Friday, December 17, 2010

Do you believe in Santa?

Picture courtesy of Science Blogs

When I was growing up, everyone that I knew believed in Santa Claus. That is not always the case these days. I am not here to tell you which is the "right" way to raise a child. I am just going to show you some different perspectives for both sides. Before I begin this I will preface it by saying that in my house we believe in Santa.

There is an article on Science Daily about a study done in 1896 and repeated in 1979. The study looked at 1,500 kids between the ages of 7 and 13 and whether they believed in Santa Claus or not. The study found that 46% of the kids in 1896 and 44% of the children in 1979 gradually found out on their own that Santa did not exist. The study went on to say that about half of each percent were disappointed that Santa was not real but very few (2% and 6% respectively) felt betrayed about the believe. Most of the children even continued to pretend for the sake of younger children that Santa did exist even though they knew it not to be true.

Last year, Parade Magazine ran an interesting article about a man and when he no longer believed in Santa. It makes for an interesting read about how when something significant happens in your life you can usually recall tiny details of that event forever. He recalls the moment that he stated aloud that he know longer believed, a shooting star shot across the sky. I was also 7 when I stopped believing. Nothing as dramatic as a shooting star for me. I was snooping under the tree one day after school (my parents told me not to but that just piqued my interest). My Mom had already wrapped my gifts from Santa and had stuck them in the very back under all of the family gifts. I found them and then I went to my older and wiser brother (he was 11) to inquire about how come Santa had already come to our house and if I still had to be good. My brother told me that there was no Santa and that Mom & Dad just did that for me. I was upset but not devastated and my parents still give me presents that say From: Santa on them and I am way past 7 years old now.

There is a blog I read called Teacher Tom's Blog. I like him as he lets the children in his care make the rules for their school. He had a great post recently about Santa. I hope you will click on the link to read it but basically in large circle they were talking and the subject of Santa was brought up. He played uninformed and pretended to have not heard of Santa. The children proceeded to tell him their take on Santa and how the whole magic process happens.

Many people do not want to teach their children about Santa because of the "lying". I do not want to lie to my child and I want to give him the best possible start in life. Santa is on every street corner and it is hard to explain to children that see him everywhere that he is not real. I have a friend who does not celebrate Santa in her house. There are no religious reasons or any "great reasons" (her words, not mine) that she decided to not teach about Santa. She just felt that there was enough misguidance in the average life that it was not her place to purposely mislead her children. They have never had their picture taken on Santa's lap and all of the gifts under their tree say who it is actually from instead of an imaginary person. I love my friend and I respect her right to bring her children up with any believe she wants. I never discuss Santa in front of her children but I am perplexed as to how to handle it when my child gets older. I spoke to her about it and she stated that she told her children that many people believe in Santa as a real person but in her heart it is more of a feeling than a person. When I asked her to explain she said that she felt that the best part of the "Santa" believe was the giving of gifts and the love. This is the part of Christmas she taught her children. She taught them to love one another and to show their love with words and sometimes with gifts. This is a believe that I can get behind but in my house we will still visit Santa every year.

What about in your house? Do you teach your kids about Santa?

No comments:

Post a Comment