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The Santa Lie -- To Believe, or Not to Believe?

Santa Clause
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jebb, CC licensed

When I was in grade school, I was ostracized for a number of things (wearing suspenders and a clip-on tie, the tofu blue-bean burritos my mom packed in my lunchbox, my tendency to walk around with my nose in a book), but what really fueled the fire was the amount of time I spent clinging to the Santa myth.

The thing is, I knew there was no Santa. I knew it was ridiculous, and I knew that the beer I was urged to leave for him (instead of milk) was really for my parents. But I wanted to believe in him as long as possible.

And I stand by that. I don’t believe, like Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street, that we are lying to children by letting them believe in Santa. It is wonderful to believe in something so magical, to feel that sense of amazement. We should let them believe for as long as they will play along. I was pretty devastated when I found out there was no Santa, not because I was mad at my mom for lying to me, but because I knew Christmas would never be the same.

How long did you believe in Santa? Do you think it’s important to tell kids the truth right away, or should we let them revel in the Christmas magic?