How to manage family Christmases when our kid doesn't believe in Santa Claus, but her cousins do?
We don’t want to lie to M, our daughter, by telling her that Santa Claus exists, but we also don’t want to upset her cousins who have been brought up to believe there’s truth to the whole Santa Claus story. The cousins get together for Christmases and I’m trying to work out how to handle this situation.
I’m completely confident in how I’ll explain to M about the Santa Claus myth and why others believe in something that we don’t, but how do I respond when one of her cousins (ages ranging between 5 and 8) asks about what presents M got from Santa? If it helps at all, when asked the same question by adults I say “we don’t’ have Santa Claus in our house” and leave it at that. But I don’t know how to convey the same sort of message to a kid who believes in Santa Claus without shattering their beliefs – the kid will ask why Santa doesn’t visit the Jones house and from there…well, I can’t think of a way for it to end well. In case I’ve not made it clear, I do not believe it’s my place to tell someone else’s kid that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
Also, when M is older, she’ll probably be asked the same sorts of questions while in the company of other children and I’d like to give her some guidance about how to answer these questions without destroying innocent dreams along the way.
In case it matters, this issue won’t come up at all this Christmas, as M is not even 2 years old, but for future Christmases it almost certainly will. I just really, really want to be prepared.
I’d especially love to hear from parents who’ve raised their children to be Santa Claus non-believers, but I’d welcome suggestions from anyone who might have an idea about how to handle this.
And, just to be clear, I am NOT asking whether or not I should raise my kid to believe in Santa Claus, though I have looked at the answers to this question.