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BS: To Santa or not to Santa?

mousethief 22 Nov 00 - 01:19 PM
Naemanson 22 Nov 00 - 01:46 PM
Kim C 22 Nov 00 - 01:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 00 - 02:16 PM
black walnut 22 Nov 00 - 02:31 PM
mkebenn 22 Nov 00 - 02:44 PM
SINSULL 22 Nov 00 - 02:49 PM
kendall 22 Nov 00 - 04:19 PM
Homeless 22 Nov 00 - 04:23 PM
BigDaddy 22 Nov 00 - 04:25 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Nov 00 - 04:48 PM
mousethief 22 Nov 00 - 04:50 PM
Amergin 22 Nov 00 - 04:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 00 - 05:03 PM
Kim C 22 Nov 00 - 05:14 PM
mousethief 22 Nov 00 - 05:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 00 - 05:58 PM
Hollowfox 22 Nov 00 - 06:32 PM
sophocleese 22 Nov 00 - 07:25 PM
catspaw49 22 Nov 00 - 08:12 PM
Rana 22 Nov 00 - 08:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 00 - 08:28 PM
MMario 22 Nov 00 - 08:33 PM
SINSULL 22 Nov 00 - 08:44 PM
MMario 22 Nov 00 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,Marion 22 Nov 00 - 09:28 PM
katlaughing 23 Nov 00 - 12:54 AM
Wolfgang 23 Nov 00 - 07:52 AM
campfire 23 Nov 00 - 08:48 AM
JulieF 23 Nov 00 - 09:01 AM
Jon Freeman 23 Nov 00 - 12:24 PM
Mrs.Duck 23 Nov 00 - 03:10 PM
GUEST 23 Nov 00 - 05:05 PM
Lyrical Lady 23 Nov 00 - 05:17 PM
Ebbie 23 Nov 00 - 06:35 PM
Morticia 23 Nov 00 - 07:20 PM
Caitrin 23 Nov 00 - 07:27 PM
sophocleese 23 Nov 00 - 07:49 PM
Terry K 23 Nov 00 - 07:49 PM
katlaughing 23 Nov 00 - 09:08 PM
SingsIrish Songs 23 Nov 00 - 10:41 PM
Liz the Squeak 24 Nov 00 - 07:16 PM
Amergin 24 Nov 00 - 07:32 PM
Ely 24 Nov 00 - 08:52 PM
Gypsy 24 Nov 00 - 09:54 PM
mousethief 24 Nov 00 - 11:39 PM
bbc 24 Nov 00 - 11:41 PM
Geoff the Duck 25 Nov 00 - 09:28 AM
kendall 25 Nov 00 - 11:12 AM
Mrs.Duck 25 Nov 00 - 11:14 AM
BigDaddy 25 Nov 00 - 01:00 PM
Naemanson 25 Nov 00 - 01:12 PM
Naemanson 25 Nov 00 - 02:05 PM
catspaw49 25 Nov 00 - 02:13 PM
catspaw49 25 Nov 00 - 02:16 PM
Terry K 25 Nov 00 - 06:22 PM
Homeless 27 Nov 00 - 09:59 AM
Kim C 27 Nov 00 - 12:00 PM
MMario 27 Nov 00 - 12:08 PM
Kim C 27 Nov 00 - 12:45 PM
MMario 27 Nov 00 - 12:52 PM
annamill 27 Nov 00 - 12:53 PM
Whistle Stop 27 Nov 00 - 01:05 PM
Kim C 28 Nov 00 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Fibula Mattock 28 Nov 00 - 12:47 PM
Kim C 28 Nov 00 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 28 Nov 00 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 28 Nov 00 - 12:54 PM
Whistle Stop 28 Nov 00 - 01:04 PM
mousethief 28 Nov 00 - 01:25 PM
Naemanson 28 Nov 00 - 02:22 PM
mousethief 28 Nov 00 - 03:05 PM
Naemanson 28 Nov 00 - 03:53 PM
annamill 28 Nov 00 - 06:31 PM
mousethief 28 Nov 00 - 06:44 PM
MiriamKilmer 28 Nov 00 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,Fibula Mattock 29 Nov 00 - 05:46 AM
Kim C 29 Nov 00 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 29 Nov 00 - 05:13 PM

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Subject: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 01:19 PM

This started on the "What's your favorite thing about Xmas" thread, but it seemed a serious hijack to keep it going there.

I said my 1st wife and I didn't try to make our daughter believe that Santa was "real." I mentioned the lengths to which some people go to keep up this ruse (we had an example of dropping straw on the rooftop).

Naemanson said storytelling is an important part of many cultures.

I wanted to respond.

I don't equate storytelling with lying. In fact, we told our daughter the story about Santa Claus, and she received gifts that said "From Santa." But when she asked if that was "real" we said no.

I love storytelling. I love stories. I love myths. But telling a baldfaced lie when asked a yes-or-no question doesn't seem like storytelling to me. Except in the derogatory sense of "telling stories" meaning "to lie."

Flame away, catters.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Naemanson
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 01:46 PM

I certainly don't want to flame. I want to get involved in a serious discussion about storytelling, lying, and Santa. Unfortunately I am also on my way to my parents' house for Thanksgiving and will not be able to do anything about it until Friday night at the very earliest.

Suffice it to say that I believe there are degrees of lying. There are two main branches, malicious and entertaining. Is it malicious to reinforce a fairy tale or cherished myth? I don't think so.

I believe, Alex, you and your spouse may have taken a more conservative angle. Was it a matter of being concerned that perpetuating the innocent untruth of Santa might be seen by the child as an approval of lying in general?

As I mentioned in the other thread I grew up on a steady diet of tall tales. I learned of mosquitoes so big that two of them could drain a moose. Potatoes grown so big that a pig could drown in the water that collected in one of the eyes. I heard fishermen's stories and hunter's tales. I listened to the great storytellers like Marshall Dodge, Tim Sample, Kendall Morse, and others and incorporated their stories into my soul.

But do I lie? In the malicious sense of the word, NEVER! I have my honor and my pride and I would never compromise that.

Do my kids expect me to tell the complete truth all the time? Once again, no. The more exagerated the tale the more fun it is to pick out the truth and find the humor.

BUT! I give clear signals when I am telling the truth. And when I stray from the truth I make it very clear, in my attitude and the sound of my voice, that I am piling it higher and deeper.

Malicious lying is one of the worst things you can do to a kid. But tall tales add to their store of wonder and delight.

OK, Alex, flame back! I look forward to reading the answers that will accumulate between now and Friday or Saturday.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 01:57 PM

I think it's a personal choice how people deal with this with their kids. But I had Santa, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and I turned out all right... for the most part........

I will agree with Naemanson that I don't consider it a lie to reinforce a fairy tale. It's like a game, playing pretend... Pretending is fun. Any reenactor will tell you they never grew out of it!

Stories, fairy tales, and other assorted windies make life fun. But like I said, it's a personal choice how people raise their kids.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 02:16 PM

What do you mean Father Christmas isn't real? The nonsense people swallow these days...

Every Christmas time normally rational and dull people start behaving in a weird way, smiling at total strangers, giving presents to each other, spending time with people they want tospend time with, and giving time to people they normally avoid. And so forth.

The idea that we all get taken over by a benevolent Christmas Spirit with an objective existence seems quite a reasonable one.

If you want to draw a picture of it, an elderly gentleman with a white beard seems quite a reasonable one to me. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I am myself an elderly gentleman with a white beard, and I get some very thoughtful glances from passing children round this time of year.

I believe in Father Christmas in the same way that I believe in Christmas. Which is the same way that Americans, I understand, believe in Thanksgiving - and a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you over there.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: black walnut
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 02:31 PM

we did the same as you, mousethief....we always told our kids that santa, and the easter bunny, and the great pumpkin were make~believe, not real....but they each went through a stage of several years of arguing with us that we were wrong ~ that those characters were actually real, not pretend. it was pretty funny!

~'nut


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mkebenn
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 02:44 PM

I stand foresquare with Naemanson. Sadly, I have no children to "lie" to...Mike Bennett


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 02:49 PM

I still believe in Santa Claus.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 04:19 PM

When my youngest was about 5 or 6, she asked me how Santa Claus could visit every house in the world in one night. That one was always putting me on the spot. So, I explained to her that Santa Claus is not a flesh and blood human, but a spirit...he is the spirit of giving and in that sense, quite real. It worked on the other two!


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Homeless
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 04:23 PM

Naemanson - it seems to me that you are overgeneralizing in your separations of lying by simplifying them into only two categories. Quick to mind is that there are little while lies that are neither malicious nor exagerations. What do you tell someone who asks a question like (and I'm only using this cliche because it's an easy example), "Does this make my butt look fat?"

But even limiting the discussion to what you brought up, you say, "And when I stray from the truth I make it very clear, in my attitude and the sound of my voice, that I am piling it higher and deeper." So I ask, when you talk to your kids about the existance of Santa, do you put on your higher-and-deeper voice?

In my opinion, to lie to a child, especially if they know you are lying, is to teach them that it is acceptable to lie. Personally, I don't find lying ever acceptable. But those are just my values. They could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: BigDaddy
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 04:25 PM

Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, or whatever we choose to call him, is alive and well and true just as there really was a Camelot, Arthur and Excalibur. Just as there really was a Robin Hood. Just as there are ancient spirits in the forests. We need Myths (in the truest sense of the word) to sustain us, inspire us and to help bring out the best in us. My parents took the time-honored route of perpetuating my belief in Santa and such. I don't remember ever asking about the "reality" of it all. My son (age 6), on the other hand, is very much interested in what really transpires. So when he asked me to tell him the "truth" about where his presents come from, I couldn't lie. But I don't mind telling him that there are wondrous things in this world that we can't always experience with our five senses. He still has a healthy sense of wonder, as well as an instinct for "science," or the nuts and bolts of how things work. Long may he keep both.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 04:48 PM

My Dad blew it when I was about 6. If the Lionel Electric train really WAS from Santa (as the card said) how come I saw my father putting it together at three Am, while I was headin' to the bathroom?

Gets you into some tricky territory though. If you tell your kid that Santa, or the Easter bunny aren't real, how do you deal with questions about religion? If you believe from logic and your own experience that jesus, or any god is also "man-invented" (despite the rituals, paintings, and holidays) would you tell that to a kid? I don't know the answer...but I think I wouldn't want to disillusion a child, even if I didn't believe. I'd want that kid to make up their own mind what they believed when they got older.

I think there's a certain point in a child's life that they "realize" there's no Santa....I'd probably leave it up to the kid.....and deflect if they asked. Now if they were 17, and asked...I'd have to tell 'em the truth!

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 04:50 PM

But when a child says "is it real" he doesn't mean in the sense that Camelot or Neverland is real. He means in the sense that the mailbox and Mr. Harper down the street with the obnoxious barking dog is real. And the only honest answer to theat question is "no." YOu can go on to explain "the spirit of giving" if you like, and that seems to me a very understandable and reasonable thing to believe in. But real is real and pretend is pretend, and most children know very well which is which, and saying that Santa is real and not pretend is lying.

Just to keep my hand in, here.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Amergin
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 04:58 PM

But what would you tell them, Alex, if they asked if God was real? Would you "lie"? Or tell them the "truth"?


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 05:03 PM

The idea that real is completely diffeent from pretend is an adult concept. And I gather that when you get into the real higher physics that is virtually metaphysics, it starts to evaporate anyway.

As black walnut pointed out, any sensible kids won't believe you if you go round saying there isn't a Father Christmas. They'll put it down as just another of those stupid ideas grownups get in their heads. Quite right too. The Truth is a lot more important than the Facts.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 05:14 PM

Wasn't it Napoleon who said it was a fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous?

My parents "lied" to me about a lot of things, not just Santa and the EB and the TF... during their divorce there was some malicious stuff going on that makes Santa look like, well, like the Tooth Fairy, if you get my drift. My own mother lied to me about a whole bushel of sh*t over the years. I would take Santa over that kind of stuff any day, ever. I find it very hard to believe that any parent is 100% honest with their kids 100% of the time. How many of you have ever fudged the "where do babies come from" question? Why would that be any different?

Sometimes Santa is the only thing a kid has to believe in - any of you who want to ruin that, fine, go ahead, take the candy from the baby. Bah humbug to you too. ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 05:14 PM

Amergin, I believe God is real. Real like the neighbor's dog is real, not "real" like Oz or Neverland or King Arthur. If you don't, then that's what you should say to your kids when they ask. Maybe it's because I believe God is real, in a way Santa Claus is not, that I take such exception to presenting the Santa Myth as real.

McGrath, I disagree. Kids learn to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction at a very early age. "real" and "pretend" are an important part of the 1st grade vocabulary, and for the 1st grader, they are airtight and mutually exclusive. It's this idea of "real but real in a different sense" thing that's an adult concept, the "yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus" answer that is philosophical rather than simple and down-to-earth.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 05:58 PM

I think it's CS Lewis somewhere has a passage about how what we call real things are only provisionally, approximately, real not "really" real at all. Which is where they are different from God.

Maybe there are other ways of being approximately real as well, and that's where Father Christmas come in.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 06:32 PM

Well..I had the standard grew-out-of-it belief in Santa Claus, and that was fine for fifteen or twenty years, and then a good friend (now my kids' godfather) became a "professional Santa. Funny thing, sometimes when he was telling about some of his department store adventures, his voice would change, and his face...not what I'd call "channeling", but there'd be this transformation. I've since seen it happen with other men who take the Santa role seriously. On the other hand, my scientifically inclined son was never so relieved as the day when I admitted that there wasn't a person literally corporeally coming down the chimney. Mysticism and symbolism suit him just fine.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: sophocleese
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 07:25 PM

Well my kids put me on the spot this last weekend and asked me point blank "Is Santa Claus real?" it was an issue hotly conteneded on the school yard. Regretfully I had to tell them that I had never seen him and that I was the one responsible for those presents marked from "The Reindeer" or "To T. from the Elves". I enjoyed pretending that Santa was real and I loved watching them anticipating his arrival. I blew it earlier with the Tooth Fairy when I lost the tooth that my son had pulled at the dentist and suggested that he put a note explaining the loss to the fairy under his pillow. In the morning what he got was a small note telling him to "Redeem this voucher at the nearest parent."


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 08:12 PM

Well I guess I'm a bad parent and I had bad parents. My Ol' Man was a supreme storyteller. Not in the professional sense, but in the way of instant invention. At an early age I began to doubt his tales, but he wouldn't let them rest. He took green milk that mysteriously appeared in our fridge down to his pet dragon in the basement. He was a green dragon named George and he lived behind the locked door of the now unused coal bin. There were hundreds of tales like that and I never knew whether to believe them of not.....but the joys and terrors of his tales were a wonderful part of my childhood.

He was a railroad engineer and later on I found that he would come up with some sillyass thing and beat it into the ground out on the road too. For years he talked to the various head end brakemen and train crews about alligators in the Ohio River. He was always seeing them and pointing them out to the guys, but they'd mysteriously go under when they looked. One guy got so mad at him that he went after the Ol' Man with a coupling wrench. Once he had a "joke-tale" going, he wouldn't let it go.

Does any of this sound familiar to you older members?

I wasn't traumatized and I believed in Santa. He went away with other childhood things, but there were still packages from Santa on Christmas morning and my Dad still put out the milk and cookies until I left for college. There were times I thought he was nuts, but there were far more times that he enthralled me with the wonder of great things. He's been gone for so long and my boys would love him so much. That they will never know him is a sadness to me...........and then again, in a way, maybe they do.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Rana
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 08:19 PM

Just watch Miracle on 34th St.

Rana


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 08:28 PM

I knew you must have got it from somewhere, 'spaw.

The incomparable Packie Manus Byrne always used to say there were stories and jokes and lies - and that he specialised in lies. (I say used to not because he's dead, I hope he isn't, but he doesn't get over to England from Donegal any more.)

I'm with Hollowfox on this one anyway. The Santa Force be with you...


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: MMario
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 08:33 PM

I think everyone in my family went through the "Santa isn't real" phase - and all of us grew out of it. NO - Santa may not be a guy in a red suit who comes down the chimney on the night of Dec 24rth, but in many ways he is real. So is the Easter Beagle, Harvey the Pooka, and our own "family spirit", Pamplemousse - who is half a greenland elf, half leprechaun and lives in my oldest brothers left ear.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 08:44 PM

MMario,
Is he the one who keeps swiping my keys and leaving them in odd places? He's going to catch it if I get my hands on him.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: MMario
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 09:09 PM

quite possibly. That's the type thing he likes to do. He had a cousin named "Nobody" that used to hang around our cousins a lot. You always knew when he'd been around because "Nobody" would have eaten the last of the ice cream, or taken the last cookie.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST,Marion
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 09:28 PM

Whoa!

There seems to be an assumption here that Santa Claus is not real, or is only real in a mystical "Yes Virginia" sense.

This is not the case. Santa is real, in the same way that the dog down the street is real. (Assuming that you all have a dog living somewhere on your streets...:)).

Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas as would be a better anglicization of his name, was a real person who was a bishop in Turkey and developed some fame for anonymous generosity. While some of the stories being circulated around him now (the North Pole thing, the chimney thing) aren't factual, the existence of the man himself is.

Why not encourage your kids to find out about the historical St. Nicholas, and talk about how mythology mixes with history?

Here's the only link I could come up with in a few minutes - it's a very "hagiographical" account on an Orthodox site - but it will give you an idea of St. Nicholas, the real man.

Article about the life of St. Nicholas

Marion

Marion


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 12:54 AM

Children are expected and made to grow up too fast these days. They need to be nurtured with stories and belief in the magic of things such as Santa. There is no harm in it.

Besides that, how are we to really say? I would swear to this day that I did see him fly over our house with his sleigh and reindeer when I was about 6 or 7 years old. Laugh if you will, but it was as real as the dog on your street.

Kendall that is a beautiful explanation. Spaw, no wonder you turned out so well with a *Paw* like that. What a wonder. Ya know it was always my greatest fear, that my children would grow up not knowing my wonderful father. Sadly, except for a bit of what my son remembers and what my youngest knows of him now, that is exactly what happened, after he and mom got divorced. He and his wife moved away and there was some acrimony from the rest of the family. Except for a time or two, my children really never got to experience the stories and music the way we did growing up. I am grateful they at least have his tapes now and all enjoy them.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 07:52 AM

This Christmas will probably be the before last Christmas with my daughter still believing in 'Christkind' and 'Weihnachtsmann' (I'll use 'Santa' from now on), because she's near to four years and virtually no German child keeps the belief in Santa when being in school (older pupils love telling the younger ones the truth).
Of course, I'll tell her the truth (her parents playing Santa, 'Easter hare', 'pacifier fairy') when she'll ask same as I'll tell her the truth when she'll ask whether there is really a God: There are people who believe that to be true, your dad's not among them, but you'll have to decide for yourself.
As for 'real vs. pretend' I'm with Alex (except for the use of the word 'real' for God, of course): Children can learn that distinction easily and you don't do them a favour if you do not differentiate between real, pretend, don't know, possible...

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: campfire
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 08:48 AM

I wasn't very old at all when I figured out that Santa couldn't possibly be "real". I remember the conversation with my mother about it, and she explained that Santa was part of the tradition of Christmas, and part of the fun. And part of the "rules" were not to tell other children who still believed in Santa that there was no man in a red suit coming down all those chimneys on Christams Eve. You weren't supposed to spoil the game.

My siblings and I might have figured it out so young because we always did the main celebrations (and gift opening) on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day - Santa came early to our house.

Some of the gifts under our tree were always marked "From Santa" even though we all knew who had really purchased them.

My siblings and I even knew where the stash would be for peeking. We learned not to peek the year that Mom and Dad didn't put the items they overheard us discussing (in not too hushed whispers, I suppose) under the tree that year. (Other gifts were substituted, so they weren't being cruel.)

With the children in my life, I've always used Santa to the same degree that their own parents do.

God is a whole different subject. He is as real (for ME) as the barking dog and the clerk at the grocery store.

campfire


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: JulieF
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 09:01 AM

I told my daughter that santa was real. Part of the magic is that when they come to disbelive its about the first time that they are thinking properly for themselves. The approach of critical thinking. As an athiest I found it much harder to deal with my daughter's questions about the existence/ nonexistence of god as at primary school it is taught as fact. She had to come to terms with the fact that her parents thought differently to how she was taught. I was rather delighted when at the age of 6 she decided that Adam and Eve must have been the first people to evolve.

Let the kids believe in the santa, tooth fairy etc and enjoy the fun but welcome the fact when they start thinking for themselves.

All the best

Julie


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 12:24 PM

from black walnut (who is having problems posting to Mudcat):

You're quite right, Marion, to bring St. Nicholas into the discussion. He was certainly important in our family talks about Santa. (We didn't lecture or throw cold water on the subject, by the way....it was more that we tried to be open and honest when they came to us with their questions....but if they wanted to put out the milk and cookies, we helped them write the note to go with it). There IS a magic about Christmas, though, that can make me absolutely believe the most wonderful and hopeful of things. Every year that magic appears, despite the horrid muzak in the stores, and the ads which imply that a low~cost gifts means low~level love, and that shallow way people have of equating "pretty" harp music only with this season of the year, and/or with angels (I play harp, if you didn't know). It's not just the magic of friends and families getting together. It's got something to do with the ritual of the advent wreath, the glow of candlelight, the smell of evergreen in the house, the liturgy of the midnight eucharist, exchanging a gift for good wishes from my dearest Jewish friend, and those fabulous renditions of the old old carols every year down at the Flying Cloud Folk Club at the Tranzac..... ~black walnut (whose hair is made of mistletoe, really!)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 03:10 PM

Sorry to upset the apple cart but when I talk about Santa or rather Father Christmas I am not referring to some ancient Turk but to a much older tradition. He is the spirit of midwinter who brings the promise of new year, He exists and I for one will never tell my children otherwise! I still feel the magic on Christmas morning as I watch them open their gifts and nothing could be more real than that. Anyway if he doesn't exist then who leaves all these presents and eats the mince pies!


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 05:05 PM

I was a serious young parent who believed in letting my child know every truth straight from the shoulder, no matter how painful.

Went to live in the mountains, and on Christmas Eve my neighbour came down the hill and said to my three-year-old son "open the window at midnight and you'll hear Santy going by on his sleigh". My son stared doubtfully at him, but stayed up till midnight, when we opened the windows, and duly heard the sound of sleighbells, rung by the neighbour every year for his children.

I didn't have the heart to get into any serious discussion about truth or fable.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Lyrical Lady
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 05:17 PM

And the carrots ....that I leave on the roof ...who eats those?...WHO WHO WHO? Santa comes to visit our little island by boat (a courtesy of the Bellingham J Cee's) every year and has done so for 40 years that I know of. Those volunteer's are going to be really POed when they find out that their good will is a lie! ... Not to mention the children who wouldn't get a gift otherwise. Ya know, kids aren't dumb ... they can figure things out on their own with out parents putting in their two cents about every little thing. My best friend told her little girl that Santa wasn't real and she told my little girl. They are both teens now and when they exchange gifts to each other they both sign the tags 'Love Santa'. So lighten up Mousethief .... look upon the Santa issue the same way you did your X-wife, a little bit of humour, meant to be laughed at and not taken seriously! (Happy Holiday HA HA thread). ....LL (who still believes in magic)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 06:35 PM

When my daughter was 7 she came to me with a very serious look on her face. Mama, she said, I know there is no Santa and I know about the Easter Bunny- but there is a tooth fairy, isn't there?

I didn't know how to handle it but I had never lied directly to her so after a moment, I said, Well, what do you think?

Mournfully, she said, Oh, No...

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Morticia
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 07:20 PM

Dear Santa,
although I am a mudcatter and am very fond of all the people above, I wish to disassociate myself entirely from the above thread.I will leave the sherry and the mince pie in the usual place and if you could see your way clear to getting me that Porsche we discussed last year (and the year before that), I will be very grateful
yours
Morticia
PS....I have been very good all year.......mostly.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Caitrin
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 07:27 PM

Hi, folks! It's been a while, but I'm back from the dead. Or from the theater, rather.
Anyway, as to Santa...
When I was six years old, I asked my mother for "The Truth" about Santa Claus and sex, all in one afternoon. I got a fairly straight explanation of both. Mum's take on Santa was "There's not an actual guy in a red suit, but the spirit and magic of Christmas are very real." We continued to play the game, though...all the presents from my grandfather still come tagged "From Santa". I don't think my years of believing in the red-suited elf hurt me at all. I tend to agree that folklore and mythology and magic are an important part of childhood and culture, and it'd be a shame to abandon all that in favor of cold hard fact. However, I also think it's important to give the truth when it's asked for.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: sophocleese
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 07:49 PM

What did she say about sex Caitrin? Do you still believe in that too?


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Terry K
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 07:49 PM

Whatever the historical associations, the spirit of Santa certainly lives on, as McGrath and others have more than adequately stated. As for God and his cronies, the only thing I know is that I was born without a belief in a god (or anything else for that matter) so it was only the brainwashing of society that fed me the myth of God and all the usual guilt trips that go with the deal, without the slightest shred of evidence (and please don't give me the usual "you must have faith, my son").

It has only been in adult life that I have been able to shake of the dreadful effects of that ongoing brainwashing and see things more clearly.

So there's certainly more evidence for the existence, then and now, of Santa than there is of God. (Note also that belief in Santa does not give rise to holy wars etc, only good spirits around Xmas time).

And to the original poster, I really believe that Mousethief's self-righteous attitude about "lying" is to the detriment of his children's childhood. Is there no place for make-believe? - except in the case of God, of course, where you can seemingly justify any old lies.

What on earth are we coming to. End of rant.

Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 09:08 PM

Just a note about telling children the "truth". Often when they ask for the truth, it does not mean they want a huge, adult discussion on the subject. Depending on their age and maturity, they can only handle so much. This was pointed out in a parents' class I attended once per week when my son was in preschool. We hosted different guests who would come in and talk with us. One child psychiatrist pointed this out using "where do babies come from" as an example. While he did not advocate telling them the stork brings them, he also did not advocate going overboard with information, again, depending on their age and maturity.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: SingsIrish Songs
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 10:41 PM

This is certainly a judgement call for each parent to make...

As I see it, I love the concept of Santa, and even though I know the man in the red suit with the sleigh and 8 reindeer isn't true, there was St. Nicholas who helped the idea begin....there are some truths that the fiction is based on.

But that's not what my real point is.

Even though I know "Santa" isn't real, I would still say "I believe" if asked...especially by children.

Several years ago I was working with a group of 4th graders and found a group discussing whether Santa existed or not...some still believed, others had "outgrown" the concept. I told them I still believe in Santa, and told them stories from when I was a girl--things Santa wrote in his reply letters after eating the cookies and feeding his reindeer the vegetables...Even those who no longer believed took delight in the tales.

And still I am not getting to my real point. LOL

I would say that belief in Santa is similar to a child having an imaginary friend. Not only do they both foster a child's imagination, it is something that is "needed" at that point in time. I certainly wouldn't tell a child that his (universal term in my book) imaginary friend doesn't exist...

I am delighting in carrying on the tradition of letters to and from Santa with my son as my Dad did with my sister and me. If it helps foster a child's imagination, then I believe. It could be difficult for a child who does believe to hear a friend insist Santa doesn't exist...

But as I said, it is a judgement call each parent needs to make.

Cheers everyone.

Mary


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 07:16 PM

Am I really muddling the issue to say that Santa Claus AKA St Nicholas is the patron saint of prostitutes, small boys and pawnbrokers....... amongst other things......

Phoebe Bratling still believes in Father Christmas, even though he looks like Rosie's dad and didn't bring her the £200 worth of toys she wanted last year, despiter her asking him 3 times. She's going to be even more confused this year, there are 3 Santas at one fair tomorrow!!

Santa Claus is the one in red and Father Christmas (or Christemas) is the one in green with the holly wreath on his head..... one is the spirit of the season and the other is the spirit of the Season. Go figure....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Amergin
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 07:32 PM

Hey, look, everybody!! I found a picture of Alex/Mousethief....


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Ely
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 08:52 PM

I figured out the whole thing when I was four, so I'm not sure it even matters. Of course, the girl across the street from us believed fully until she was at least eight, to the point that she would burst into tears if you even looked skeptical (how much of this was her own doing and how much of it was her parents', I don't know).

I guess what I mean is my parents let us believe for as long as we did, but didn't keep insisting on it beyond that and let us think of Santa as a concept rather than a being. We still get presents "from Santa" every year, but his handwriting varies a lot (it always either looks just like Dad's or just like Mom's).


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Gypsy
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 09:54 PM

Not to believe in Santa! How couldja? He just morph's into a different being as we age, but is still around. Just look in your world, and you will see him. (Gypsy who's mother said if you don't believe, it is to your detriment)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 11:39 PM

Boy, say you don't believe in other people's fantasies and look at the abuse you collect. Forgive me for being honest, with my children, and with you. Obviously what I need is to follow the party line and lie when I don't.

Some of you need to step back and look at yourselves and ask if it really makes you happy to say nasty things about others.

Maybe Praise was onto something with her "black hole of negativity" comment. Hmmmm.

If believing in Santa makes you nasty and mean-spirited, leave me out.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: bbc
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 11:41 PM

My experience & practice are similar to kat's & a couple of others. I have a couple of very fond memories from my childhood at Christmastime when Santa was very real to me--once, Christmas Eve, we saw him in our neighborhood & he called me & my sister by name. Another time, I know I heard the reindeer on the roof of our house. I recounted these stories to my children with delight. When, through the years, questions were asked, I would respond w/ those stories & the explanation of Santa being the symbol of the joy of giving. By tradition in our household, stocking gifts come from Santa & the wrapped gifts from friends & family. Of my two children, one shares my delight in believing & one is a skeptic. So be it. There is too little wonder in the world. I am a Christian & that is the heart of our Christmas celebration, but Santa is a lovely part of our holiday, too.

bbc

P.S.--Yes, we believe in the Tooth Fairy & the Easter Bunny, too. My kids are currently 15 & 18. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 09:28 AM

Well!!!
I don't understand what this thread is about!
I KNOW Santa is real!!!
On the other hand, nobody has ever managed to provide me with conclusive proof that America really exists. I've seen the films on television and it all looks "made-up" to me!
Looking forward to wishing you a Merry Christmas in a few weeks time
Geoff the Duck


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: kendall
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 11:12 AM

While we are on myths, where does the Great Pumpkin fit in? Not that it's important, but, the practice of gift giving predates St. Nicholas. In fact, it goes back to the Roman Empire as part of their seasonal celebrations. Caitrin, your mum was right, thats what I told my kids when they asked. The thing is, the truth doesn't have to be devastating. It's the spirit of giving that counts here, not some overweight legend.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 11:14 AM

Let us not forget the little man is red is a product of Coca Colas imagination. Also Father Christmas green or otherwise is far older than St Nicholas or Christianity!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: BigDaddy
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 01:00 PM

Then there's the Christmas Nazi approach of one of my neighbors. She tells her kids if they don't believe in Santa or say they don't, there won't be any presents for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 01:12 PM

Well I survived the holiday and that is not an understatement. I have a long story to tell and I want to answer specific points in the discussion to date so I will break this post into two segments. This one will answer points and the other will tell a rather tragic story. It involves a death in the family (a pet) and what you tell the 6 year old girl who has just lost her dog.

Homeless asked:
"But even limiting the discussion to what you brought up, you say, "And when I stray from the truth I make it very clear, in my attitude and the sound of my voice, that I am piling it higher and deeper." So I ask, when you talk to your kids about the existance of Santa, do you put on your higher-and-deeper voice?"

Actually my technique with these important questions is to turn it back on the child. I don't know any more than s/he does so we explore the question together. We look at the literature, movies, and music and try to figure out what Santa is and does. We all recognize the guy in the stores as a "helper" but make no guesses about the reality of the old gent. My kids have never asked about either the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy.

mousethief Date: 22-Nov-00 - 04:50 PM
You are right when you say you have to give a straight question an honest answer. I too would give a straight answer if asked straightforward about the reality of a myth. But I think when the kid asks that question then s/he is ready to hear the truth. My kids never asked the question that way. There came a time when they just announced that there was no Santa. And even that had to be drawn out.

We perpetuate the myth for our own gratification. It keeps us believing that the kids are not actually growing up and away from us.

mousethief Date: 22-Nov-00 - 05:14 PM
"…I believe God is real…" But yours is only one opinion. It is the majority opinion in our little bit of culture of our little bit of the world but it is only opinion. Even the question of God is subject to different interpretations. To a fundamentalist he may be an omniscient father figure in flowing robes and a white beard. To a more modern radical type s/he may be more of an idea and spirit with one's heart. Which interpretation do you give a child? Of course, you give your own.

"Kids learn to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction at a very early age. "real" and "pretend" are an important part of the 1st grade vocabulary…" This is one of the grand adventures of youth. My 6 year old niece is having some trouble with this. She has invested a lot of worry in the fact that Darth Vader is a dad but is also evil. And we have invested a lot of effort in trying to make her see the difference between that fiction and the fact of her own father and the rest of the fathers in the family.

Spaw, your tale of your father was great. I'd say mine is a little like him. And so am I in a way. Once upon a time, when they had learned the purple cow rhyme, I served purple milk at supper. They still remember that.

Guest mentioned hearing sleigh bells. That was part of my own youth. I remember waking on Christmas in the early morning hearing bells. It is a valued part of my personal history.

Amergin, your picture of Mousethief was not funny… well OK, it was a little funny but not fair. He is only standing up for what he believes and participating in a serious discussion… oh never mind, he can defend himself and it was funny too. Sorry Alex.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 02:05 PM

And this is our Thanksgiving tragedy. You must understand the farm is heaven for kids and dogs. The buildings stand up on a hill well back from the road and are surrounded by overgrown fields. The farm hasn't been a producing farm since before my family bought it in 1967. About a half mile back over open fields and second growth woods is Hannigan Pond.

At home for the holiday were my oldest sister and her two kids and their dog. Also there were my youngest sister and her daughter and their dog. Living at the farm are my parents and their three cats and three dogs. So we had 9 people, three cats and five dogs.

On Thursday morning the dogs went out as usual. Emma, a small black and white lab and shepherd mix, and Annie, a lovely Irish Setter, played together in the yard. After a while, as kids prepared to go out for a walk they were missed. Search parties fanned out.

It was my nephew that found them. They had made their way down to the pond and broke through the ice about 30 feet out from the bank. He and my oldest sister manhandled a canoe 200 hundred yards through the woods to the spot closest and broke through ice to rescue them. Annie was already gone and Emma had just given up the struggle and was no longer swimming. They rushed her back to the farm house and began the revival. My sister changed into some dry clothes and she and I went back for Annie. We knew it was too late but we had to try. My other sister was distraught and my niece was inconsolable.

Annie was indeed gone. We got her out of the water but she was dead. By the time we reached shore my nephew was back with my daughter and they helped us haul her up through the woods to the trucks in the clearing.

It was a sad day and this is the point of my story. What do you tell a 6 year old kid who has just lost her dog?

Fortunately the ground was not yet frozen. We dug a nice deep grave for her in a corner of the garden. Little Addie and her grandfather made a headstone that said "Beloved Dog, Annie" on it. Addie also drew a heart with a picture of a dog. Then my daughter and I went down to the clearing with a blanket and brought Annie home. My daughter combed her hair and made her look as pretty as she could and then we led Addie over to say goodbye to Annie. She was very solemn and petted her. Then we covered Annie with the blanket and lowered her gently to her rest. My sister spoke of what a good dog Annie was and how much she would be missed. We told Addie that Annie was resting now and would become part of the farm. I told her that Annie would continue to live in her heart and in her mind as long as she remembered what a good dog Annie was and how much she had loved her. I pointed to the location of the grave and how pretty it would be in the springtime.

She has all the resiliency of a 6 year old. That evening she was alternatively full of fun and then sad and withdrawn. Next morning she crawled into my lap and solemnly announced that she wanted her dog.

What would you have done?


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 02:13 PM

Ya' done good .........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 02:16 PM

Sorry, that's not an answer, but its a wonderful story and everything you did I would believe of myself....or at least want to.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Terry K
Date: 25 Nov 00 - 06:22 PM

I'm a little concerned that Mousethief may be badly needing some attention.

He suggests that he has been subject to abuse in this thread and accuses we participants of being "nasty and mean-spirited".

I'm blowed if I can find either nastiness, abuse, or evidence of meanness of spirit. What I have found is a reasonably light, though serious, sensitive and mainly humorous discussion on the original point and some of its digressions - in other words, a typical Mudcat thread. Is there something I'm missing?

Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Homeless
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 09:59 AM

Naemanson - I salute you.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:00 PM

Oh, Naemanson, I am so sorry about the dogs. I have two that I love very, very much and one is now getting old nad having trouble getting up and down the stairs. It breaks my heart but I know she can't stay forever. I think you did the very best thing you could.

Mrs. Duck - I think Clement Moore's Santa wore a red suit too. But shame on me, I don't remember off the top of my head.

Now, y'all be sweet. There's room for everyone, whether they love Santy or not. Merry Christmas.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: MMario
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:08 PM

"He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot" - - Can't think of any animals I know with red fur...


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:45 PM

Thanks MMario. I couldn't remember if it was the poem itself, or the illustrations that usually accompany it! So what we are actually dealing with here is the Old-World Mountain Man Santy Claus.... I have a couple of books of Victorian scrap (you know, to cut out and paste on things!) and those Santys are wearing just about every color you can imagine... red, green, blue, brown, white... I don't think any of them are wearing fur except for trimmings.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: MMario
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:52 PM

I find it fascinating that Clement Moore's "Saint Nicholas" - (which is how he refers to him) is described. He's not the nifty neat clean sanatized "Santa" - He is dressed (as I qouted above) ALL in fur, from head to foot, much as there are illustrations of Father Christmas who I have frequently seen portrayed in fur. Not just fur trim, fur clothing.AND he's covered with soot. Logical, of course, given that he spends all night climbing up and down chimneys. But how many Santa's do you see with scuffmarks on their boots, let alone soot stains?

on the other hand "a right jolly old elf" and "his eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry" makes him sound more like Shirley Temple!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: annamill
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:53 PM

Gee, this was not a problem for me at all, but, then, I had always told my children the truth when asked.

When they were little we pretended there was a Santa and many of their gifts were from Santa. This, incidently, annoyed me because I always thought that credit should be given where credit was due, and it wasn't Santa that had been out there shopping and wrapping those gifts, but he got all the credit. Well, we marked some from Mom and Dad.

Well, anyway, when my little ones came to me with the "question", I guess they were about 6 yrs. old at the time. (eight years apart, so this was done at two different times) I took them aside in a whisper and told them that he wasn't a real person, but we pretended he was real because it was so much fun for everyone to pretend to believe.

Now, this brought them into an exclusive club of the adults and they both maintained the facade for quite awhile and helped to perpetuate the fantasy for those who were younger then themselves.

They still get gifts marked 'From Santa".

For us, it was the perfect solution.

Love, annamill


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 01:05 PM

First, thanks for this thread, Alex. While there was a little nastiness along the way, I think most of the discussion has been positive and enlightening.

Like others who have posted, I think that when kids ask you a direct question, they deserve a direct answer. My youngest (of three) is still a "believer," but is fast approaching the time when he'll start to question the myth. He'll let me know when he's ready. Until he's ready, I won't tell him, but I also won't go to any elaborate measures to prop up the myth. When it's time, this pleasant little story will die. I don't think I'd be doing my child any favors by trying to keep the myth alive once its time has come.

With my two oldest, I tried to cushion the blow by bringing them in on the game, appealing to their better natures not to spoil things for their younger siblings and friends. They responded well; they recognized that they had crossed a threshold of sorts, and now had a responsibility to maintain the magic for the younger ones. A few conspiratorial winks were exchanged, and the magic went on, for all of us.

Now as far as God is concerned, I consider that to be dependent upon one's definition. When my kids ask me that one, I talk about the various definitions of God, and explain that each of us gets to make up his own mind about that. As long as the vocabulary is age-appropriate, the kids seem to understand this concept just fine -- they're always smarter than we expect them to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 11:49 AM

Yeah. It is fun to pretend to believe. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST,Fibula Mattock
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 12:47 PM

I like Christmas. I like the tradition of it all. And I was quite happily believing in Father Christmas until I was about 9 years old and my primary school teacher informed me that he didn't exist. I remember crying a bit about it to my mum but it confirmed my sneaking suspicions. Of course, I had to pretend for the sake of my wee sister, and so at the age of 24 I am going to go home safe in the knowledge that Father Christmas will leave a present out for me on Christmas morning, even though my 22 year old non-Santa-believing sister will be across the ocean in Boston. Somehow our family just kept doing all the Christmas traditions, although my daddy stopped writing the shakily-printed letters from Father Christmas, and chewing on Rudolph's carrots to make them look gnawed.
Cynical atheist I may be, but I'll still light the candle in the window to guide the Christchild home, I'll still listen to carols on Christmas Eve, I'll still waken my parents on Christmas morning for our present opening ceremony (not just tradition - I have no patience), and I'll still sit beside the fire and read "The Box of Delights" for about the 17th time. Bliss!


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 12:49 PM

What's The Box of Delights? I've never heard of that.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 12:51 PM

We always treated Santa Claus as a sort of game played between the adults and the children. When the children became old enough to suspect that it *was* a game, they went along with it for a while because it was fun (and also because they wanted to keep getting presents...). At a certain point they would be co-opted to play for the adult side ("Don't spoil it for your little brother."), which made them feel grown-up about it. Even the youngest has younger cousins (and possibly soon nieces or nephews), so it has been possible to bring him in on the adult side. I feel confident that my kids will keep the game going when they have children of their own.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 12:54 PM

I wrote that before I saw Whistle stop's post -- he said the same thing, only more articulately...


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 01:04 PM

Thanks, John; I thought you articulated it just fine. -- Whistle Stop (lurking)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 01:25 PM

Naemanson, I'm not sure what your comments about the differences in opinions about God are meant to show. They certainly don't come as news to me. But the question was asked how I deal with it when the kids ask if there's a God, vis-a-vis my opinions about what to tell them about Santa. I tell them Santa is not real because I don't belive Santa is real. I tell them God is real because I do believe God is real. I guess I fail to see what your comments bring to this distinction.

Sure there are people who don't believe in God, and when their children ask if there's a God, I figure they'll tell them No. That's their right as parents, and may it never be that the government takes away our right to teach our children our own beliefs (again -- it did happen in Alaska immediately after the purchase, when native children were torn away from their parents and brought up in boarding schools and force-fed Presbyterianism, which was NOT the faith of their fathers/mothers).

We talk a lot in our family about people of differing beliefs, and what different people think about God, and my wife and I try to present as well as we can what people in other religions/belief systems/etc. believe about God. We encourage the kids when they want to visit their friends' churches, and keep books in the house about different religions so they can read about them if they are interested. So it's not like we're teaching the kids there is no other way to believe, and no other "slant" on the God thing than our own.

I don't mean to drag this thread off into a different direction, to hijack my own thread so to speak, but then again I wasn't the one who brought up God. I am trying to respond to what others have said.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 02:22 PM

You're right MT, it looks like Rick got us started on God. But he used a lower case spelling. What are you trying to say, Rick? *bg*

And my comments were meant to show that there are different ways to approach God and religion with our kids. In our family we were taught that such things existed in other peoples' lives and were left to find our own way. Of my four siblings one is now a Catholic. The rest are still undeclared.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 03:05 PM

Fair enough. I was raised in an overtly non-religious home, and am now an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I was responding to what I perceived (maybe I'm just touchy, as Terry K so rudely suggests) as a disparagement of my handling of religion with my kids, and wanted to make it clear that we are not "brainwashing" them to think the whole world thinks the way we do.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 03:53 PM

Oh no, Alex, I would never try to second guess a parent in this kind of question. We can only raise our kids as we see fit and there is no one qualified to judge us on that score. And kids are pretty resilient. They can bounce back from anything we do "wrong".


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: annamill
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 06:31 PM

I'm not a believer, but I never forced that concept on my kids. I let them know how I felt, but made it clear that this was something they must decide for themselves. I never approched the idea of religion with contempt when it was being discussed and my children know I respect other's beliefs. As a result, I have one strong believer and one non-believer. (never mind which)

I do get upset, though, when religious people do not give their children the same option. MT, I appreciate your open-mindedness with your children. Thank you for letting them think for themselves and showing them the alternatives.

Love, annamill


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 06:44 PM

It's really just enlightened self-defense, Annamill. I knew a kid who was raised in a very religious home, went to Christian schools K-12, and then when he got to college and discovered that there were people in the world who didn't believe the way his family/church/school did, it totally freaked him out. Last I knew he was a rabid nihilist/existentialist atheist, and, alas, not very happy.

I think being more open about the whole thing makes the kids not only more open minded about others (whatever they ultimately decide to believe for themselves), but also less likely to reject their birth-religion (so to speak) for stupid reasons. (Stupid reasons might be, to shock the parents, boredom, etc. The only good reason to change religions, IMHO, is because you think the new one is TRUER than the one you're leaving. Of course this is open to disagreement too; others might have a different set of "good" and "bad" reasons for changing one's religion!)

I knew a man who was a Moslem, and moved to the USA, and his son (perhaps to shock dad, perhaps not) told him he had decided to become a Christian. The dad was (to my mind) a smart man. He said, "you may do so, but if you are going to become a Christian, you are going to become a REAL Christian, not somebody who pays his religion lip-service and only goes to church on Easter and Christmas."

So maybe, by being a little more open and honest about the existence of other religions and worldviews, we're opening the door for the kids to bolt as soon as they get the chance. I don't know. But it seems better than the "brainwashing" method, at least in the areas of honesty and respect.

Which is my bugaboo with Santa, of course, that honesty thing.

"What a shabby state we're in."
---Randy Stonehill (NOT from Florida!)

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: MiriamKilmer
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 09:23 PM

MMario wrote: "He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot" - - Can't think of any animals I know with red fur...

---

Foxes are red. Okay, not THAT red... One can dye fur, though.

---

Naemanson wrote:

> We can only raise our kids as we see fit and there is no one qualified to judge us on that score. And kids are pretty resilient. They can bounce back from anything we do "wrong".

---

I've been bouncing for a great many years because of the things my parents did wrong. I can't say that I have bounced back. However, what they did wrong had nothing to do with Santa Claus, so I'll save it for another discussion if any.

My family just had an email discussion on the subject of what to tell your kids about Santa Claus, and nearly came to blows. We made up, though. Merry Christmas.

I still believe.

By the way, if you're looking for a heart-warming Christmas story, the live-action "The Grinch" isn't it.


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST,Fibula Mattock
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 05:46 AM

Kim C - "The Box of Delights" is a fantastic (in both senses of the word) children's book by John Masefield set at Christmas time, about a young boy called Kay Harker who meets a mysterious Punch and Judy man. He finds himself drawn into a wonderful and magical mystery when the Punch and Judy man gives Kay the Box of Delights which can conjure up all mystical things and whisk people back in time. It's a lovely and Chritsmassy book incorporating all kinds of myth and legend. Well worth a read. It's up there with "The Children of Green Knowe" and "the Wind in the Willows" as books I really loved as a child because they remind me of Christmas (I was probably given them for Christmas, which would explain the association...).


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: Kim C
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 03:32 PM

splendid! I am going to go look for it. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: To Santa or not to Santa?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 05:13 PM

Christmas is a vast and complex celebration. It's possible to get a great deal out of it even without participating in the overtly Christian component or the overtly commercial component. There are lots of very powerful myths connected with Christmas, and, as myths, they have power even if you don't believe they're literally true. As an non-commercial agnostic, I still find lots to enjoy at Christmas just by suspending disbelief for a bit.


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