Santa is not that critical

Rodgers grew up without Santa Claus at all - he doesn't come to Kenya. I grew up with a fictional Santa, but we didn't believe in him - my parents' choice. Rodgers and I saw no reason to have our kids believe in Santa. We both feel Christmas is full without him. Not surprisingly, complete strangers have Very Important Opinions about this. And you know what? If you are on the other side, other complete strangers have Very Important Opinions about that. It's not unlike...well everything else that goes along with using social media as a parent. Sure some people will say these things to you in person, but with social media, you get read complete strangers' opinions about how you're ruining your children's lives from the comfort of your own sofa, at any hour of the day or night.

My sister posted this on Facebook yesterday, which I felt is one of the most well-thought-out pieces on why not to believe in Santa. The post itself is not judgmental, but there are always judgmental comments on posts like this. For what it's worth, I love that post and agree with all of her points, especially numbers 1 and 4 (and even more the first one since we live in a country where there is no Santa - I mean, can you imagine the American kids not only getting more Christmas gifts from their parents but also being the only kids in town visited by Santa?!).

(the whole bit in gifs here on imgur)
Later yesterday, Christianity Today posted this one, which is a bit more inflammatory (tactic to ensure more people will click on it). The title says that your kids should believe in Santa, whereas the previous one just said that their kids don't. While I agree with the conclusion on that post (that Jesus communicated truth using parables to appeal to the imagination through fiction, and other fiction can be used the same way), I don't agree that believing fiction is real is necessary.

There are a zillion other posts, from both sides. Some simply state the practice of the particular family, like the first post I linked to. Others tell you why you (and, more importantly, your kids) would be better off adopting their viewpoint. Regardless, the comments are predictable:

"Your kid is going to ruin Christmas for all the other kids!"
"Your kids only behave because of that creepy elf? How sad."
"There's enough reality when you're an adult. Let the kids have some fun."
"Well, I grew up not believing in Santa, and I'm just fine."
"Well, I grew up believing in Santa, and I'm just fine."

Let's focus a little on the last two comments.

While there are people who feel deprived to not have experienced believing in Santa, and there are people who felt betrayed when they found out their parents had lied about Santa, for the most part, it just doesn't matter much. It's not that critical.

And if people comment to you in ALL CAPS that it is that critical, that what you're doing will Ruin Christmas or Deprive Your Kids, just imagine them like Little John because this is what they're fighting over.


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