I've had a year of solidifying my thinking on this. When I first admitted that we weren't doing Santa, I hadn't fully formed my reasons why and found it difficult to explain. This meant that there was a bit of miscommunication with friends and family that I told of our decision. This post is mostly about clarifying my thinking. It's not a criticism of parents choosing to do Santa. Just our reasons.
So here are our reasons for not doing Santa:
- I don't feel comfortable lying to my child
We make an effort to be truthful with Baobao, in an age appropriate manner. It feels respectful towards her for us to be truthful. Deliberately lying to her about where her presents come from, seems absolutely alien to me. I then see people having to make the lie bigger and bigger to keep children believing. I don't understand working that hard to deceive someone you love.
- It feels fundamentally unfair
Some parents only give one present from Santa, some give stockings from Santa, some give all of the presents from Santa - if that's not enough disparity - some children get a £300 tablet, some get gifts from the Pound Shop. How do you explain that to a child? Does Santa like rich children more?
- We prefer to find magic in the world
Our world is so full of magic. As I'm writing this, the leaves are falling from the tree outside my window. This morning, Baobao stood under a huge tree, trying to catch those falling leaves. There is so much at that age that children are still learning about. There is so much in the world that we don't know. The world is so full of magic and wonder. Do we really have to pretend that someone flies on a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer to inspire that magic? I don't think so.
- It's not in keeping with our thoughts on behaviour management
"You better not shout. You better not cry. You better not pout......... He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice"
We follow gentle parenting. We believe in letting Baobao express her emotions (within safe boundaries) and that children aren't naughty. So, someone judging her on this criteria and deciding whether she deserves presents is something we do not agree with. I've seen a few people saying that they don't do that part. It is such a part of the season that it's difficult to avoid. Songs involving Santa tend to allude to it and there's a whole industry dedicated to items related to the naughty list. Just the other week a random stranger told Baobao that Santa would check if she is wearing her jumper! I see so many people controlling their children's behaviour with calls to Santa and threats that he won't come. What happens on December 26th?
- Some parts are just creepy
Getting a child to sit on a stranger's knee, especially when they don't want to, is creepy and totally goes against everything I believe about bodily autonomy. Someone entering your house at night, while everyone sleeps - even if it is to deliver presents - isn't something many children are comfortable with. Plus the watching all the time. Just don't get me started on Santa Cams and Elf on the Shelf.
So this year we're not doing Santa and I'm pretty sure we're going to be happy with our decision.