christmas tradition was Dad hitting the eggnog and going on the "Santa anagram" speech. Ahhh, memories........

Anyway, we definitely didn't do Santa. But, my parents were also really adamant that lying was wrong. So basically, I ruined Santa for my kindergarten class, several cousins, and a bunch of kindergarteners when I was in the second grade (they overheard me telling my friend that I told him it was fake after he pulled the beard off of a mall Santa).

Last Santa scandal was when I made my cousin Clyde bawl about the Santa fakery. My only defense was that he was nearly 14, I thought he would have figured it out by then!



Now, I have a kid of my own..... and my parents are both falling over each other trying to do the Santa thing ::)
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
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pearls n purls

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2012, 08:57:20 PM »
My mom told me the "truth" about Santa when I was 5.  It was because my parents were jealous that Santa got all the credit for presents.  As I didn't have any doubts at the time, it did not go over well with me.  Strangely enough, we still had to write a letter to Santa until we graduated from high school.  (My mom like to keep them.)  We would always leave out milk and cookies plus carrots for the reindeer.  This tradition also continued through high school.

For my child(ren), I plan on doing stockings plus a few other presents from Santa, but I don't want to go overboard.  And adults get stockings from Santa too.

I always loved doing stockings; they were always filled with small treasures.  As a teen I would get fancy soaps, lipstick, costume jewelry, special chocolates and such. 

baglady

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2012, 12:49:00 AM »
I was raised as an only child because my siblings are much older. And I firmly believed in Santa through third grade, had my belief shaken in fourth but held on through fifth, because, hey, presents!

As a child the Christmas ritual consisted of: Stocking presents first thing in the morning, then Mass with my father, then home for breakfast, and only then did I get to see the tree and open the presents under it. My mom always took a picture when I got my first look at the tree. The presents were a mix of "from Santa" and "from Mom and Dad."

I don't have kids, but if I did I'd probably tell them the story of St. Nicholas and how it evolved into the Santa myth, and offer them the chance to play along -- with the usual warnings about not spoiling it for other children who believe the myth is real.

My sister likes to label all the presents she gives "from Santa something-or-other" no matter the age of the recipient. She gave our brother and his wife some beeswax candles from "Santa BZZZZ." Their baby boy got a set of bibs from "Santa Sloppy" and an educational toy from "Santa Smart."

I like the idea from upthread about telling kids that Santa bills parents so he can pay the elves. I used to make very long lists, and my mom would tell me that "Santa can't afford to buy all that." I never understood, because Santa doesn't buy toys, they're made in his workshop. I would have gotten the "pay the elves" explanation.
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CakeEater

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2012, 02:05:02 AM »
My niece at age 4 was completely freaked out by the idea of someone coming into her room at night while she slept, so her parents told her that santa wasn't real, told her not to tell other kids etc - all was fine.

Next year at age 5, they just talked about Santa as though she didn't believe in him. However, it turned out that she didn't remember the conversation at all, completely believed Santa was real, had forgotten her fear of the year before, and they've had 3 more years of santa.

emwithme

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2012, 10:31:54 AM »
Father Christmas definitely visited my house.  We didn't have a chimney, so he magic-ed himself in through the letterbox. 

When I got to about five or six, I learned that FC sent mum & dad a bill in January for the presents.  He only gave your stocking presents (pyjamas, knickers, tights - still to this day come from FC, even though I buy and wrap them myself) unless you didn't have a mum/dad/gran/aunties etc to buy them for you, but he did do the co-ordinating and delivery and so mum and dad had to pay for it all. 


snowflake

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2012, 11:13:34 AM »
Snowflake this is such a wonderful thing for you to do.  I honestly hadn't spent time thinking about kids in temporary foster care until this year.  My DD and I have been helping a organization that provides Christmas presents for kids in the foster system.  Each case worker has each child identify 3 items they want.  The organization collects donations through out the year then in December volunteers like us come into their warehouse and "shop" for one or two items on the list or pick out something else that seems appropriate based on the age, gender and some other factors.  I would get so excited when I could select the EXACT thing a child had requested (i.e Lego 2n1 building table) versus how hard it was to know that instead of the Strawberry Shortcake doll they would have a more generic baby doll.  I don't even know these kids, so I can so understand your delimana when you have them in your home.

To be truthful, I never thought about it until I had the issue myself.  I used to contribute to places that provided toys and clothes en masse.  The good thing about those organizations is that they can buy in bulk and get presents to more kids.  I have a friend who runs a food bank and she told me that they need cash more than they need food donations precisely because they can get very discounted bulk rates.  So if I spend $50 at the grocery store for food items, I will only get half of what she could get if I just gave her the money.

But when I started fostering and realized that there really is value in personalized Santa service.  We get a form every year for our kids and we have 2-3 toys to choose from based on his age.  So often you look at the choices and go er...(s)he'll play with that for maybe ten minutes before forgetting it forever.  Plus, the toys tend to be geared young because so many foster kids are stunted intellectually from neglect and trauma.  This year we have two kids who somehow ended up cognitively advanced despite what has happened to them. 

This has made me a great believer in Angel Trees.  My husband and I are not wealthy, but we can provide a good, customized Christmas for the kids we have.  Someday hopefully some of the kids will end up staying with us and when they are older we'll get them involved.  I am hoping that we can preserve the whole idea and fun of Santa even if they don't actually believe in a real way.

KimberlyM

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2012, 12:05:51 PM »
I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa. 

My teenage son was told by a friends parents when he was in kindergarten that Santa was not only not real but that he was a satanic myth.  I was so mad I couldn't see straight. 

The rule in my house is when you stop believing in Santa he stops bringing you gifts, so if you ask my 16 year old son if he believes in Santa he'll say yes!  The 4 year old is just this year getting the idea of what Christmas is.  The pictures of him visiting Santa at the mall are just precious.  You can see the wonder and magic in his face. 

In our house Santa fills the stockings and leaves 1 gift for each kid, we have a designated roll of "Santa Paper" each year and they don't have labels. 

KenveeB

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #55 on: December 13, 2012, 01:41:26 PM »
To be truthful, I never thought about it until I had the issue myself.  I used to contribute to places that provided toys and clothes en masse.  The good thing about those organizations is that they can buy in bulk and get presents to more kids.  I have a friend who runs a food bank and she told me that they need cash more than they need food donations precisely because they can get very discounted bulk rates.  So if I spend $50 at the grocery store for food items, I will only get half of what she could get if I just gave her the money.

But when I started fostering and realized that there really is value in personalized Santa service.  We get a form every year for our kids and we have 2-3 toys to choose from based on his age.  So often you look at the choices and go er...(s)he'll play with that for maybe ten minutes before forgetting it forever.  Plus, the toys tend to be geared young because so many foster kids are stunted intellectually from neglect and trauma.  This year we have two kids who somehow ended up cognitively advanced despite what has happened to them. 

This has made me a great believer in Angel Trees.  My husband and I are not wealthy, but we can provide a good, customized Christmas for the kids we have.  Someday hopefully some of the kids will end up staying with us and when they are older we'll get them involved.  I am hoping that we can preserve the whole idea and fun of Santa even if they don't actually believe in a real way.

Yup, the bulk stuff works great for something like a food bank, but I think kids' Christmases deserve to be a bit more personalized. :)  I used to always do the Angel Tree, but recently it got harder to do. (Only at one nearby mall, that mall didn't have a toy store so I couldn't pick up, shop, and drop off all at once, etc.) So I switched to doing an adopt-a-child program with our local Children's Advocacy Center. It works on the same principle -- you get one particular child with a list of their wants, sizes, and interests, so you can really personalize it. That's the most fun I have Christmas shopping!

Girlie

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2012, 02:55:55 PM »
I was quite young when I started to doubt the Santa thing - a mixture of the kids at school and common sense got me to thinking on it. Now that I'm older, I know that Santa MUST be real, because I never got toys other than at Christmas and from others on my birthday - my mom never bought them for us. Why would she have done so just for the holiday?  ;)

We didn't have a lot of money when we were growing up, but Christmas was our period of "restocking" our toy supply, since we honestly didn't get anything very nice any other time of year. Each of the three of us still at home picked out a major piece of furniture in the living room (the couch, the loveseat, or the recliner), and lo and behold, when we would get up on Christmas morning, "our" section would be covered in gifts. It didn't matter who got the couch, because the loveseat and recliner spilled gifts into the floor surrounding them, too. No one got less than anyone else, and we all got a lot (thank you, Wal-Mart layaway!!!).
That's how I got my first t.v. and VCR, every bike I ever owned, most of my dolls (I collected them as a child), and lots of other goodies.
Santa never wrapped gifts - he didn't have time. Mom wrapped her gifts to us, though, although it was just as likely to be with newspaper as with wrapping paper.

The other cool thing about our Christmas - Cinderella, Mother Goose, Humpty Dumpty, Snow White, the Evil Stepmother - all were as real to us as Santa. They have all, at some point in my life, left a wrapped gift for me on the porch in the weeks before either my birthday or Christmas, not to be opened until the big day.
I never could figure out how they managed to get those presents there without me seeing them. They brought me a lot of joy growing up and made me feel very special. 
That is DEFINITELY a tradition I want to pass on to my kids.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2012, 04:03:53 PM »
snip

The other cool thing about our Christmas - Cinderella, Mother Goose, Humpty Dumpty, Snow White, the Evil Stepmother - all were as real to us as Santa. They have all, at some point in my life, left a wrapped gift for me on the porch in the weeks before either my birthday or Christmas, not to be opened until the big day.
I never could figure out how they managed to get those presents there without me seeing them. They brought me a lot of joy growing up and made me feel very special. 
That is DEFINITELY a tradition I want to pass on to my kids.

What a fun tradition.  I've never heard of fairy tales leaving gifts.  It sounds like your mom was very creative.

Thipu1

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #58 on: December 21, 2012, 09:36:19 AM »
My Santa story is about how I learned the truth.

When I started school I learned that my classmates left cookies and milk for Santa.

The tradition in our house was quite different.  My mother would start the bird on Christmas Eve afternoon.  By the time I went to bed, the breast meat was done enough to take off a slice or two.

Santa always received a turkey sandwich with mayo and cranberry sauce as well as a bottle of beer. 

Oddly enough, that was one of my father's favorite snacks. 

That was how I figured things out. 

AuntyT

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Re: Santa Claus Traditions and Belief
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2012, 10:00:45 AM »
When I was growing up, we lived in a fairly small house so there was little/no room for hiding gifts. 

Santa would wrap and deliver our gifts early (without name tags but numbered) and store them on the top shelf of our bedroom closets.  Mom explained that Santa had a lot of presents to deliver on Christmas eve and that he would drop some off early to make sure he had enough space in his sleigh.  Mom also warned us that if we peeked, that Santa would take the presents back on Christmas eve instead of moving them under the tree.