ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Believing in Santa: The Pros and Cons

Updated on November 7, 2012
Source

My Experience

I decided to write this article based on something that happened to me three years ago. My eight-year-old nephew came into the room and started talking about Santa. I gave a derisive laugh and said, "Oh that's so cute that you still believe in Santa!" Later that evening I received a very annoyed phone call from my nephew's mother. I apologized and told her we never really did the whole Santa thing growing up but after I hung up I thought about how ridiculous it was for such a small thing to make someone so upset. After sharing the story with numerous friends, family and coworkers what I was amazed to realize is that nearly everyone but myself and my siblings believed in Santa at one point or another in their childhoods. As it turns out Santa is a much bigger thing than I knew!

The Worldwide Legend

For centuries all over the world people have believed in Santa Clause: A fat jolly man who dresses all in red, drives a sleigh driven by flying reindeer, and delivers gifts to children all over the world in a single night, based on whether they've been naughty or nice. He accomplishes all of this through magic and some sort of omniscient power that allows him to monitor the entire world twenty-four hours a day. A child's standing with Saint Nick is also stretched furthered by leaving milk and cookies or other treats for him to eat.

Pros to Believing In Santa:

  • Believing in Santa encourages imagination and promotes a sense of magic and wonder
  • The character of Santa Clause is recognized by children all over the world, giving the legend a sort of unifying property
  • Activities such as baking cookies for Santa and hanging stockings can also have a unifying effect on families
  • The belief that someone is always monitoring what they do can have a positive impact on a child's behavior

Source

Cons to Believing in Santa:

  • Children are sometimes very upset when they learn the truth about Santa, and sometimes this can negatively impact their sense of trust
  • The image of Santa, while charming, can mislead children into believing that they can trust anyone wearing a Santa suit, which can be dangerous in extreme cases
  • Well-behaved children from lower income families may feel hurt and confused when their more wealthy, not-so-well-behaved counterparts receive more gifts than they do

Conclusion:

Like all other information in a child's life, how they react to it is all in how it is presented to them. I know several people who tell their children Santa has access to all of the world's security cameras and that's how he judges who is naughty and nice. This provides a nice introduction into the actual purpose of security cameras and the very real fact that someone is watching and you will be punished for certain wrong-doings captured by their relentless stare. I also know people who spend more than they can afford on gifts, feeling obligated to buy whatever their children ask Santa for. I also know people who have remedied this situation by putting just one or two "From: Santa" gifts under their tree. The psychological trauma in finding out Santa is not real is actually minimal, most children figure out he is not real on their own, but caution should be taken with more sensitive children or children who are immature for their age. Just make sure it's all in good fun and don't oversell it!

Tell us your experience:

Did you believe in Santa growing up?

See results

Do your children believe in Santa?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      DCollins3, I'm 68 years old and I still believe in Santa Claus, but, of course not the jolly old man in the red suit. As a child, though, I did fervently believe, and I think 'believing" as a child, in whatever one might believe in, is important. I also don't recall a major disappointment when I found out the truth. And, as I said, I still believe.

      On a somewhat different note, please, if you haven't read the short poem (or story, whichever, but it's short) "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." I'm not sure that's the correct title, but if you google "Yes, Virginia" I'm sure the internet will take you to that poem. Anyway, please read it, for some real perspective on the "idea" of Santa Claus. I'm sure you have young children in your life, and you can help guide them in their own quest for what they believe in or not believe in. There also is a movie of the same title. I have it and have watched several times.

      Thank you for the follow and my best to you in your goals and ventures.

      James W. Nelson

    • Electro-Denizen profile image

      Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Well, I was brought up with it and it's an exciting element to Christmas - even if it's a confused hotch-potch of ideas, from St Nicolas (big in France) to other things...

      But what really annoys me about it is the way he looks: in red robes etc. That's from a very successful Coca-Cola advert from the 1950s. So really, these days everyone is getting excited over something entirely created by Coca-Cola and has nothing to do with St Nicolas etc. Coca-Cola!! Advertising. We are consumerist robots indeed...

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      My mom always told us the story behind Santa but we weren't taught to believe in him. I never felt like we missed out on anything though! Great hub.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

      Well I must say that if anyone told my 8 year old Santa was not real heads would roll....but I complelty understand your stance since your family never practiced the tradtion of Santa Claus.

      That said if I am able to keep my children beleiving in Santa Claus until they are 35 I would love to. Truth be told your nephew's mother is lucky her son still believed in Santa until the age of 8. Chances are someone at his school would have burst his "Santa" bubble that year anyway.....

      I see the pros and cons but still want my kids beleiving in Santa as loooonnnng as possible (even if I have to pay someone to dress up as the jolly fat man year after year).

      Thanks for sharing the pros and cons, there are lots of families out there who believe that parents "lie" to their children by insisiting there is a Santa Claus.....just call me a liar ;)

      ~Becky

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

      Hi,

      Christmas was more fun when I believed in Santa---because I left him a note, milk and cookies---I helped my mother make. And I tried to stay awake to wait for him---but Mr. Sandman always came first.

      I was in the third grade when I found out about Santa. It is how each one is taught at home, so there is nothing to feel bad about if you did not share the same upbringing as believers in Santa.

      Have a great Thanksgiving Day.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 4 years ago from West Virginia

      I have been debating this since I had my son a few years ago. How do you convince a three year old that a fat stranger in a custome is going to break in to your house and leave stuff under their bed? Far fetched. My son watches the specials and I ask him about Santa and he tells me, he isn't real mom, he is just on the picture.

    • christin53 profile image

      Ann-Christin 4 years ago from UK

      I can see how upsetting it would be for some children when they don't get the present they were expecting from Santa,I always told my children when they were young that Santa only did small presents as he had so many children to deliver too he couldn't possibly give them all an expensive present. I think children should know Santa doesn't exist by the time they start school.

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Merriment 4 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      I used to tell my daughter that we worked very closely with Santa and would decide what to do for her together. We would also only have one gift from Santa for her and though we made it a good gift, we would make sure it wasn't the most magnificent gift. I believed it was good to instill that kind of magic about Santa, but I didn't want her to be too dependent on the idea. As a child, when I learned Santa wasn't real, I was very devastated. My daughter said that the way we handled it provided magic to her, yet left her mind more open to figuring out where the lines of magic and fact met. When she caught on, she didn't feel betrayed or mislead at all. In fact, she felt pretty smart for putting the clues together on her own. The Santa idea, like so many other myths and fantasies is indeed tricky to find boundaries with.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      As someone mentioned, the image of Santa for generations dates back to a Coca-Cola ad. Prior to that the popular image was shaped by the 1822 poem by Clement Moore in which Santa is described as "chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf" and is named St. Nick and St. Nicholas. The legend has taken different forms in different countries and has varied through the centuries. The original St. Nicholas was a 4th century Catholic bishop in what was then part of Greece and is now part of Turkey. He had a reputation for miracles and for secret gift giving. The truth behind the tale is that the spirit of the joy of giving is unbounded by space and time.

      Another Christmas myth that traces back to an ad is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, whose story was first told in a Kellogg cereals promotion.

      Up and Interesting.

    • Audrey Baker profile image

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      I don't have any children yet but I have already given this issue plenty of thought. I will not tell them there is a Santa. My mom did tell my siblings and me that there was one. I found out at five years of age, and yet I still appreciated Christmas for the rest of my childhood.

      It is nice to see other comments about this and that others who weren't told Santa is real enjoyed Christmas as well. I have a friend who went to extremes, such as a phone call from "Santa" a few days before Christmas, to keep her 13 year old daughter believing in Santa. I thought that was rather odd, but to each his own.

    Click to Rate This Article