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About the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus

about the tooth fairy

photo source: Rise of the Guardians

While I think that I had a pretty good childhood, for one reason or another, I’ve chosen to do some things differently than my parents did. Oh, some things are the same: Sauerkraut and Pork, Ice Cubes and Christmas Trees, and Nanna’s Apple Pie.

Daughter of not one, but TWO public school teachers, I kinda jumped ship when I decided to teach my kids at home. And then there’s that whole thing about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus.

We don’t do those here.

Please, please, PLEASE do not take offense. I don’t think it’s bad if you do. We just chose something different.

Worrying about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus.

I did, however, stress about this major big time for the first seven years of parenting. STRESS. MAJOR. BIG. TIME.

I felt pressure from many different sides as I went back and forth in my thinking about the issue of Santa and his other mythological buddies. And a couple years ago, I even asked my eldest if he felt cheated that he’d never had an Easter basket. He just laughed.

Apparently not.

I bring this up NOT to convince anyone to my point of view or to justify my own position. I bring this up for several reasons:

  1. I know other young moms are like me 10 or 15 years ago, wondering what to do. (I’m guessing some folks have never thought to do otherwise than what they’ve always done.)
  2. I think we’re all big girls here and can share our reasons without getting in a cat fight. (Please don’t prove me wrong on that.)
  3. Folks still deciding can benefit from hearing a variety of perspectives in a non-confrontational way

Every December and March, I think about talking about this, but I know those months are too heated to have a discussion about it. But, July? Yeah, we can talk and share what we do, encourage someone else, and (hopefully) not feel judged that someone else does something different. Right?

So, I’ll tell my story and you can tell yours in the comments. ;)

Why we do what we do:

In a nutshell, here’s our basic reasons.

Stockings

Santa: As a young Christian in my teens, I saw in my own thinking a confusion between God and Santa. God would only give me something I wanted if I was good enough. I know that’s not true, but I struggled for years with those assumptions. For me, it was better not to “play Santa” and to avoid any confusion between the myth and the Maker.

We do stockings and presents, but our kids know the presents are from us, purchased with funds that God gave us.

Easter eggs

The Easter Bunny: I consider Easter to be the most important Christian holiday, representing Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in payment of my sins. Yes, I know it falls on the pagan holiday honoring a fertility goddess, symbolized by a rabbit. I get that.

But again, to avoid confusion as to what we were celebrating, we opted out of da Bunny. We do eggs as a talking point about new life, but we don’t do Easter baskets.

fishchick lost tooth

The Tooth Fairy: I honestly have no idea why we never instituted the Tooth Fairy tradition. We jest about her. She’s a big spender at our house. 

What do YOU do at your house?

We would love to hear your story. I really want this post to be an encouragement to new parents. So, please temper any disagreements you might want to share with a heavy dose of encouragement and consideration. Any bashing or insulting comments are subject to deletion. Thanks for understanding.
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Comments

  1. Thank you for bringing this up for discussion! It is something I’ve struggled with. Our girls are 3 and 7 months. We spend Christmas with my in-laws every year and they are HUGE into Santa. Santa was big in their house when my husband was growing up, and is very much a part of his celebration of the Christmas season. My husband’s parents became Christians when he was in elementary school so I guess it was never something they worried about.

    It’s honestly something I’d rather not do, for some of the same reasons you mentioned. But my husband does not feel it’s harmful to talk about Santa briefly once a year while we emphasize Jesus all year round. We try to stay away from the “be good, Santa’s watching” stuff. It’s something we had made our peace with, and now some other family members have recently broken the truth to their children (much to my in-laws’ disappointment), who are close to ours in age…not sure how that will play out this Christmas.

    • My husband’s family is huge on Santa, but we’ve never done it in our home. Since we’re not able to travel to be with his family at the holidays, it’s not been tremendously stressful. When the children were small. we just let them know which gifts were from Grandma; as they got bigger, they could see the same handwriting, and knew to thank Grandma for the “Santa” presents, too.

      I really do think it’s fine to say, “I appreciate that you want to do delightful things for the kids; we don’t need a myth to make that happen. We love you.”

  2. Our reasons and approaches are very much like yours, although I will say that the Santa decision for us was less about how our kids view God and more about the heartbreak I felt when I found out the truth accidentally at an older friend’s house. I’d been hearing the rumors from other kids already, but her *mom*, not realizing anyone still believed, made a joke about it, and I couldn’t say anything or ask my mom until I got home later that day. It was a very hard experience.

    We still “do” Santa as a character, the same way we do Mickey Mouse or Dora, and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas is an annual tradition here on Christmas Eve, but we don’t set out cookies or sign any of the gifts as from Santa or anything like that.

    I love that you’re talking about this in July! LOL!

  3. We do celebrate them in our home but I have always struggled with it because it is lying to my kids. Once they figure it out or you tell them how do you explain why you have been lying this whole time. That’s how I felt when I found out as a kid. Also, sometimes the trauma of finding out is a lot for kids. Wonder if it would be better to never start those traditions in the first place.

  4. We do all of them.
    Santa leaves a small gift for each of our 3 kids that is wrapped in different paper, but the larger more expensive gifts come from us.
    The Easter Bunny only hides their baskets and they receive a chocolate bunny, jelly beans and another small candy. After visiting both grandparents houses my kids end up with a TON of candy and trinkets from egg hunts. I do appreciate that we get a family basket at my in laws and they usually stuff most of the eggs with loose change.
    The Toothfairy at our house does not sneak into my kids rooms at night. Their lost teeth are placed in a tooth pillow I made that hangs on their doorknob. In the morning, the tooth is replaced by a dollar. I only have one child right now that is losing teeth. This one I think is the hardest for him to believe. He turns 8 next week and will be entering 3rd grade. He appears to be hanging on by a thread.

  5. Kristen says:

    We haven’t pursued those ideas with our children, either, though they were a part of my childhood. Like you, I wanted to focus more on the profoundness of the holidays. And completely forgetting about the tooth fairy, we just tape our lost teeth to the calendar to visualize again after the years have gone by. My kids don’t think that they’re missing anything important.

  6. We do all three but at a low key level. We make sure to talk about God, Christ, and The Bible as the only important thing at those holidays but we enjoy the fun of the fictional characters. We worry more about our children’s views about gifts than who they were from. We know people who go way overboard in comparison to our gift giving. We also give more then some people do, so we work hard to work on being gracious and appreciative of what you get and not being greedy or having an intitled mentality. To each his own, we talk about how others do different things but that we do our thing and don’t try to compete with others. God is not looking for who pulled off the best gifts.

  7. Well, I was the 3 year old at some Christmas theme park somewhere in the northeast (which probably closed down years ago) telling the year-round Santa that he didn’t exist. Young as I was, I still remember his look of surprise and his next question: “Are you Jewish?” He was.

    My parents didn’t raise us to believe in Santa Claus – for the very reasons you mentioned, Jessica. However, that didn’t stop us from enjoying the Christmas classics every year on TV: Rudolph, Frosty, The Grinch, The Year Without Santa Claus, etc. We enjoyed them for what they were – fairytales, just like Cinderella. Gifts came from Dad and Mom.

    Ditto with the Easter bunny. We dyed eyes, did egg hunts, and purchased candy because – hey, did we need a reason? But the only Easter basket I ever received was from an elderly neighbor. Easter was about the Cross.

    Tooth Fairy – mmm… did that for a few years, until I figured out it, like everything else, was a fairytale and my brother paid out better than my parents when he played the tooth fairy. 10 cents from Mom, a whole dollar from my brother (16 years my senior). I was no dummy… ;)

  8. We are right there with you. We do not have a problem with the Christmas classics either, but our children knew they were make-believe. Our focus for both Christmas and Easter is on Christ. Now the tooth fairy….well, we gave small monetary rewards for the first few teeth, but the kids knew it was us. One even left us a reminder note after we forgot the night she lost the tooth. =)

  9. We don’t do Santa ( I didn’t either as a child, my mom always said that why should someone else get the credit for her gift, lol), we don’t do the Easter bunny although we do give the kids some candy and a small gift on Easter. Nobody’s lost any teeth yet, but our oldest is 5 so soon! I really don’t know what we’re going to do with that, but we’ll probably end up perpetuating the tooth fairy lie just because my parents did. When I was around 8, I remember telling my mom that I knew there wasn’t a tooth fairy and that it was her that was leaving the money. She said that if I didn’t believe in the tooth fairy, I wasn’t getting anything else. Kinda weird since she was so opposed to santa, the easter bunny, etc.

  10. Tracy Morrell says:

    We are in the process of converting to Judaism, so we gave up the Christian holidays a few years ago. We never taught the children about santa, Easter bunny and stuff like that, but I have to confess it was hard giving up Christmas and all the the traditions that went with it. We are trying to make new traditions around the Jewish feasts and holidays, but it has proven very challenging. The public schools also make it difficult because they make the holidays all about these characters. I was at the dentist yesterday with my 6 year old and the dentist went on and on about his loose teeth and how the tooth fairy was going to be so happy because his teeth were so good, and he would have lots of visits from her soon. I did not say anything because I did not want to embarrass the dentist, but I know that it was confusing for my son.

    • Hi Tracy:

      Mazel Tov and welcome! Please don’t get discouraged about all the changes – there are TONS of traditions, games and festivities – and great foods :) It will take some time to develop new traditions – but they will come if you put out an effort.
      Do some Internet searches on the holiday plus the word crafts or games – that should bring up a lot.

      As for the schools and such – they are supposed to be exposing the kids to many traditions; if yours are not, you can talk to the teachers or guidance counselor. You may not feel comfortable yet to make presentations to the class – but unless you live in a one horse town, ask around and you will find someone to talk about Hannukah, etc. I have to admit – we did do the
      Tooth Fairy – it’s certainly not a Christian or Jewish tradition :)

  11. We worried about the lying to our kids. If they find out we are lying about Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Ect. How will they feel about God? They can’t “see” him so how do they know we are telling the Truth about him? And will it hurt the trust our kids feel with us? That is why we decided what we would do before we ever had children. We wanted to be on the same page from day one. My husband grew up in a very religious home, no Christmas, easter, ect. They didn’t even have birthday parties! I grew up with it all, but I didn’t want my kids as spoiled or delusional as I was. So in the middle is where we lay. Birthdays are big, but not huge. And we do Christmas but since our kids are the youngest in my family and this only ones in my Husband’s, no one minds not “doing santa”. Well my Sister minds but she can get over it ;) We also celebrate Easter as Jesus’s resurrection not as a bunny with a basket. And we never did the tooth fairy. I’ve always said “Bring me a tooth I’ll give you a dollar”.

  12. Araceli Day says:

    THANK YOU!!! We are also one of those *crazy families* that doesn’t do any of those things ! BTW we don’t do Halloween either LOL. Yes, we are extreme!

  13. My husband and I feel that by doing Santa and the others we are lying to our children. Will they then question whether God is real? We’ve opted out of all of them and my kids haven’t missed anything. They know the true reason for the holidays and that is what’s important – God.

  14. I am so glad to hear from someone else everything we do and believe. We homeschool, too. We catch all kinds of flack for not doing Santa from my family, but for us, we want our kids to know that Jesus is real and we will never tell them anything that is not true. We felt convicted of this so we went with our convictions. We both grew up with Santa and are no worse for the wear, but still felt it the right thing to do not to present him as real. We talk about him and who Saint Nicholas was. We even go as far as to say that that is a game some people play and we just choose not to play it, so don’t ruin it for other kids and we make it our little “secret”. We do stockings as well and gifts too, but like you, they know that they are from mom and dad. We try to focus on the giving part rather than the getting part.
    As far as the Easter bunny goes, it is absolutely a non issue in this house and we think the bunny is just silly. If you ask my kids about the Easter bunny they would probably look at you and say “who??” LOL! Oh, we dye eggs and have the resurrection eggs that tell the Easter story and even hunt for eggs, but getting an Easter basket… just don’t care. I don’t judge others for doing those things, but in the last year or so I have let go of the “guilt” of not participating in the things in which we have felt convicted.

    Thanks for your post! Reassuring to hear someone else does the same thing :)

  15. HeatherS says:

    My husbands family was pretty into Santa. Mine mentioned it sometimes, I think, but I don’t ever remember believing so I must have given it up pretty young. But we do have lots of pics of me crying on Santas lap. We have done all three but in a low key way and in such a way that the kids early on figured out that they were just fun characters much like tv characters or super heros. I would say that Santa was probably held on to the longest of any of them by the kids but even then they figured that out pretty young also. We watch the movies and specials for fun but I have also now included reading about St. Nicholas so that they have that background info. We love learning about Christmas traditions from other times/ cultures but focus both Christmas and Easter around Jesus. Perhaps because we did it pretty low key to begin with, no one seemed upset or scarred by learning these figures did not exist. My son said he was slightly disappointed when he figured out Santa b/c he knew that we had a much smaller budget than Santa! LOL We have made sure to emphasize that our kids do not tell other children so that they don’t ruin other families’ fun.

    The “tooth fairy” in our house is well known to fall asleep early and forget to do her “job”. My oldest lost his last baby tooth earlier this week and jokingly said “So you think the tooth fairy will remember to get my last tooth tonight or should I just bring it down with me in the morning?” I just laughed and said the tooth fairy is old and tired and she just might forget! This time the tooth fairy sent Mr. Tooth Fairy in and he left the money but forgot the tooth!

  16. Thank you for sharing on this! Our family is pretty much in the same camp as you are on Easter and Christmas and it was never a big deal until we moved into a subdivision with a neighbor that was an over-the-top Santa and Easter bunny/basket/egg hunt enthusiast. The “i have a picture of him on my roof” kind of enthusiast that frankly confused my then 7 year old who thought I had been holding out on her all these years by not tell her Santa is real. I struggle through December and in the spring when we are around these neighbors because of this which I hate. We incorporate Santa stories at Christmas and have favorite movie that include him, but he is just a loveable tradition, much like when we read about St. Patrick (a real man!) in March and then have the fun traditions of green and Lucky Charms cereal, etc. For Easter, we color eggs, make crafts with butterflies but like you, all from the vantage of demonstrating the new life we have in Christ which is where my focus should be more often.

    As for the tooth fairy. We have never done that because I can’t seem to stay awake to remember to put money under my kids’ pillows. It’s never happened except for the time one of my girls woke me up at about 3am because I forgotten to do it. I just can’t remember!

  17. We do all three but with a 10 y/o and a 6 y/o who ask questions. They are figuring it out slowly, on their own. I don’t plan on “telling” them. When they ask about it, I simply tell them when they stop “believing” in Santa (Easter Bunny or tooth fairy), then Santa (etc) doesn’t bring you a present. “Do you want a present from Santa?” “Yes.”
    I feel we’ve got Easter down pretty good with emphasis on Christ. The Easter Bunny fills the baskets on Saturday morning (a little candy and misc things they need – this year that includes a toothbrush) so that Easter Sunday is all about Christ.
    Christmas is a mix. We always read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Periodically throughout the day (and the whole month of December) , I’ll throw out the question – why are we celebrating Christmas? Who’s birthday is it? What can we give to Jesus in honor of his birthday?
    And our girls have learned that the tooth fairy assigned to our house is VERY forgetful and it may take several days for her to make it here.

  18. we are far from being part of any religion, but we do explain some of it(hubby grew up catholic). Obviously, we are big into the holidays.

  19. My family has strong traditions surrounding Christmas & Easter that include observing advent and lent, family get togethers, special foods, decorating the house and – as I like to think of it – playing the Santa and Easter Bunny game. For us keeping those games low key and fun spirited worked for us (all my kids are 16 and older). Some of their gifts were from Santa and we’d read the night before Christmas and put out cookies – but no visits to store Santa’s (who were always identified by me to my kids as actors helping with the Christmas spirit) or putting the primary focus of the holiday on Santa or receiving gifts. I tried to make the Christmas Spirit about giving with joy because we can and it’s fun.

    I specifically avoided stressing Santa’s actual visit because at least one of my nieces found the idea that a strange man would come into the house very disturbing! Her mom quickly clued her in that it was a game of pretend. For me games of pretend are for fun and have flexible rules for those who don’t want to play. I try NOT to lie to my kids and the Santa/Easter Bunny thing never felt like a lie my parents told me or one that I told my kids. My sense is that our playful attitude about these traditions – very much like the many other games of pretend (tea parties, trips to the moon, pirate wars in the pool) we played made them aware at some level that it always was pretend.

    When the kids got older they each at some point asked me to confirm that we were Santa – which we did. At that point they got to be in on the other part of the game – what I called an elf – which meant helping select some stocking stuffers for their siblings, wrap gifts and help set things up once the younger ones were in bed. They have told me that they were a bit disappointed when they stopped believing, but I’m fairly certain that they’ve had much larger and more character shaping disappoints in their lives – like when I stopped doing their laundry – for example!

    Since we are all so different it seems completely understandable to me that if a “tradition” was not fun for you, or feels like a burden or a lie then it is NOT something you want to continue. Santa, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy are NOT the meat and potatoes of childhood – they are more like sprinkles on the cupcake. Some people like them – some don’t. Love those kids up in your own way!

    I am curious as my kids have kids what they will do, but honestly it is not important to me whether they decide to play these games with their kids or not – I’m just looking forward to being a grandparent ; )

  20. We do Santa here. I plan on tackling the Santa isn’t real the same way my father did. When I figured it out, and wasn’t crushed by the way, dad and I opened up the Encyclopedia (wow do those even exist anymore lol) and looked up the story of Saint Nicholas. We discussed why the tradition was started and why we continue it. We also only ever got small things from Santa. Same for my girls. Santa does not bring the big gifts, EVER. He brings small dollar tree type things.

    We really don’t do the Easter Bunny and it’s not because of some preference or other, it really boils down to I just plain forget about it. Easter isn’t a holiday to me, it’s a celebration of Christ. I even forget to do the whole egg thing most years.

    Oh the tooth fairy…she visits here. Although I think the oldest is slowly catching on my youngest is a firm believer in her and I can’t break her heart like that.

    I’m not worried about either of them being crushed or feeling lied to. Mainly because of the active imaginations they have. For the longest my youngest believed (all on her own no matter what we said to the contrary) that Sonic the Hedgehog was real. I finally got her to believe he isn’t and she huffed and said okay, then smiled and said she can pretend he’s real.

    In the end, for us, that’s what these holiday characters are about, pretending, imagination, childhood dreams, wishes, hopes and a touch of childhood magic.

    I’ve always wondered though, when did this issue become an issue. I don’t remember my parents or other parents fretting about this when I was a kid (20 some odd years ago) Now days though it seems like it’s a huge fad to forgo the childhood fantasies, which is up to each person and that’s cool. I just wonder if it’s a new thing or something that’s been going on for generations.

  21. Our kids know about the story of Santa just as they have read stories of Elmo, buzz light year & the princesses. We feel we don’t have to make a bigger deal about him than other characters. While he doesn’t come to our house & we don’t lie to our kids pretending he does, we don’t want to over emphasize his falseness and then have our kids be the one who goes around telling kids who do Santa that he is not real. No one goes around saying, “Mickey Mouse is not real!”

    Our family still will ask our kids “what did Santa bring you?” Even after 5 years of us reminding them he doesn’t come… And our kids just look at them like they are confused.

    We committed to spend Christmas Eve at our house so we can wake up & have a birthday party for Jesus and not gifts from Santa.

    We also do not do the Easter bunny but we do give our kids a basket (usually they have been given stuff from relatives) and we hide the basket. I like the Reese eggs to much to skip Easter candy. Lol.

    My son list his first two teeth earlier than we were prepared for (I thought that happened at 6, not 5!) so we did give him money under his pillow in exchange for the teeth but we didn’t tell him it’s from the tooth fairy. We still need to talk this one out before the next loose tooth.

  22. We did the traditions–but not the lies. For Christmas–we gave each child one present wrapped in different paper. On the tag–it said who the present was to, but left the from blank. Any other presents said from us.

    For Easter–we put out baskets but never said where they came from.

    As the kids got older and asked if Santa was real—we explained that Santa is a concept—and can be any person that does good things for others without asking anything in return. We also explained the traditions of Santa around the world—and that the traditions probably got started by a person going door to door during the holidays.

  23. Oh, how I wish I had read something like this when DS14 was born. We do them all! (to some extent) Not that I mind having done them, but it’s the getting out of them that’s an issue! I will say that somehow we transitioned to the kids knowing we are the Easter Bunny, and they know that we hide the eggs and the basket is from us. It’s more about the hunt, although they know they have to get the same number of eggs, and the eggs are plastic and have candy. They also know the real reason for the holidays, and we celebrate that, too. But the Easter Bunny just sort of disappeared.

    Santa has been a wonderful part of their childhood, but I’m at the point now where I’m REALLY wanting them to tell me they no longer believe. It’s getting harder to keep it going. I think DS14 knows, but I’m not sure about DD11. They have always known that Santa doesn’t bring big presents, we do, and there are certain things you don’t ask Santa for; I never wanted to put the mall Santas in that position, although I’m sure they had their standard lines when asked for laptops from 5 year olds! When DS14 got older, we had to get creative with stories about why the same presents he wanted/got were also in the store; we told him that Santa made some during the year and sold them to stores so that he had the money to give away at Christmastime.

    The Tooth Fairy is the one I really wish we had not done. I can’t count the number of times “she” forgot to come. I always had to say that maybe she couldn’t find the box, etc. DS14 has lost all his baby teeth, so now it’s just DD11 to contend with. We’re almost there.

    I’m happy we did the traditions, but I do wish we had thought it out a bit more before we got too far into it. But, I don’t regret it overall. :)

  24. I LOVE this conversation! I have always loved the Santa myth but my problem has been how does it end, Without the kids being heart broken and confused. So a couple years ago I started talking to my kids about how Santa is everyplace (you see them all over and they ask… So it was a great time!) and this year I will give them this letter http://www.cozi.com/live-simply/truth-about-santa I am so very thankful to the mom who wrote it! My kids are 11&12, a bit old for still believing in Santa but I’ve started teaching them to believe in the magic of Santa and doing good for others. We went through a really rough time in our lives 2 Christmas’ ago and I was able to talk to them about how each of the people who helped us was a Santa. Doing good for someone else. So far this has worked for me, I’ll have to update when I give them the letter. It will be bitter sweet for me!

  25. Funny, I was one of those people who just assumed I’d do Santa … until I married a Jew who said he didn’t want to lie to his kids. So we’ve never done Santa or the Bunny, although my children are so surrounded by Santa believers that when my oldest was in kinder, he was asked by someone (an adult) if Santa was going to visit and he said yes. (My husband and I had a good laugh about that, and just went with it until it became clear he didn’t really believe in Santa.)

    We were doing the tooth fairy, but around the third tooth, my oldest said he knew that we were the tooth fairy, and listed the reasons why there really couldn’t be a tooth fairy.

    We have emphasized to the kids that they must never belittle or discredit someone else’s beliefs. More than anything, I think that’s the most important component of these choices because, as you pointed out, Jessica, every family makes their own!

  26. Lillian says:

    I wasn’t raised with any of them – because of the lying issue – so I’d always figured that’s what I’d do. My husband was raised with the myths and was terrified of them. The whole idea of strangers coming into his house at night – and especially the Tooth Fairy who was rooting under your pillow while you slept – totally Freaked. Him. Out. He was relieved that I wasn’t set on putting our kids through that. Our kids are still young so it hasn’t been much of an issue yet, we have talked about Santa a bit as something that other people do because you can’t really avoid exposure to him.

  27. Melissa says:

    This is a real struggle for our extended family, especially in regards to Santa. Hubs and I made the decision very early on that Santa was not going to be a part of our Christmas tradition. It was never part of his growing up, and while it was part of mine, it was very low-key, kind of like yours. We did stockings and such, but we all knew it was from Mom and Dad. However, my sister-in-law (married to my husband’s brother) is into Santa in a huge way. Their son is now three, and that child has had more pictures with Santa than I care to think about. We’ve always been straight with our kids (Santa is just for pretend), and I’m pretty sure that they’re going to spill the beans to their cousin one of these years…I’m already anticipating the ensuing fight. Oy vey. :-) I know it’s a struggle for my in-laws, too, since it was never something that they raised their boys with. Oh well, I’m not going to change the way we do things to accommodate their traditions… :-)

  28. Charity L. says:

    I love Christmas. We believe in Santa at our house, but I am more along the lines of “The spirit of St. Nick” and having a generous heart. We each only get one present from Santa and it is not wrapped. When our children get older, we will explain about the spirit of Christmas and how it is good to be generous to others.

    We do Easter baskets because I think they are a fun treat. It helps that my mother-in-law does Easter bags each year for everyone too, because it shows that Easter is a day to expect a little treat from family to celebrate spring, not so much about a big bunny bringing something to you. I make a specific point to remind me children that Easter is about Jesus and we go to church service, because that is the true reason for the day.

    Tooth Fairy: I haven’t gotten there yet. I plan to give my children $2 bills because it is something you don’t get everyday and it will lend to a nice memory when they are older. I have a special tooth fairy pillow I bought because it was adorable, but, I am going to tell them that it is me that puts the money in the pillow. Just wearing another mommy hat: Chef hat, Teaching hat, Party Planner hat, tooth fairy hat…all in a day’s work right?

  29. I have noticed the newest tradition…Elf on a shelf! I would expect some kids find that fun, yet others being totally freaked that EVERY night this little odd fellow flies around their house :) I’ve wondered if it was more the adults trying to get in touch with their inner child or perhaps another marketing ploy that clicked.

  30. We do Santa and the Easter Bunny, but we always throw it back to the kids…”What do you think?” My oldest (6.5 yo) will catch on this year.

    The tooth fairy did come…and I used it to my advantage! The tooth fairy left a note explaining that she really had to hustle to get to all the other kids because she visited with too many of her stuffed animals – so please consider only sleeping with one! (Some times you need to use what you have!) She no longer sleeps with a blanket or 29 “special guest animals” :)

  31. Our daughter is 8 months so we have barely started traditions. However, as a Catholic, I value how St. Nicholas’ legacy transitioned into Santa. That will always be a part of our teaching about the holiday. I like how other commenters have said Santa is like a fairy tale; I think that will be a good way to explain it once our child(ren) figures it out. I have a hard time with all the materialism surrounding Christmas but not the Santa part. I guess because my parents didn’t go overboard with any of the holidays I don’t see the harm. It didn’t affect my siblings’ or my faith negatively.

    Also, Good Friday and even Holy Saturday are about the Cruxificion for us, but Easter Sunday is about the Resurrection for us. It’s the greatest feast for us and worthy of celebration. I could see leaving out the bunny but that and the eggs are a symbol of new life for us and that was Christ’s greatest gift for us: new life in heaven.

    My biggest issue is my in-laws go OVER THE TOP with Christmas gifts. We live in a small condo and they have already told us they are getting our daughter a rocking horse for her first birthday and based on what they have given the other grand kids (think giant workbench and kitchen) I am afraid of what they will give her for Christmas. We will be grateful, nonetheless.

    • Consider being grateful and keeping the huge toy at Grandma’s… because it’s really not thoughtful of them to give huge gifts to those who live in compact spaces. And the little ones can have a load of fun with it when they visit the grandparents. :D

  32. We love all things Christmas and fully celebrate all holidays to their fullest with all the fun fairytales and nonsense. My boys go to a private Christian school and we fully participate in all religious aspects of all holidays that are religious in nature. We do, however, go all out for Christmas with Santa and gifts and stockings and cookies… and when it’s time… we share the “secret” and let our boys then bear the burden of keeping the secret alive for their younger siblings. My son, after he found out the secret, wasn’t sad — disappointed — mad or nor did he feel deceived or let down… he actually hugged me… told me I was a great mom. Thanked me for making his Christmases and holidays so special… and agreed to help shop for his younger brothers and to keep the secret alive. I have good friends that don’t participate in the idea of typical Christmastime fairytales either… but we still delight in sharing time together. Their kids have been told not to “spoil” it for anyone else… and never have said anything…

  33. We have never done the Easter bunny, Santa or the tooth fairy either. Mainly because I wanted to have our holidays center around the most important things. Christ, family and making memories. We do a small amount of presents to help celebrate Jesus’ birthday, we gather for a nice meal on Easter with our families and I didn’t want my children thinking someone was “magically” sneaking into their rooms at night to slip a few coins (or dollars now) under their pillows. They appreciate things more because they realize their Dad worked hard to give them even the smallest amount of gifts that they receive. We have no credit cards we are still trying to pay off in July from last Christmas. We do what we can when we can. Homeschooling helps because my children aren’t in a setting where they are the only ones Santa does not visit. But we still socialize and have friends with different traditions. Every family is different and I feel everyone should assess their beliefs and do what works well for their family.

  34. Kristin says:

    It is so encouraging to know that there are multiple families out there that feel the same as we do. The lying and confusion of magical things with God. My husband struggled with the latter and I with the lying game my mom had to play to keep me believing longer. Thank you all so much for all your ideas and encouragement. Our kids are still young at 4 and 2.

  35. We’ve always skipped Santa, EB, Tooth Fairy, and definitely Elf on the Shelf. There are reasons that play in (we’re Christian, not Santa-ian or Bunnerian; we don’t lie to our kids, I’m a big slacker, etc,) but we’ve never felt the lack of them, and the kids have learned to graciously respond to Santa-practicing relatives on my husband’s side.

    We do hang stockings: the kids have always helped choose (yay, bulk food section!) and make (yay, cookies and brownies and granola!) tasty treats to pop inside (that’s our breakfast on Christmas Day), and they tend to use the stockings as a Tiny Present Stash Drop, adding little notes and drawings and other small things for their siblings or us through the whole season, which is quite a lot of fun.

    Rather than talk about the spirit of Christmas, we talk about the Spirit of God, that inspires people to do kind things for others, and then we find ways to live that out; because we’re not overwhelmed with the secular sides of the seasons, we have more time and funds available to do cool things, and I love that.

    Skipping Santa, in particular, seems to help curb some of the gift excess, though not entirely. My husband’s family are really good bargain hunters, and love the kids. But they’ve gotten better over the years… particularly once MIL visited us and took back confirmation of truly how TINY our home is. :)

    I guess I’d say: if someone has qualms about using SC, EB, TF and the rest, give it a go without. It’s really liberating and fun!

  36. Interesting post, and I’ve much enjoyed reading the comments as well. A few of you mentioned the whole confusing Santa not being real with God not being real. I had never really thought about that before my significant other told me the story of his sister finding out Santa isn’t real.. And that’s exactly what happened. It’s more so just a humerous story than anything, though. For me growing up, Santa was played out quite a lot. We read books, ALL my presents/stocking goods were from Santa, we left out cookies (and carrots for the reindeer). But for some reason, neither my brothers or I were ever really strong believers. I was eight when my mother told me that Santa wasn’t real. We were in Wal-mart a few weeks before Christmas and I was just telling my mom about how I really admired this purple boom-box. She stopped, held my arm, leaned into me, and whispered in a very serious manner, “Santa is not real.. you know?” I said “…Yeah” Then she put the boom-box in the cart and we moved along. In the car home she brought up EB/TF not being real either. No skin off my little nose. Except, because I was the last in the family “to know”, the holiday traditions we did faded along with the myths being all aired out. No more Easter egg hunts was probably the worst hit for me. I also quite enjoyed leaving out cookies and carrots.. But I don’t see how that one still could have been played out.
    Which brings me to what I will do — as I am not a mother yet — with my family. No Santa. Mostly because we don’t plan on celebrating “Christmas”. I must find a way to leave out cookies and carrots for someone/something to eat, though ;). Tooth fairy is still a maybe. And the Easter bunny is a possibility although it will not be an “Easter” bunny.. “Spring” bunny or “Ostara” bunny maybe :P. But what’s most important to me, coming from my own childhood experience, is just keeping up our own traditions year after year — whether they involve made-up characters or not :).

  37. Not celebrating Santa, the Easter bunny, or the tooth fairy was no big deal in our family. However, when my mom found out we were planning to not celebrate Halloween , that was a problem for her. She then decided to make all the kids costumes, and did so for many years. The costumes all ended up at her house, and for many years all the grandchildren and their friends played dress up when they went to Grandmas.

  38. I couldn’t agree more for the same reasons. :)

  39. I was brought up to enjoy these things but my parents ALWAYS made sure we knew it was them and not a stranger doing them or a make believe character. We definitely were told about God being behind these holidays but the non-religious part was given too. My husband and I decided we would do the same with our kids. They both know it is mom and dad but enjoy the “fun” of santa, tooth fairy, and easter bunny. It really isn’t an issue for us. I get the why others don’t do these but also know we are all different and should respect others views. My sister does not allow these but we totally respect each others views.

  40. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue. We have made the same decisions for our little boy, for pretty much the same reasons as you. We have taken some flak for it, and my son’s been in trouble, for telling his friends the truth – we’ve actually been surprised at how tightly people hold onto this fantasy for their kids. I have nothing against pretend and make believe, but these same parents who “defend” Santa until their kids are 9, would never try as hard to convince their children that Goldilocks or Red Riding Hood were real … I’m curious why it’s such a big deal?

    • I was one of those kids who wanted to believe. I was 12 and I was devastated when my mom too-casually broke the news. I can understand their perspective, even though that’s not what we’ve chosen for us.

  41. Angela R says:

    We do stockings and baskets but for both teach that they are a fun story like Tinkerbell. Santa has been harder on this front since the culture we live in is inundated with a Santa narrative and it is in part rooted in truth. We add one that Jesus, his birth, death, resurrection, teaching, and miracles are real stories that actually happened. The big dilemma I have in all this is how to teach my children how to talk to “believing” friends. I have already had some problems with this with my four year old. We have made it clear that it isn’t her job to tell other kids “the truth” and why but it is pretty rough when your kids feel like they have “the truth.” What do you do on this one?

    • That is a hard one, especially among chatty children. I’m not really sure other than encourage her to talk mor eabout Jesus’ birthday and to focus on that part of the truth, the best part. :)

  42. At our house we don’t do the Santa thing or the Easter bunny. But I do make it a point to tell my children that some people do. I give our reasons, Christian have you, but some other personal reasons as well. I do make it a point to tell them that other people do. and that just because they do doesn’t mean they are bad or anything. just different. not everyone has the same convictions and that’s OK. i tell them that everyone has a soul and we need to love and respect them.

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