arty’s first christmas is fast approaching. we’ve started decorating the house, sj has made pudding, and there are already a few presents under the tree. but there will be no presents “from santa” for arty.

maybe you think this makes us mean and joyless parents. maybe you think we’re robbing our son of a magical part of his childhood, but hear me out. i think there are some very good arguments for not doing the santa thing.

1. he’s a bit creepy
this may be my flimsiest reason, but i’m opening with it because it is totally legitimate.
i find the whole concept of santa kind of unsettling. a bearded recluse who lives in isolation all year round, except for one night when he breaks into people’s houses, eats their food, and judges their children worthy or unworthy of reward based on his seemingly arbitrary judgement of their behaviour? that is WEIRD!
only invited guests are welcome in my house, and they’ll keep their judgements about my son’s conduct to themselves if they know what’s good for them.

2. he’s not real
we don’t have a lot of hard and fast rules about how we parent. we tend to go by feel, and amend our ideas based on how things work, or how circumstances change. that said, we do have a strong commitment to certain overarching principles, and one of those is (age appropriate) honesty.
as they mature, plenty of kids come to a perfectly happy understanding that santa is a fiction made up by their parents to help make christmas a little more magical, but i’m not happy to risk the possibility that arty will see this innocent deception as a more serious betrayal, and come to question his parents’ integrity on other levels when he discovers he’s been lied to about the jolly gift-giver.

3. i like giving presents
buying presents is fun! we put a lot of time and thought into selecting gifts for our family, and i’ll be damned if i’m going to let some other bugger get the credit for the gifts we picked out!

4. what about the other kids?
there is a deep injustice that comes along with the santa myth, and this is the real deal breaker for me.
when kids get together and compare their gifts after christmas, how do we explain why santa was kinder to the children of wealthier parents? was there something lacking in the children whose parents couldn’t afford to buy them the newest and best toys? should they have tried harder to be better? did santa just ignore them because they aren’t as important?
the santa myth reinforces the injustices of class and social inequality, and that doesn’t sit well with me at all.

if we have anything to do with it, arty will have many happy christmases.
he’ll eat pudding, he’ll play with tinsel, he’ll watch ‘the wind in the willows‘ with us in accordance with smith-deGraaf family tradition. and of course he’ll have presents to unwrap. but he’ll know they’re from the people who love him.