Originally Posted by skylark
Santa was never presented as literally real to me. My parents' logic was that they didn't want to lie to us knowingly, and there was little benefit to the ruse. The most annoying part was that I was sworn to secrecy that Santa wasn't
a literal being! When the neighbor kids talked about all the presents Santa would bring them, I was under strict orders by my parents to pretend not to hear them and change the subject.
I'll never forget the Christmas when I was about nine, and my grandparents labeled all the presents from them as "From Santa." No one believed in Santa in our house, so it just ticked me off. Being the little bugger I was (and still am, just taller), I took a marker when no one was looking and scratched off "Santa" and put "G & G" (for Grandpa and Grandma). Then I got in trouble.
Heh...this is very similar to my experience. My folks felt the deception part outweighed any benefit. My paternal grandparent though felt differently "No Santa? How can you not have Santa?" We did have the "tooth fairy" later, but by 5 or 6 when I started losing my teeth I was already aware that it was "pretend". For some reason, I liked this particular myth much more than Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. and so my parents indulged me a bit.
re: children changing your opinion. I didn't think dragon meant that childless folks should be silent, just that maybe couldn't predict what you're going to do as a parent. I would agree heartily...I've cared for hundreds of children, study educational philosophy, written papers, etc. but if I'm blessed with my own child one day, I'll be starting at square one in some respects.
In this issue however, I won't be changing my mind. Aside from the deception issue I, like some others, dislike the materialistic aspects of the myth (as presented to most kids in North America at least). The "be good so Santa will bring you gifts" makes me want to gag (see the discussion in the "rewards" thread). Also, I think knowing that a real person gave you a gift is important...knowing that your parents put thought into them as opposed to "Santa".
zb: I see what you're trying to say re: the myth of Santa, but ime, NO parents that do the Santa thing "allow" their child to believe the magical,myth-part literally. They present it as real. If the parent knows something to be untrue (e.g. Santa flies a sleigh across the world) and tells the child specifically that it is true, then that's a lie. I don't think it's the crime of the century or anything, but the argument that's it's not a lie = very weak.