Why I Don’t Believe in Santa Claus

Part 5 in my Series on Giving and Forgiving

You can also read Part 1: Deck the Halls with PsychoAnal Gifts, Part 2: The Spirit of Giving and Forgiving, Part 3: Balancing the Four Rooms, and Part 4: The Candy Cane Crux.

I have been incredibly moved by the response to this series. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to connect. Today, I am proud to present a guest post from a writer who enjoys their anonymity.

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1914 Santa Claus in japan

Image via Wikipedia

Santa will not be squeezing his well-nourished body in his pristine red suit down the chimney of any of the tents at the Dadaab refugee camp. No sack loads of toys or stocking fillers will be getting delivered there. He won’t be coming to my house either.

If by some miracle any part of the story were a reality, but there wasn’t enough magic to go round every little boy and girl in the whole world, I’d find it really easy to explain to my kids why he wasn’t headed for our house. I can’t begin to imagine how you explain to a child that such magic will be delivered by flying reindeer to them, but not, for example, the children of Somalia.

When he does visit he gives more to rich kids than poor kids. Magic indeed. This leaves those who can least afford it putting spare cash in mis-sold schemes with little or no guarantees they’ll see their money back never mind any interest and / or taking out loans at exorbitant interest rates to try to keep up with the pressure to “give the kids a happy christmas.”

I’m currently in the very fortunate position of being able to afford to buy my kids lots of toys, books, day trips etc etc, so we could easily have them wake up on Christmas (or any other) morning to a mountain of gifts and watch their little faces light up over and over as they opened package after package. Items which would presumably be promptly set aside as the next was opened, which in turn would be superseded but the next and the next.

What would this teach my child about how happiness is achieved? Visions of spiralling credit card debts as my grown-up shopaholic tries to soothe herself with yet another pair of shoes, another bag, that cute little top flash in front of my eyes. It’s not definitely going to end in tears, there are lots of other possible outcomes;

I’m just wondering why you’d want to teach your kid happiness is a mountain of stuff you don’t look at after you’ve unwrapped it. Not least because what if there comes a time my finances aren’t so in the black. What if next year it’s a choice of a 20% pay cut or redundancy instead of a bonus and pay rise? How do you explain tough economic times in the North Pole economy?

Let’s not forget the concept of the annual “must have toy.” Somehow word gets round that there’s this new toy and every kid wants one. So the shops promptly up the selling price and it still sells out. There are fights in the aisles of any store that gets a delivery of this treasure. There are online auctions allowing those parents who put off buying till late November a chance to hope something they’ve paid many times the retail price for arrives in the mail.

Every family in your kid’s school class is likely to own one of these toys, but until December 25th no one will have actually played with it. I’m not saying they all turn out to be over-hyped plastic tat, but so far as I’ve noticed there never seems to be a mad clamour for the same item the following year.

It’s important to me that my kids know where stuff comes from, the effort, materials and other resources that went into producing it, packaging it, shipping it, selling it, the impact on them and the wider world of the choices they make regarding what stuff to buy. These are pretty big concepts to explain to a small child. I can’t think of a way to incorporate magic or the slave labour of elves into the discussion without making it significantly more confusing.

I’m not disputing that childhood is a magical time. I absolutely believe that it is.

We live at an extraordinary time in an extraordinary place, surrounded by mind-blowing biodiversity and endless opportunities and potential. To be able to see all that for the first time, experience it without the distractions of responsibilities or deadlines or preconceptions, to just absorb and enjoy it, to figure it out at your own pace, that’s the magic of childhood.

Life is good, childhood is great! Of course children have to figure out who they are and where they fit in this big, sometimes bad, world, which is a pretty momentous task. I don’t see how it helps to throw misinformation into the mix.

“Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” Ron Wild

It’s not the spirit of gift giving I have a problem with. If you want to have a party and have someone dress up in a fancy suit to give gifts to children, the needy or needy children, it sounds like a fun day to me. It’s irrelevant to me whether that person is dressed in a red furry outfit or a mickey mouse costume.

I would think the kids benefitting from the experience would get even more from it knowing it was their more fortunate neighbours who wanted to do something to help them. But the whole nonsensical charade of adults wrapping up deodorant and toothpaste to give each other as stocking fillers, so it appears everyone got lots of gifts is just crazy!

If we are starting to realise we shouldn’t bring the toiletries back from the supermarket in a single use plastic bag, why would we still think it’s a good idea to surround some of the items in shiny printed paper, hold it together with single use sticky tape which cannot be recycled, with or without bows or decorative ribbon or a gift tag? There must be another way!!

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” ~ Oren Arnold

Wishing you warm winter moments and the merriest of memories, whatever or however you are celebrating.

The Writer

How do you reconcile the idea of Santa Claus with your worldview? Do you treat the magic of childhood as something intertwined with the spirit of giving and forgiving?

Remember, anonymous comments are always welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Questions from Part 1: Have you ever been charged for receiving a gift? Do you have expectations when you give to someone else?
  • Questions from Part 2: Do you feel that giving and receiving freely is important or is a gift a gift? What do you think about the concept that giving objects are a representation of the feelings inside?
  • Questions from Part 3: Do you visit the four rooms of your house? Are there any areas you need to offer the key of self-forgiveness before you unlock them?
  • Questions from Part 4: How do you handle candy in your family? Is giving candy in a separate category from giving gifts? Why or why not?
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8 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Believe in Santa Claus

  1. I never even thought about the injustice of Santa’s magic. I have so many problems with Santa and I also want to share the excitement I felt as a child with my daughter. Still working on it.
    I know that I want to dial it all back and simplify.
    She’s in a Waldorf school now and as I walked through the classroom I was so sad that I hadn’t stuck to the plan of only natural, wooden, organic toys. Her classroom is beautiful and there is plenty to create any game or play experience.
    Sigh….
    My kid is wise and happy and I won’t waste too much energy regetting. Just a bit on regaining a balance I can live with.

  2. We do Santa at our house, I’ll admit. I have fond memories of the tradition as a child, but we’ve toned it down at our house. Santa brings one or two small gifts, that’s it. Most of the boys’ gifts came from garage sales or things I’d won from blog giveaways. As the boys get older we’ll do as annabeth said talk about them helping to be Santa, and explain that Santa is more of the spirit of the season and about giving and love. I think it’s possible to have Santa without the commercialism.

  3. This is so perfectly crafted and so very honest, Zoie. There is so much magic and beauty in everyday life, to think that we need to create it with made up stories, and to think that *our* made up stories are somehow helping our children to be more imaginative just does not make sense to me. Our reasons for leaving Santa out of Christmas are much like yours, and of course we respect those who choose another way. These are also the reasons that we as a family opt out of the gift giving aspect of the holidays as well. We place a couple of special things in Annabelle’s stocking, and that’s where it ends. No shopping for anyone else, no wrapping, and we have a lovely, enjoyable holiday.

  4. I know it’s not fun to be down on Santa Claus and gift-giving… My sister is raising my niece without teaching her about Santa Claus. My sisters and I grew up not believing in Santa. And look! We turned out just fine! 😉

    I’ve heard someone on Twitter say that people who don’t teach their kids about Santa are imagination killers. I argued that it’s okay to tell kids about Santa but not to pretend that he is real and that the world is mysterious and magical enough as it is without us adding to it.

    I wish I could convince my family to take out the gift-giving part between adults but they won’t hear it. I think there are plenty of adults who need to learn themselves where “stuff comes from.” I’ll keep trying though. 🙂

    Thank you for this post because you’ve just saved me the trouble from having to do it.

  5. I appreciate this article so much. We take a bit more middle approach w our kids– i am laying the groundwork for explaining that the magic of santa is in doing things for others without taking personal credit. Dd asked me if the bell ringer santas were real — i said we help them be a santa when we give dollars so they can be a santa and bring christmas dinner to those without. Her preschool had a toy drive capped with a visit from a santa. Dd selected her contribution herself and i told her this is what it means to be santa’s helpet– kids we don’t know will get presents from santa because of her. I adore doing stockings but this will be dd’s 3rd year helping. She helps pick out surpises and do wrapping and take pride in being the helper who filled stockings. To me magic of santa is in giving without expecting anything even thanks. I want to capture that spirit for her. She wants to do the whole list & leaving cookies etc thing this year & i am cool w it. I am laying enough hints and explanations that she can have a little magic. I did tell her that danta picks one thing on list & that santa limited by dollars. I grew up w the idea of santa on a budget.

    • Just wanted to add that for me christmas has always been about giving and i don’t mind using santa to represent that. You can reject the commericalism and keep magic. Our kids get one gift from us as santa each. I do a lot of online shopping so dd helps me decorate the boxes to not use paper. The bulk of our gifts are handmade & dd makes something for each family member. She sees handmade things get labeled “from santa.” I feel that i am teaching her how to a good santa snd how to live among myth.

  6. Pingback: Why I Don’t Care About Santa Claus « Imperfect Happiness

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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