Conversations about Santa

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’d like to address the question of how I handle it when children who are not my own as me if Santa Claus exists.

I know that not all parents agree with my philosophy and I’m not going to try and trump them, so when a child asks me about Santa, I generally try to avoid the question.

This doesn’t always work.

Below are two examples (to the best of my recollection) of situations where I was pushed to give an answer. In many people’s eyes, these won’t make me look very good, but at the time I had trouble seeing any other way out of the situations.

Example #1: Non-religious family; seven-year-old child

Child: Do you believe in Santa?

Me: Well, I think it would be better if you asked [Parent] about that.

Parent: It’s okay. You can go ahead.

Me (to Parent): You sure?

Parent: Sure.

Me (to Child). Okay. Well, Santa Claus is a nice story that we tell around Christmas. He’s not a real person, but we all pretend that he is because it’s fun. It’s like a big game that everyone plays together.

Parent: (Furious)

Example #2: Very religious family; ten-year-old child

Parent (to me): Someone at school told [Child] that Santa isn’t real and she won’t listen to me about it. Would you talk to her?

Me: I don’t think that I’m the right person to ask about that.

Parent (to child): Come over here a minute. [Me] has something to tell you.

Me (to child): I hear that you’ve been wondering about whether Santa Claus is real.

Child: I heard at school that he wasn’t.

Me: Well, what does [Parent] say?

Child: That he’s real.

Me: Do you think that [Parent] would ever lie to you?

Child: No.

Me: All right then. You go think about that. Okay?

Child: Okay.

Parent: (Furious)

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Atheists' problems · Tagged with: ,

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Rachael
    on December 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    That’s really depressing and even hard to believe. Where do you live? Are you in the US? I’m in the UK and Santa is just not such a big deal here, and ten is too old to believe in him. I think if you asked a typical 10yo here if they believed in Santa they’d laugh scornfully and wonder if you were serious. I wonder what on earth the first parent actually meant by “You can go ahead.”

  2. Written by Deb
    on January 5, 2013 at 11:32 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I didn’t want to do Santa with my kids but I was pressured by my mother. Being dishonest with my kids is a decision that I regret.

    Did the parents in your example understand your feelings about Santa? It is weird that they would ask you to go along with the charade if they knew.

    It used to outrage me when other adults-unasked- told my kids that once the child stops believing in Santa, they wouldn’t get any more gifts. Way to encourage my kids to lie to me about their doubts.

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