I've been reading a few articles lately, including this one and it would seem that many parents out there are agreeing that lying about Santa is just not the way to go.
The thing is, I don't want to lie to my children, and I don't intend to (in a black and white sort of way). The world is full of grey area and I love seeing children's imaginations run wild and free with no limits.
A middle ground (for now) and something The Husband and I are doing, is being a little more conscience about the way we talk about Santa and Christmas with our children. We don't want to build the idea of Santa up into something really big and all consuming and yet we also don't want to say outright that he doesn't exist! It's just not that black and white for us. Our children are still very young (7, 5 & 2) and they love the idea of Santa and Elves and The North Pole. We read Christmas stories and watch Christmas movies with them and the majority of these books and movies are about Santa Claus.
Last year we started a new, slightly adjusted Christmas ritual of Santa bringing only a few small stocking fillers and the remainder of gifts were wrapped under the tree from us, Mum and Dad. We will be doing the same again this year. We hope that by doing this, the main focus isn't on what Santa brings but rather the pure and simple act of giving. The joy will still definitely be there come Christmas morning, I guarantee it.
We have mentioned to the children in the past that Santa may not just be one person doing it all alone, but that it is many people working together to bring joy at Christmas time. Santa can represent joy and giving and the spirit of Christmas. For now, we think this is a suitable explanation, and it seems to suffice. In the years to come we will be prepared for more questions and to tell them the truth about Santa Claus. Of course, truth can be told in many different ways and I would hope we could explain it in a way that is fair and truthful, but gentle and considerate.
Here are some ways I've read parents tell their children the truth...
"The idea of Santa is many people helping to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, and Mum and Dad are a part of that. You can be a part of that too."
"Santa represents joy and giving. It isn't about a man in a red suit, it is about what he represents."
"The magic and spirit of Christmas is always going to be special and wonderful no matter who does the giving. Everyone can play a part in keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, it isn't all about Santa...it is about so much more than that..."