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My kids don’t believe in Santa, and it’s not ruining their childhood

Dear Santa,

First off, let me congratulate you on your phenomenal marketing efforts. You certainly seem to have cornered the market on the whole “Fat Guy Who Sneaks Into Your House and Leaves Presents” thing, and somehow you manage to pull it off without seeming creepy. Well done. And even though both of my kids, ages nine and five, probably fall right into your target demographic… Well, Santa, we’re just not buying what you’re selling.

Nope. My kids don’t believe.

It’s not that I have anything against you. I mean, yes, I’ve heard all the reasons why my kids shouldn’t believe; the “You shouldn’t lie to your kids” and the “It’s just setting them up for disappointment” arguments. And sure, I guess I agree with all that, but honestly… I just don’t want to do it. It’s not important to me.

What IS important to me is that my kids have holiday traditions that they love and look forward to. And they do.

Every year we hang up our Advent calendar – a big, felt Christmas tree that my mother-in-law gave us before we even had kids. They take turns pulling out each day’s tiny, cloth ornament and choosing where to hang it on the felt tree. They love it.

Every year we pile into the minivan, go to Starbucks for hot cocoa, and drive around town listening to festive music and looking at all the houses lit up with Christmas lights. They love it.

Every year we play Hide the Pickle …Wait. That’s not right. It’s called The Glass Pickle. It’s a glass, pickle-shaped ornament that gets hidden somewhere in the tree on Christmas morning. Whichever kid finds the pickle first gets to be the first one to open a present. It’s really fun. They love it.

My kids know their presents come from their parents, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles. They actually enjoy watching us come downstairs with armloads of wrapped gifts. They watch us distribute them under the tree and then they find the ones with their names and ooh and ahh over the shapes and sizes of the packages.

I don’t have to deal with any elves on shelves. I can just enjoy milk and cookies without having to set them out for you. And I don’t have to wait in long lines to make my kids sit on the lap of some bearded stranger at the mall. (Admit it, big guy. Some of your stand-ins are downright terrifying.)

You may ask, “But what about the magic of Christmas? What about that sense of wonder?” Please. They’re kids. Everything is magical. They’re filled with wonder about where the toilet water goes when they flush, but they don’t believe in a magical Turd Fairy either.

–Actually, hold on… I might do that if it’ll get them to flush more often. (*note to self: make the Magic Turd Fairy a thing)

Anyway, I’m not ruining their childhood by skipping out on you, Santa. We have plenty of other holiday traditions that light up their little faces, and that’s what’s important. Just think of us as one less house you have to visit, a couple lists you don’t have to look over, and one less plate of cookies you have to choke down. (Although let’s be honest. I would’ve eaten those cookies anyway.)

Happy Holidays,

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