Jewish parents who don’t celebrate Christmas might think they have it easy when it comes to Santa. You don’t have to worry about keeping up the charade of a magical fat man who shimmies down your chimney one night a year to leave your kids presents that you actually bought but don’t get any credit for. But what happens when your kids talk to their Christmas-celebrating friends?
This was precisely the problem one reader was concerned about, who recently reached out to us with the following question:
My kids have asked how they should answer other children, particularly their 3-year-old family friend, if asked if Santa comes to their house. They want to be sensitive but also not lie. They don’t want to tell her they do not believe in Santa and “wreck her fun.” They don’t want to tell her Santa doesn’t come to their house because “then she might be sad for us.” Ideas?
We turned to you, our readers, with this question, and like always, you didn’t disappoint. Here are some great tips from our Facebook fans about this particular December dilemma:
1. My mom always told me that Santa looks for mezuzahs and doesn’t stop at those houses. It’s honest about Santa’s absence but preserves the mystery for kids who do believe. – Caroline B
2. I told my children that there are other releigions and they have their own holidays that are celebrated differently, and that is a postive thing. It is like a birthday party, it is not your day but you celebrate it with your friend. – Debbie R
3. I had no problem with my kids believing in Santa though they definitely understood they were Jewish and Santa was not bringing them presents. But because of friends and other family I members, I didn’t want my kids telling them there was no Santa. So we left cookies and milk out Christmas Eve and told the kids that since Santa was in neighborhood he would come to our house. That was it. Santa’s treat was gone in morning. – Sandi L
4. Santa doesn’t visit Jewish kids. That’s what I tell my kids to answer with. Only our family gets and gives gifts, and giving is the best part. – Melanie N
5. Hanukkah Harry, Santa’s Jewish cousin, comes instead. – Mandy K
6. I always told my kids not to ruin Santa for the kids that believe. And when asked if Santa was real I would respond that I never saw him! So I can’t confirm or deny! I was always told that Santa is very close friends with Hanukkah Harry and TOGETHER they make sure ALL the kids are taken care of! – Susan Z
How do you handle this issue? Let us know in the comments below!