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Is Santa Real? What To Tell The Kids

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Is Santa Real? What To Tell The Kids

Someone in the Owning Pink community recently asked:

“How do you view Santa? Am I the only one who feels odd telling my daughter who never believed in Santa to keep the truth to herself? I feel so torn on this subject. I need some great Pink advice.”

I was inspired to write about this and invite the rest of you to join in on this conversation.

Call me Scrooge, but I’ve never been much of a Santa fan.

Don’t get me wrong. I love creatures unseen and unproven. Bring on the tree nymphs, angels, dragons, leprechauns, witches and wizards, trolls, unicorns, and the Loch Ness Monster. My four year-old daughter is currently mired in a world of fairies. She writes notes for fairies, and they write back to her on scrolls on parchment. She leaves them gifts and they return the favor. They visit her in her dreams, sleep in bed with her, and she even dressed up as one for Halloween. So I’m all about supporting my child’s imagination.

But Santa has just gotten so commercial. The lovely St. Nicholas story that inspired the Santa Claus mythology has become bastardized into a $15 photo in a shopping mall and holiday decorations that now deck the halls long before Halloween. Plus, Santa just seems like a distraction from what Christmas is all about. Wasn’t Christmas the day the baby Jesus was born? In our politically correct world, are we so uncomfortable with this religious holiday that we’ve had to create some benign, essentially meaningless “naughty or nice” alter ego conscience just to lord over our children in December so they don’t get coal in their stockings? I mean seriously…

Somehow, Santa just doesn’t seem so magical to me anymore. But certainly, he’s harmless. So yes, I shell out the $15 for that Santa Claus photo op and listen intently while my four year-old daughter Siena tells Santa what she wants for Christmas. (Incidentally, she wants “A princess whose head comes off and when it does, she dances beautifully.” Uh.. where can I get one of those, please? Santa?)

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
3:48PM PST on Dec 10, 2012

Dear Lissa: It may interest you and your readers to know that my legal name is Santa Claus. I serve as a volunteer advocate for the 2 million children in the U.S. annually who are abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless, and institutionalized in our great nation. I'm also a Monk and believe that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, not the crass, commercial, secular spectacle it has become in many places, and that the greatest gift one can give is love, not presents. Blessings to all, Santa (TheSanta(im))

1:12PM PST on Jan 17, 2011

Believe in your dreams be it Santa,Easter Bunny or whatever,we all need something, They are harmless, never did us any harm,In our house we STILL have pressies from Santa and we are adults, have fun in giving to others like Santa.

4:59PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

Information is power. Don't lie to kids.

9:10AM PST on Dec 22, 2010

Thank you, Lissa, for wrestling with these difficult issues. To us, mom and two teenage girls, Santa transformed over the years. He was an actual jolly dude in a red suit at first. Then questions started (like how come there are so many different Santas at all the malls?) and the Santa story evolved. He was magical, that is how he was able to deliver so many presents to so many children around the world and he did not need a chimney. They the family, everyone who loved the girls was a Santa representative and very honoured to be. Now Santa is the spirit of giving, love and selflessness. Those are very much tied to Baby Jesus and the miracle of a tiny, helpless hope that changes the world. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to those who celebrate differently. Bless.

1:41PM PST on Dec 19, 2010

the problem doesn't seem to be your daughter or her imagination as much as it seems to be you and your have no problem passing along beliefs in anything else...why this one?? because it's so commercial? possibly...but perhaps before you toss the baby out with the bathwater you might consider telling your daughter the ancient story of saint nick and how he only wanted to offer help and bring happiness to those with so's a story of giving, of charity, of openness, of can even tie it into the story of the nativity...but that too has become so commercial, so maybe not....

9:59AM PST on Dec 19, 2010

c'est magique Noel , je garde mon âme d'enfant ;)

4:59PM PST on Dec 18, 2010

Fantasy fun is great :-) Eventual truth at the right time is good. Each person knows when the right timing is. thanx

3:58PM PST on Dec 18, 2010

You know this does tramatize kids maybe many do ok. But as a school teacher I had a boy who cried to me that he found out that Santa and the Easter Bunny weren't real even tho his parents had told him they were and now he was afraid that God may not be real either. Very sad to do this to kids!

6:03AM PST on Dec 18, 2010

Everyone finds out eventually and doesn't get traumatised so I wouldn't worry about it... and I think everyone still gets to keep the wonderfull memories of how excited and happy they felt when they did believe in Santa

12:16AM PST on Dec 18, 2010

thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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