Is it messed up to let kids believe in Santa?

At the absurd hour of 3am last night, D and I were up discussing Santa Claus. How did we get there, you ask? The way most couple come into ridiculous arguments: we were talking about something completely different and then suddenly we were talking about whether or not we should raise our kids to believe in Santa.

This particular conversation started when D came into the bedroom around 3 last night, after falling asleep on the couch and waking up in a sweat.

“Why is it so hot in here? The heat isn’t on, right,” he asked, already taking off his shirt on his way to the bed.

(Side note: the heat in our building is notoriously weird. We often turn it off at night because, even if it’s set to 60 degrees, it will usually skyrocket to 75 somehow and leave us feeling like dried out starfish on a beach.)

“Of course it’s on. It was freezing in here!”

“You know that putting the heat up higher doesn’t make the apartment get warmer any faster, right?”

“Sure it does!”

“No. It doesn’t. You thinking that is like people believing in Santa Claus. It’s ridiculous.”

“It’s not the same as believing in Santa because this is actually real. And also, only kids believe in Santa.”

“Well our kids won’t.”

And this, dear reader, I like to fondly look back on as the point in the conversation where D thought he had just made a small statement and could now peacefully drift off to sleep in a cool, dark room.

He was mistaken.

I quickly jumped onto my high horse and went into a late-night monologue on why it’s important for our kids to believe in Santa.

It brings a sense of wonder and magic into their lives!

It lets them participate in all of those Christmas traditions in a way that only a kid who buys into the whole Santa thing can!

What if they don’t understand that Santa isn’t real and think that they are the only one of their friends that Santa doesn’t visit?


I’M not dealing with our mothers’ reaction if we were to tell them we told our kids there is no Santa!!

I made all of these very valid (to me) points, as Dave lay there shaking his head. At least, I imagine he was shaking his head. In reality, the room was very dark as we were both supposed to be sleeping.

What were his reasons for not wanting to raise our kids to believe in Santa? Well, they were simple and reasonable.

He hated the thought of starting off his relationship with this baby, and any of our future babies, with a lie. He felt like telling kids about a magical person who doesn’t exist, only to have them find out eventually that it is all a lie, is a serious breach of trust. How would they ever be able to trust us ever again??

Okay, I get it. No one likes lying to their kids. But the whole Santa Claus thing is different, right? It’s not a malicious thing and (as far as I know) has never crushed a child’s spirit when they found out. You just grow up and accept it as a childish belief.

But being that D is a very logical person, I figured there had to be more to his strong anti-Santa stance. So asked him how he found out there was no Santa.

Apparently, Little D had wandered down the stairs of his childhood home one mid-90’s Christmas Eve night and found a shocking scene.

The cookies he had left for Santa just hours before we’re being dunked and gobbled up by his dad, as his mom sat by the tree wrapping presents.

No Santa. No reindeer. And now, no trust that anything his parents said were true.

I then shared my own experience of finding the Christmas list I thought had been sent to Santa, in my moms purse. Being the people-pleasing kid that I was, I stuck the note back in her purse and pretended to believe in Santa still, as not to her her feelings (haha).

I wasn’t bothered by this breach of trust the way D was, but the more we talked the more it made sense. D is a hyper logical person and doesn’t care for lying, even if the truth is potentially hurtful. So I could see why the thought of lying to our kids, even for childhood magic reasons would bother him. And I told him so.

But also, I held my ground on Santa Claus.

Maybe our kids will be hyper logical like their dad and be hurt when they find out there’s no Santa. Or maybe they won’t. Maybe they will, like many people, like the tradition of believing in Santa and put on a show for their kids like we will do for them. We don’t know what kind of people they’ll be just yet.

For me, believing in Santa was a magical, fun part of my childhood and I want to give the baby and our future kids that experience as well. D is respecting that. And I’m respecting him by agreeing for him to respond “ask your mother because she knows about these things,” when asked anything Santa-related by the kids.

Finally, at almost 5 in the morning, we both fell back asleep. One of many future parenting decisions settled and a very tired morning ahead of us.

Found on Instagram: my parenting style (insert D cringing here lol)