Why I’m Still Not Doing Santa, and Still Not Ruining Christmas

By Kristen Tea

Still Not Doing Santa, Still Not Ruining Christmas

Not everyone keeps a naughty or nice list. And not everyone chooses to tell their kids about Santa. One mom tells us why she don’t choose to do Santa Claus.

‘Tis the season! The season to destroy the holiday spirit by debating about whether or not to do Santa Claus.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

I’ve written about this issue almost every year, not in the interest of convincing anyone that my way is the right way, but simply to explain why a mother might choose not to do Santa. It seems to need a thorough explanation, according to the response this decision garners.

And the responses are intense. Out of all of the controversial parenting topics I discuss, the choice not to do Santa is often the most brutally criticized.

I’ve been told that I am destroying my children’s imaginations, that I have ruined Christmas, and that I have ruined their childhoods. This is not an exaggeration. When people learn that I don’t tell my children Santa is a real human who watches us and sneaks into our house to leave us presents, the accusations start flying wildly.

All of the accusations are untrue, but the part about stifling imagination is always extra perplexing. Children explore with imagination not because we tell them, “Bob the Builder is a real man who really builds real houses — in fact, he sneaks into our house at night!” but because they create fictional stories in their own minds, because they can stack blocks into cities for hours, and because they can love fairies, dragons, and elves without ever being told they are real.

The benefits of imagination play cannot be overstated. Imagination play is essential to childhood. However, imagination play does not take place when a parent watches over the kiddos, telling them that everything they’re playing with is really real in real life. Imagination play comes naturally to children, from absorbing the world around them. A parent does not need to convince the child that every aspect of their imagination is literally true in order for successful imagination play to happen.

My boys, a two-year-old and an eight-year-old, are both unschooled, and much of their day is spent immersed in imagination play. In order to facilitate such play, I don’t have to watch over their playroom insisting that their Lego creations are living beings. In fact, I usually don’t say anything at all unless asked. I watch, and I admire their brilliant imaginations running wild. Telling them that fake things are real does not inspire their imagination, and separating fact from fiction does not hinder it.

Some would argue that the spirit of St. Nick is real. Indeed, it is. I am a sentimental fool and I love the holiday season. I am merry and bright. I teach my kids about the history of the holiday, the religious meaning, and the stories of Father Christmas. Drawing from the St. Nicholas tradition of gift-giving, we embody the spirit of Santa and it adds an extra twinkle to …read more

See full article at : mothering.com

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