That is what I told the Squeaker, age 3 1/2, yesterday. I don't think he even knows who Santa really is, since it isn't a tradition we've really hammered into him much.
So I guess that makes me one of "those" parents - the ones who get all touchy-feely and "Santa is a feeling in your heart." Eugh. But then, who am I kidding? We banned Ducktales. And we gave away all our Halloween Candy. We've been "those" parents for a long time, now.
I don't think there's anything innately harmful about fostering a belief in Santa in young children. It's a fun tradition, and I love all the Santa lore. I don't believe that children are traumatized when their belief in Santa is challenged. Thus, the possibility of future trauma doesn't seem like a legitimate reason to cut Santa out of children's lives entirely.
I told The Squeaker that Santa was just pretend for two reasons. One, for the first time ever, he lied to me yesterday (After he had hit The Cookie over the head with a book, I said, "Squeaker, why is Cookie crying?" "I don't know." Ha.) and I had to give him a harangue about the importance of telling the truth. So then when he was watching a Christmas Special and pointing out Santa, I didn't feel like I could tell him anything less than the unfiltered truth. "You shouldn't lie, but I will tell you this thing that I know to be untrue, just because it's fun."
And two: We've tried hard in our family to put emphasis on fun activities and family traditions during Christmas, instead of the emphasis on getting stuff from Santa. We're going to exchange presents, but only in a modest, non-extravagant way. We're going to put The Squeaker in charge of picking out things with which to fill The Cookie's stocking, for example. There is no point to The Squeaker writing a letter to Santa or going to the mall to tell him what he wants for Christmas, because I don't want to play the consumer game. I don't want The Squeaker's Christmas to be about his material wishes being granted, when there are so many other interesting things to do this time of year.
This is the first Christmas The Squeaker has been old enough to know what's going on. He helped me put up the tree on Monday night, and had an absolute BALL. "It's so nice to have Cwismas." We've been listening to Christmas Music, and we hung up our stockings, and I made some snowflakes this morning. He's been watching A Muppet Family Christmas and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, and I've been watching a version of the Nutcracker Ballet that features Mikhail Barishnikov. We're making plans to go see the lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake next week, and I'm going to make lots and lots of gingerbread cookies.
I LOVE Christmas time.