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3 Bumps

How do we tell MIL that my son won't believe in Santa?

We finally agreed this year that we do not want to make Santa out to be a literally real figure in our son's life. We will play Santa, even labeling gifts from him and leaving out cookies and milk, but he won't be any more real than Blue or Elmo. We are comfortable with this, but if you feel led to share your reasons to do the opposite, feel free.

My main issue is (surprise, surprise) my mother in law. She is a HUGE fan of Santa Claus, and completely believes in going the whole nine yards. All of her kids 100% believed in Santa. She rang jingle bells when they were in bed, threw rocks on the roof to sound like reindeer hooves, took bites out of cookies, as well as threatening them with the "naughty" list as often as possible during the last quarter of the year. I am NOT saying that this is bad, just using it to sort of show how much she loves the Santa myth.

If she finds out our approach to Santa, she will not approve. I don't know if she would go as far as to make a fight out of it, but I wouldn't be surprised. She will use it to insult our parenting choices every chance she gets, just like she has ever since we banned Red 40 from his diet due to behavior issues we were having.

If you were in my shoes, how would you handle this situation? Would you go ahead and let her know what's going on, and tolerate the jabs and insults? Or would you just instruct the child to play along at Grandma's house?

Answer Question

Asked by SamanthaAgain at 2:26 PM on Nov. 25, 2010 in Holidays

Level 6 (108 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • Just tell her. Your the parents shes not. She will deal with it or she won't. But if she wants to see your son she will deal with it.

    Answer by Iamasinglemom99 at 2:30 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • She sounds like she was a pretty awesome mother! I wish my parents did that :(

    Answer by ryanlynn at 2:31 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • @Ryanlynn, when it comes to Christmas time, she's the best! I really don't want to hurt her OR have a yearly battle.

    Comment by SamanthaAgain (original poster) at 2:34 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • I guess I don't really get the big deal- why not go all out with makes her happy and it sounds like it was fine for you so I guess I don't get it...
    if you don't want him to believe then dont' go there but otherwise let them all have fun

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 2:39 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • * if you are going to leave out cookies and milk and having gifts from him then you are playing along and making more real than elmo already so...

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 2:40 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • It seems like a double standard you want to go all out yet still make him out to believe there is no Santa. Seriously what is the harm in letting children believe and have Santa? Let your MILhave it her way the kids grow up too fast and out of it before you know it don't spoil it for us grandmas who still want that special magic at Christmas we have earned that right.

    Answer by Moms_Angels1960 at 2:45 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • Unless she lives with you, it shouldnt be an issue, as all the extra stuff you mention would occur at makes it more fun, so why not?

    Answer by minimo77 at 2:48 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • I just don't feel right lying to my kids. Of course, I don't think someone who does it is a bad parent or damaging their child or anything like that, I just don't feel comfortable with it. We can have magic and memories without the lie. Just like when a little girl dresses up in a princess dress and asks you to play along with her, she's having fun and using her imagination. But she *knows* that it's pretend.

    @minimo77, she lives next door to us, so she sees him on almost a daily basis.

    Comment by SamanthaAgain (original poster) at 2:50 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • You child is going to believe in Santa, you are just not going to be as extravagant as your mother in law, right? That is how I read it. If this is the case just tell her that you don't want to go over-board with the whole make believe thing. Remember your child is only going to have this innocence once, and before you know it he is grown....that's it. Everything will seem silly to him instead of magical, so let him make the most of being a child.


    Answer by Conley639 at 2:52 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

  • well...if you are going to label gift from him, and put out milk and cookies then you are STILL "lying" *as you put it
    so-why not go all out? seriously. If you are worrid about him being devastated when he find out-do what I did and tell him Santa IS real-just in a different way then her though, that Santa lives in all of us when her help others and give to others and when we are kind.
    That is how I dealt with it with my kids and they took it just fine. They are teens now and we STILL do Santa!

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 2:55 PM on Nov. 25, 2010

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