When my kids were little I decided that I didn't feel comfortable with them believing totally in Santa Claus and having him be the central focus for the gifts they receive or the "magic" of the season. My Aunt started this with her children and she really encouraged me to do the same. It didn't take much for me to decide that this idea appealed to me. You see, I can remember the day I finally accepted that Santa wasn't real. I was sitting on the school bus getting ready to go away on a school overnight field trip. I was in either 4Th or 5th grade. I know, late bloomer. Anyway, I overheard these two kids talking about Santa Claus and how he was not real and everybody knows that except one of their younger siblings or something. And it sunk in, "Santa is not real..." and I can kind of remember thinking something along the lines of, "why did all the grownups I know trick me into believing this for so long?". Every time I would start to question his existence they had another story to back it up. I can remember my grandmother telling me that Santa and Jesus were best friends when I asked her how Santa knew everything about everybody when only God was supposed to be able to do that. That's just one example, my mom always had something whenever I would throw questions her way too. Why not just tell me the truth when I was obviously starting to catch on?
So, all this led me to decide that my kids should know the "real" Santa Claus and I started doing research. All the things that I learned were so much more interesting than the Santa I grew up on. ( Wikipedia has loads of info. ) This guy did some great things and helped some people. As far as I know, my boys have never ruined it for other kids. I actually had another mom tell me one time that they would because they would be jealous that they didn't get to believe. That never happened. I told them that other kids do believe in Santa as being a real person who lives today and comes to their house to bring their gifts and that they would be really disappointed if they were told by someone that he wasn't. I'm surprised when I look back now at how they really seemed to understand this at a young age. They would tell adults though. All the time they were being asked, "Are you ready for Santa?" and they would always answer that Santa was not real. It flustered alot of people. Should I be ashamed of the fact that this made me laugh every time? Last Christmas we ran into this lady who seemed to really believe she was one of Santa's elves and she just was not having it that my youngest son knew that Santa was not real. So, we finally just pretended along with her and left it at that. Poor woman, she may have been traumatized.
I don't have anything against folks who do the whole Santa thing. I used to almost. I kind of had this picture of myself as being "better than" because I told my kids the "truth". I don't buy into that anymore, maybe I've become more open minded but I just do it my way and you do it your way. I do think though that when a child begins to question it's time to tell them the truth about Santa. There's a lot more magic to Christmas than the Santa aspect. I like to focus on the St. Nicholas version of what is today's Santa Claus. In fact, I love those Jim Shore Santas, the ones that remind me of the more "traditional" Santa. If you run into Rickydoodle out and about tell him I want this one this year.