I think the woman in the restarant was a real spaz in her reply about Santa- ok fine- so she doesn't "do" santa- but all she had to do was make a lame phony holiday smile, a small generic reply, and move on. The comment from the waitress was innocent enough- similar to a basic hello how is your day going sort of thing.
Agreed--the woman was way out of line w/ the strength of her reaction. I do, however, understand that she could well have been on that last nerve. We haven't ever 'done' the Santa thing here (but do talk about St. Nicholas, the real historical person, earlier in the month).
Back when my oldest was 4, we were in the grocery when the cashier asked him something about what he was going to ask for from Santa. He very solemnly (as only a 4yo can be) told her that Santa Claus wasn't real, and we'd already celebrated St. Nicholas's day (candy canes and foil wrapped chocolate coins). She was clearly taken aback, but recovered, told him what a bright little boy he was, and the transaction concluded.
While I *do* teach my children not to ruin the game for other children, it'd be appreciated if every random adult in restaurants, grocery stores, and the like didn't assume that all families do Santa. Even better if they didn't address my children directly just because it's December (unless a waitress in a restaurant, but then she should be asking about what the choice is from the menu, not 'have you been good? what's Santa going to bring you?').