Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Father Christmas Debate

I grew up believing in Father Christmas. I'm not quite sure at what age I realised he wasn't real but I was definitely a believer when I was younger. Father Christmas was never the one that actually bought our presents, that was Mum and Dad, but Father Christmas came at night when we were asleep and filled our stockings. I always remember Christmas Eve - before we went to bed we would do the thing that all believers would do and write our letters to Father Christmas then leave him a mince pie and a glass of milk along with some smarties for Rudolf. Yeah, we didn't believe in helping reindeers to be healthy in our house, no carrots, it was all about the smarties! Laura would sleep in my room on Christmas Eve and we would wake early in the morning to look through our stockings and see what Father Christmas had left us.

Seth's childhood was very different. He didn't believe in Father Christmas. I think one of the reasons was that his family didn't want to detract from the real meaning of Christmas (I can kind of understand that) and they wanted to keep it Christ-centred. Ours was also very much Christ-centred, we just believed in Father Christmas.

So now, we have Caleb. Before he was born, Seth and I both knew we had different opinions on whether we would want our children to believe in Father Christmas, but now we're getting to the point where we need to make a decision. I think we might be safe for another year, as Caleb will only be 17 months old in December so he's probably too young to remember much either way, but I really want Caleb to believe in Father Christmas! It was such a fun part of childhood for me, writing the letters to him and trying to stay awake to see him, but Seth doesn't want him to believe in Father Christmas. Seth is really straight down the line when it comes to lying and he says that encouraging Caleb to believe in Father Christmas is basically lying to him. And then there's the issue of how the children will then react when they realise that he's not real. I don't remember when I figured it out (Laura probably told me!) but I don't ever feel like I was lied to and I never thought it was a particularly big deal. However, I have a couple of friends who, when they were younger believed in Father Christmas and it got to the stage where their parents had to tell them that he wasn't real.They were getting to a stage where they were a bit too old to be going to school and talking to their friends about Father Christmas when a lot of their friends knew he wasn't real. One of my friends burst into tears and wouldn't talk to her parents because they had been lying to her about him and the other person was just completely shocked by it.

So therein lies the debate. We've not come to a decision either way. The thing is, I agree with a lot of Seth's argument on why he wouldn't want Caleb to believe in Father Christmas but I still want him to! To misquote Shakespeare, to believe or not to believe? That is the question! If anyone has an opinion on this, please feel free to share!


  1. Believe, Believe, Believe. Now you know Steve and Seth think alike on a lot of things, and Steve is as honest as they come, but we kind of see Father Christmas as a separate thing. Santa is a personification of the Christmas season and is rooted in history and the tradition of St Nicholas. I have heard much admired men like Thomas S, Spencer W and the like talk about their expectations of Christmas as a child, and what would Santa be bringing, etc, and it never did them any harm. What's good enough for them... that's what I say! Also, I know a young family who have brought their children up not to believe in Santa, and the mum thinks it has definitely spoiled the magic for them, especially as they have to make sure their children don't spoil it for others.
    Anyway, what do you mean, to believe or not to believe!!! SANTA IS REAL!!! (Don't spoil it for me!!!)

  2. Simon never believed in Father Christmas because his parents straight out told him that he wasn't real, but he says that he wants our children to have that excitement. Plus, when our children are really young I don't want them telling other kids that Santa isn't real and ruining it for them! I understand that parents don't want to lie to their kids but I'm pretty sure I will tell my kids things like, "Broccoli makes you taller" which is also a lie! It's a tricky one!

  3. Ah Kirsty. We always had a Christ-centred Christmas. Remember The Christmas story first thing in the morning and listening to the carols. Santa does not detract from the true meaning of Christmas. Even talks by Thomas S Monson and Gordon B Hinckley etc etc have spoken of the magic of waiting for Santa. I don't think that they were confused by the difference between Jesus Christ and Santa. It is every child's right to h.ave that excitement . It doesn't last very long . NOBODY that I know of who believed in Santa ever compared him with Jesus Christ. I like Laura's comment, I was always told to "stand and grow big " when we had visitors and not enough chairs !! I can say that from my magnificent height of 5 feet.!! Was that a lie ???? Oh dear !!!!!!

  4. Oooooh this is HARD! I'd never thought of any alternative except to believe in Santa or Father Christmas! I always loved the excitement of what Santa would bring (and I hear it's great bribery to get children to be a little nicer. "Remeber, Santa's watching! Do you want to sit on Santa's lap today?!" ha ha.
    I never remember being mad when I found out (pretty sure my older brother told me) that Santa wasn't real. But it's so fun to watch kids put their imaginations to use!
    And I agree, you can still make Christmas VERY Christ centered even if you add characters to the holiday!
    Good luck making your decision!

  5. What a beautiful son you have! I just love that picture of him with the big eyes--too cute! :)

    1. Thanks Allyssa! The picture was from Christmas last year - at the time of writing this post we hadn't put our Christmas decorations up and I wanted a picture of him with the tree.