Discussion Post: What is Your Santa Story?

Another fun discussion post! Santa Claus! Do you know him? How do you know him? Have you raised your kids to know him?

My first memory of Santa Claus is abject terror. Not of the man himself, my parents were aware that we would not feel comfortable meeting Santa so they never did the waiting in line and putting us on his lap thing. But of my own failure in the eyes of Santa.

When I was 3 years old, my pre-school teacher said something about how Santa brings coal to bad children. She was a lovely woman and would have been horrified to learn how much I took that to heart. Heck, I’m pretty sure the original statement was more like “Some people say Santa brings coal to bad children, but I believe he brings presents to all kids”. But of course what I heard was “I am a BAD EVIL CHILD, and Santa knows it, and I will have no presents on Christmas and everyone will find out that I am BAD”.

No photo description available.
Look upon the sleeping face of EVIL!!!!

Following child logic, I tried very hard to stop sleeping, including at naptimes, after that. Because what if I fell asleep, and when I woke up it was Christmas, and I had no presents? If I just never slept, it would never be Christmas. My parents first found out about this whole thing on Christmas Eve when, because of family visiting, they were sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of my room. And discovered their little daughter was laying there stiff as a board, eyes wide open, absolutely terrified that she would get no presents because Santa knew she was Bad. There was a serious temptation to just tell me “there is no Santa! He doesn’t exist! You will get presents because we bought you presents and they are already downstairs waiting for you!” But they resisted.

After that Christmas, I stopped being afraid of Santa. That was silly, of course he is going to bring me presents! He loves all children and loves me even more than my parents and when they are mad at me, then Santa still loves me and forgives me. Happy happy!!!! The Santa in my head was kind of a mixture of Miracle on 24th Street and A Visit From Saint Nicholas and Archie Comic Books. He lived in the North Pole, he had elves, but what really mattered is that he just loved and understood children in a special way because he wasn’t really an adult like other adults, he was just for kids.

Cover for Archie Giant Series Magazine (Archie, 1954 series) #242 | Archie  comic books, Vintage comic books, Christmas comics
Archie Comics spent more time than you would think on Santa and various Christmas Magic. I loved Christmas Archie’s, so happy!

We had a couple of Santa specific family traditions too, mostly for Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, my sister and I would write a letter to Santa and then throw it in the fire place to burn up and go up the chimney to him. Then we would put out milk and cookies and a carrot and go to bed. And in the morning SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TAKEN A BITE OUT OF ALL OF THEM!!!! So, proof. SANTA!

I didn’t have a moment when I “stopped believing” or “learned the truth”. The learning the truth part is silly, I figured out pretty young that a lot of my friends and even my parents didn’t believe in Santa. But just because they didn’t think he was real didn’t mean I had to agree with them, you know? As for “stop believing”, it was a slow journey from that absolute terrifying certainty at age 3 to a more sort of casual awareness that Santa was there to help kids who really needed help, but I didn’t need help, so he would never visit me or bring me presents. To where I am today, which is kind of a “I am aware that he is a creation of advertising campaigns and writers and a combo of pagan winter spirits and Saint Nicholas of Myra, but also SANTA!!!!!” I mean, who cares? So he is a mythical figure created by various influences and blah blah blah. But people believe in him! And if you believe hard enough, in some ways you create him as a real entity.

Coca-Cola Santa Thirst Asks Nothing More Ribbon Vinyl Sticker at Retro  Planet
Did Coca cola create Santa Claus, or did Santa Claus send an image of himself in a dream to the Coca Cola PR department and they are just following his wishes? WHO’S TO SAY????

Where do you land on Santa? Was he an important part of your childhood at all? Or just sort of a guest star like the Easter Bunny? Were you scared of him ever, like I was? Do you have a big “stop believing” story or was it just part of growing up? And how are you raising your kids with him?

17 thoughts on “Discussion Post: What is Your Santa Story?

  1. We didn’t have Santa where I grew up and by the time I knew about him, I was a teenager. But I think he’s a lovely construct. Except he was white, which my kids weren’t. Jesus was white too, so my husband and I had some explaining to do. It must be easier now, but back then, we walked a line.


    • Oh how interesting! I never thought about Santa being a particular color. I thought of Jesus as white (which is of course silly, since he wasn’t), but Santa was just sort of a general jolly fat man with a white beard. I know Black Santas are around a lot more now, but I didn’t have the same “whoa! That’s different!” feeling the first time I saw one as I did the first time I saw a picture of a Black Jesus.

      (also, I just googled “Black Santa” to see if I could find more information on the images, and I just landed on a bunch of photos of adorable children on laps of Black Santas. None of the kids seemed to be going “but wait, Santa is supposed to be white!”)

      On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 3:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. My mom says I cried the first time Saint Nicholas visited our daycare/preschool. I don’t think I felt guilty or anything, but I didn’t trust this stranger in strange clothes who invaded our safe space.

    I can’t recall ever having *believed* in Santa or similar creatures. Even so, come Christmas Eve, everyone has to leave the living room while the parents welcome the Christkind and light the real candles on the tree. I’ve seriously never considered stating that in any different way. Omitting the Christkind would be sacrilegious.

    I hear you on the believing and creating a real entity front. In that respect, Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather” is one of the most beautiful Christmas stories ever – underneath all that Discworld wackiness. I love Death’s final speech about how you need the little lies like the Hogfather/Santa to believe in the big lies like love and forgiveness and justice and all those good things. And how, if everyone stopped believing in the Hogfather, the sun wouldn’t rise: “It would just be a big ball of fire.”

    So yeah, I definitely aim to raise our little one with the same kind of reverence for stuff that may not be real, but is still so true to our souls.


    • You have just convinced me to add “Hogfather” to my reading list!

      Here’s a question for you. If the adults welcome the Christkind and light the candles, and you are now a parent, does that mean you are part of the “adult” group? At what point do you shift from outside the room to inside the room?

      Here’s another question. When I was a kid, traditionally my parents stayed up until 2-3 in the morning doing last minute prep and wrap before Christmas morning (as is the case in most households in America). If Christkind brings the presents on Christmas Eve, when do you do the mad last minute panicked preperations? Christmas Eve afternoon during nap time?

      On Mon, Dec 21, 2020 at 1:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I have actually already finished wrapping all our gifts. I think my mom must have been really organized, too, she was always ready on Christmas Eve. It was just us kids who were busy during the day wrapping our gifts (plus the ones from my dad for my mom) and trimming the tree. Gave Mom time to cook, I guess.

        My wife isn’t really all that big on even wrapping the presents, so now the honor of welcoming Christkind falls mostly to me. If we went to my parents’ though, we would still be upstairs in one of our old bedrooms, singing carols and making “music” on anything that creates noise, while my parents receive the Christkind. So much for a silent night.

        A little handheld bell then announces that everything is ready, everyone comes in and sings a few more songs about how pretty the tree is, and then the big search begins for everyone to find the right presents.

        So I guess the Guardian of the Tree is mostly a job for the hosts.


        • That makes sense.

          Does your little guy have any idea that Christmas is coming? Or is he just taking things day by day and constantly surprised by life?

          On Mon, Dec 21, 2020 at 9:24 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • I think he knows that something is up. His daycare is on holiday, there are few bags left on his advent calendar, and Mom and Mommy are inspecting his uncle’s bed that’s hidden in our sofa. We try to tell him that the immediate family is coming to visit, but the concept of Christmas would still be very vague for him. Especially since last year, we went to my wife’s family’s place, so it’s not just the same thing again.

            (And then, everyone caught pneumonia last year, so if he does have any memories of that, it would be of a pretty stressful time.)


          • Ugh, pneumonia at Christmas? With a baby? That sounds about as bad as can be. Hopefully this year Uncle will pitch in and take over some baby care and actually make things easier for you.


          • Well, it was the grandparents who got pneumonia – which meant my wife was visiting each in turn and leaving Baby with a family friend while Uncle and I both had to get back to work. It was actually the aftermath of all that that DCIB saved me from last January, so thanks again.


  3. Believing in things we can’t see is such a good thing because what we can see lies. Like mall Santas.

    Can we know more about Christkind please, eva-e?
    I’m looking up Hogfeather.


    • I’ll just copy my explanation from the Saint Nicholas post a few weeks back: “From what I gather, Saint Nicholas was the first one to reward good Christian children in December. Then Reformation happened, and good Protestant children didn’t revere saints anymore but still wanted presents. That’s when the Christkind was invented – at least in the incarnation where the term doesn’t really mean Baby Jesus anymore but an angel-like gift-bringing Christmas Child.”

      We were never very religious, so I kind of always imagined a little girl in white and only caught on later that the term actually does mean “Christ child” as in “Baby Jesus”. It’s just our traditional gift-bringer, never seen but always awaited. It features a lot in traditional German Christmas poems and carols.


  4. What you wrote about coals and offering something to eat and to drink, is for the 6th of december in our family/in Germany. Once the kids positioned a camera such that it could film St. Nikolaus (which was me) asking her mother to start the video (just before midnight). As I knew about it and about the angle of what the camera would catch, I acted accordingly (and also ate the cookies and drank the water). They indeed thought, that they had caught St. Nikolaus…

    At Christmas eve, in the morning, we have a very light breakfast, then the Chritmas will be put in the living room and decorated (the kids helping). Some years before, we still had candles but as often the Christmas tree lights are the only light in the room for a long time, we have switched to electric candles.
    After the tree is decorated, the kids aren’t allowed in the living room anymore…they are either in their rooms or in the family area or in my appartment in the same house.
    After 4pm they start to listen intensely because in our family, it’s the Christ Child that is silently coming to bring the gifts and the parents help to put them under the tree. When all this is done and the magic infant is gone, a parent rings a bell and the rest of the family can enter the living room.

    We sit around, in front of a fireplace and look at the tree and the wrapped gifts and listening to music and/or singing along with the chorus. Then I read a story (maximum 15 minutes). Sometimes one of the family likes to play something on an instrument or the kids do a little play putting up the crèche with all the wooden figures (all with music in the background). Then it’s finally present-time and everybody looks for the names on the parcels.

    Table and dinner are prepared already before the little celebration, only the last touches and last cooking is done while the kids play already. Then we have a loooong dinner and then go back to playing “under the Christmas tree”.

    The last highlight is a fire tongs punch. (This all happens the 24th of December while the 25th is either getting visits and/or playing around, watching films, doing a long walk, having the second part of the Christmas dinner things…the 26th is either getting visits or going to visit others or doing what we did the 25th).

    Ah yes, and sometimes we go to church…depends on the time and the mood for it.


    • This all sounds really nice! The Christmas morning system means you have a fun morning, and then a long boring day, and then dinner. Christmas Eve means you get this nice relaxed series of events culminating in the church service.

      On Tue, Dec 22, 2020 at 1:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. Pingback: Discussion Post: What is Your Santa Story? – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

  6. This is super late, but I figured I would give my Jewish experience.

    I really can’t say whether or not I fully believed in Santa. My sister did, and I kept trying to talk some sense into her “Santa doesn’t matter to us, we’re Jewish! He doesn’t come to our house!” But my mom was the only Jewish kid on her block and always felt left out on Christmas, so on Christmas Day, there would always be a present from “Santa” for me and my sister outside our door in wrapping paper that my mom didn’t use for Hanukkah. One year, maybe in late elementary or early middle school, I guess my parents did a really terrible job hiding that roll cuz I found it. And I wasn’t heartbroken, but it was just kind of confirmation what I already knew. And I didn’t say anything to anyone about it, much less the other kids in my school. I was never that non-Christian kid who tried to shoot down other people’s beliefs in Santa.


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