“What are you doing about Santa?” is a question that comes up a lot in peaceful parenting groups. If you decide to “do” Santa / Father Christmas, it is still possible to do so in a gentle way!
For our family, Santa is a fun fictional character who Frida loves to talk about (like, loves. I have no idea where her Santa obsession came from but it is strong!) but he is definitely not presented as real.
Here are some questions to help you decide what’s right for your family:
- If you tell your child about Santa (this is often a case of when rather than if, if you live in a country which actively celebrates Christmas), will you present him as a real person, or as a fictional figure that it can be fun to pretend exists?
- If you don’t tell your children about Santa, how will you explain all of the cultural references to him?
- If you say he is real, will you do if your child asks you outright if that is true? Are you prepared to lie? (Parents are the first trusting relationship in a child’s life, so be aware of the impact that this seemingly minor “betrayal” could have if a child feels they’ve been lied to later on down the line)
- How do you feel your child will react to being told someone comes into their home in the middle of the night?
- How would your child feel if they realise “Santa” has brought their friend or sibling more or fewer presents?
If you decide to tell your children about Santa, you may wish to leave out the “he watches you to see if you have been naughty or nice” aspect of the story (peaceful parents choose not to use praise, punishments, rewards, or bribery). You may also wish to leave out the current trend for an “Elf on the Shelf” doll who watches the children as they go about their days and reports back to Santa on them – I can imagine this being terrifying for children.
What does your family say about Santa?