• 7

    Brainiac

    I am surprised at how many no votes there are. Children today are growing up light years faster than previous generations, but to deny them childhood innocence of believing in Santa is unthinkable to me.

  • -24

    T-Mack

    Santa no, Jesus yes

  • -2

    Peter Payne

    T-Mack, damn you got to that before me.

    Yes, harmless and fun things like Santa-san (as the Japanese call him) are great for kids growing up. They eventually learn that Santa = Mom and dad, no harm done.

  • 5

    irishosaru

    Santa Yes.

    Santa gives them something to anticipate and be excited about. When they finally find out it's just the parents, no big deal, as the post above says.

  • -11

    DeDeMouse

    Why kid should believe something that doesn't exist? You just make your kid dumber.

  • -10

    astroboy

    From the comments above you can clearly tell that anyone responding "yes" to the question believes in childhood stupidity and but rephrases it as innocence (or any other euphemism)!!!! I believe in childhood innocence, but I do not believe in their stupidity, so I believe a child should be made aware that Santa clause, like Cinderella, like Mickey Mouse or any other fictional character is nothing but another fictional character and should be recognized as such, go and look into history, this character is a very modern creation and has more to do with consumerism than religion!

  • 7

    cleo

    this character is a very modern creation and has more to do with consumerism than religion!

    Surely that's only a problem if you think Christmas is about religion?

    I loved believing in the fantasy of Father Christmas when I was a kid, I don't think I was dumb or stupid. I loved sharing the fantasy with my own kids, they weren't dumb or stupid either and this year I'll be sharing it with my granddaughter who definitely ain't dumb or stupid. Time enough for stark reality later.

    I only wish Japanese department stores had grottos like back home, where kids can sit on Santa's knee, tell him what they want for Christmas and promise to be good. I've never yet seen a Japanese Santa that didn't have telltale black hair sticking out from under the obviously fake white-hair-and-beard thingy that looks like it came from the ¥100 shop. And they never get the Ho Ho Ho right, either.

    Long live Santa!

  • 0

    USNinJapan2

    astroboy

    I believe in childhood innocence, but...

    Okay, then what to you is childhood innocence that isn't stupid?

  • 5

    USNinJapan2

    Absolutely agree wiht you Cleo! Ten bucks says that 1) astroboy doesn't have kids, and 2) if he did have little ones and ever took them to Disney Land would also tell them that Mickey, Minnie, etc. are just fake suits with people in them. As you say, there's plenty of stark reality waiting for them as they grow up and I honestly don't think fanning their imagination and innocence (yes, innocence) makes them any less prepared for adulthood. In fact I'm of the opinion that doing so provides happy and fond memories from childhood to anchor them and better prepares them for the harsh 'real world'. I believe its one of our most important duties as parents to cram as much fantasy into our kids' childhoods while they're still innocent enough to believe in Santa, flying elephants, and honey-loving teddy bears...

  • 1

    Ms. Alexander

    I agree with Cleo.

    I believed in Santa as a kid so do my kids. The anticipation of Santa and his reindeers coming is awesome. My kids also believe in the tooth fairy. Nothing wrong with that. Doesn't make me or my kids stupid.

  • -2

    astroboy

    From what I read, cleo and USNinJapan2 have misunderstood me! I guess it was my fault (I didn't want the reply to get long). I meant to say that his "reality" is in the same level as the reality of any fictional character, to explain levels I reality I suffice to ask you of the reality of a dream, is a dream real? How do you reply to your child when s/he asks about a dream? It totally depends on how you define real and the same goes for those fictional characters. To be precise I said: "Santa clause, like Cinderella, like Mickey Mouse or any other fictional character is nothing but another fictional character and should be recognized as such". I never said fictional characters (like Mickey Mouse) aren't real, did I?!?!?! I was trying to imply that there are different aspects to "reality" and the child should be made aware of that.

    The way I interpret "Childhood innocence" is that a child is like a blank sheet of paper, you can write anything on it, whether it be stupid or not. It is up to the society (the parents being a part of it) how to fill it up. Let me emphasis again, I adore childhood fantasy and really cherish, encourage and even try to learn from it (I believe it is very important for us adults to learn this from our children since we have lost this ability!). I hope I have explained enough.

  • 1

    2020hindsights

    I can't believe the number of No's and I would agree with other posters that they probably don't have kids.

    What's wrong with your kids to experience the excitement and wonder of Christmas (and other fantasies) before they grow up and learn the reality of the world. It doesn't make them dumber. If they still believed in Santa at 15, then yes, they are dumber. But while they are kids, let them be kids.

  • 7

    cleo

    astroboy, I really don't want to get on your case here - what you tell your kids is your own business - but in trying to explain how we've misunderstood you, you repeat that Santa (and Mickey Mouse & friends) is nothing but another fictional character and should be recognized as such. Mmm, 'fictional' means 'not real'....so leaving aside the question of Christmas, kids should also have the 'magic of disney' knocked out of them in no uncertain terms? Seems to me you're emphasizing what you wrote first time round, not explaining any misunderstandings....

    When my daughter was 2 years old we took her to Tokyo Disneyland at Christmas, and she was chosen out of the crowd to go up on stage and 'light' the Christmas tree, 'helped' by Minnie, Mickey and Alice of Wonderland fame. The look on her face was sheer magic. When she was 7 and her brother 4, we were in the UK at Christmas and my Dad had a mate of his pop round dressed as Father Christmas (he was on his way to a children's charity party). Again, sheer magic. Who wouldn't want that in their kids' lives?

    Whatever, I hope your kids (and you) have a lovely Christmas, with or without Santa.

  • -1

    Ms. Alexander

    *I was trying to imply that there are different aspects to "reality" and the child should be made aware of that. *

    I don't think parents should make them aware that Santa is not real. Kids are made aware that Santa is not real at some point in their childhood - some sooner and some later than others. It's a part of growing up. They also figure out sooner or later that there is a real person inside Mickey or Pluto at Disneyland. No one, regardless of whether you believe in it or not, should tell a child that Santa isn't real...or is just a fictional character. That is something time will tell.

  • -6

    astroboy

    2020hindsights: There are so many other nice and fun ways to get your children "to experience the excitement and wonder of Christmas (and other fantasies)", why lie to them about Santa bringing the gifts? The moment they realize it was a lie or as Peter Payne put it "Santa = Mom and dad", there will be two ways they can react: Be ignorant to it (as everyone here seems to suggest and call it childhood innocence and thus take the first step in a life full of ignorance as many adults have) or loose trust in many other things their parents told them when they were small. None of these two is good if you ask me, for me it was the second. Everyone who has replied "yes" encourages ignorance in the name of fantasy or childhood innocence or wonder while all of these (fantasy and ...) can be real, but they don't necessarily have to come with ignorance.

    Telling the child Santa is real is THE EASIEST way (with all the media drowning the kids with his reality, of course they have their financial reasons and I don't blame them, their job is to make money). As I guess we have all seen in our life, the easiest way is not always the best!

    • Moderator

      Please stop saying that anyone who answers yes encourages ignorance. That is offensive. You must state your case better than that.

  • 3

    akumakoe

    Goodness, astroboy. I don't think anyone is going to change his mind. Santa is apparently an evil icon of consumerism and Disney sows seeds of stupidity in children, I guess.

    For me, it's also about -imagination-. Sure, raise your kid from the get go with all the harsh realities of life laid out in front of them and see how much joy they get out of their life. Being a kid is supposed to be a learning experience, yes, but it's also a time where the world is still full of mysteries and we can have fun exploring them and learning for ourselves.

    My parents were adamant about Santa being real, but my brothers and I are terribly curious creatures who bombarded them with suspicious questions from a young age -- "How can Santa be at all those malls at the same time?" "How can Christmas be expensive if Santa brings gifts for free?" I think for my sibs and I, it just encouraged critical thinking and great amounts of curiosity and imagination; all good things to have (and things that are all too rare) in the adult world.

  • 0

    akumakoe

    ...not to mention, it encouraged great imagination on my parents' part to come up with answers to our questions that were believable without blowing the Santa secret.

  • 2

    WilliB

    It is harmless make-belief; why the hell deny them the fun. They will find out reality soon enough.

  • -7

    astroboy

    Cleo: Thank you, I wish you have a wonderful Christmas too. I understand what you are saying, when I say real, I don't mean material [explained more in the P.S.] . As I said, when your kids (or grand kids) ask of dreams what do you tell them? Or to be more scientific, do you consider Mathematics and Physics to be real? In terms of being constructs of the brain, they are not any more real than the dreams you have at night. They are just a dream shared and completed by all humans through out history and when we are awake (contrary to dreams that we personally have at night), but this doesn't make them any more real than a dream: they are still a construct of our brains (and thus not materially real). The way I interpret "fictional" is that the fictional thing is not material and does not have a material [explained more in the P.S.] reality associated with it. It doesn't mean that it can't exist in our dreams, our hopes and our fantasies (our non-material [explained more in the P.S.] aspect).

    In the case of Santa, these two get mixed, because parents tell their children that Santa has materially brought the gifts and thus mix the two notions of reality in a very destructive way for the children as far as I am concerned (explained above).

    P.S. By material I mean everything that we have been able to quantitatively and objectively explain in scientific terms.

    To the Moderator: I am sorry if I have offended anyone. To be more clear I mean that we should not tell the children something that we are later going to deny the reality of. The child (as was the case with me) might be offended when they get old enough.

  • 0

    2020hindsights

    I remember at a relative young age being told by a kid at school (I was 5, I think) that Santa wasn't real. I remember I kept the pretense in front of my parents (probably so I still got presents) but eventually my brother and sister confronted our mother and she let us know he wasn't real. But she asked that we pretend we still believe for the sake of our little sister. I remember almost giving it away several times, but she believed for many years later until she worked it out herself. (Santa was in one store and then a different Santa was in a different store).

    Even as a pretty young kid, I was happy that my sister sill believed and envied her. I could see that my parents were happy that we didn't spoil the magic.

    Part of life's journey is initially being ignorant and then finding out things...

  • 2

    cabadaje

    I love the story of Santa. I love telling Christmas stories to my nieces and nephews. In their younger days, I would go as far as dressing the part, although even at the tender age of 5 they were looking at me oddly, as if somehow aware that Santa bore a striking resemblance to their currently missing uncle.

    And I encourage this. Every year, the story gets a little more transparent, the conspiratorial winks get a little longer, the delightful secret of where the presents are really coming from gets a little closer. This is the age where a child slowly, but surely begins to realize that there is a difference between fantasy and reality. Children of 5-8 are already aware of different "universes" (for lack of a better word), in that they have a rudimentary understanding that Batman, My Little Ponies, and us, do not inhabit the same reality. They begin to pick up on subtle nuances, much more than adults think they do. They begin to question, trying to get more detail, because at a fundamental level, they are starting to realize that these stories do not seem to be adding up.

    In other words, they are learning how to be good skeptics. They are learning that not everything has to be taken literally, and there is nothing wrong with believing in something if the result is happiness and joy. As a child grows out of their childhood innocence, where the only method they have to understand the world around them is the word of their guardians, they begin to think for themselves, making their own connections, coming to their own conclusions.

    Would I encourage my child to believe in Santa? I would tell my child about Santa. I would read them the stories. I would sing them the songs. If my child flat out asks me if Santa is real, I would gently tell him that he isn't asking the right question. My role in their lives is to teach them how to think. To simply give them the answer to the question would serve no purpose other than to support the belief that the word of their guardians is final and absolute. If they shared their conclusions with me, I would give them the serious consideration they merit, given the amount of thought children put into these things, and then prod them along to ask different questions.

    Last year, my eldest niece, at 8 years old, quietly asked me why she had seen her mother buy a doll for her sister, and yet the same doll had been wrapped with card from Santa. I asked her what she thought. She told me that maybe Santa emailed her mother (times, they are a'changing) to tell her that her sister had asked for that doll, but I could tell she wasn't completely sold on that idea. I asked her why her mother would put Santa's name on the gift, instead of her own. She had to contemplate this over a bowl of Mac n Cheese (my specialty), and finally, through a trail of logic too convoluted to describe here, decided that maybe Santa had not emailed mommy the hint, but that maybe he was so busy with the kids who were not getting presents from their family that mommy was helping him by buying her sister a present and giving Santa the credit for it.

    At 8 years of age, she had determined there was something amiss, had asked the proper questions to get more information, had logically (to a certain degree) thought out a possible scenario, and concluded that sometimes, even the most magical of beings needs a helping hand, and that it is perfectly all right to do something nice for others without demanding recognition for it.

    Does she still believe in Santa? The question got lost somewhere in the shuffle. No loss. It really isn't all that important.

  • 3

    Ah_so

    Believing in Father Christmas/Santa Claus (actually 2 different characters, now merged) is part of the fun of growing up, both as a child and a parent. As children get older, watching them work out the truth is also part of the fun, elquoently described by cabadaje in the post above this. It is the child using its own analytical powers to reason about reality, rather than what it has been told by all the adults around it - a key part of growing up.

  • 6

    Carcharodon

    "I'm telling Santa" a threat that any naughty 5 year old boy can grasp quite well, works wonder :-)

    The "web cam" sensor trap in our living room even caught footage of him the past two years delivering presents in our house on Xmas eve, we have proof he exists! I myself was too inquisitive as a kid and found the Xmas stash in the parents closet and figured it out, I didn't really care , I was still getting presents and enjoying a fantastic day with all my family. some of my best memories of my childhood were at Christmas. I cottoned on to the tooth fairy rouse and the easter bunny too. Kids will find out the truth, let them dream and imagine while they can.

    You can spot the posters without children of their own, can't you? or those with bitter memories of the festive season.

  • 4

    ikemen

    I honestly can't remember believing in Santa Claus, and I was the kind of shy kid who was a little scared of going and talking to Santa in the department store. I also wondered why some wore glasses and other didn't. I had a policy of never ever telling my kids something that wasn't true. But then my wife who is Japanese insists on the Santa story and so does her mother.

    So, I'd be a real humbug if I rained on their parade and killed their fun. So my kids believe in Santa. I think my it's more important to my wife than the kids, because she has so many happy memories and wants to repeat them. I think we're all like that.

    i like what Cleo said about watching the joy on the face of a child. Anyone who's had kids knows that there's nothing better in the world in seeing your own child's face filled with wonderment and joy. So, if santa does that for a few years, I can defer.

  • 1

    ikemen

    I really like the way Japanese kids keep the secret too. Rotten Aussie kids always seemed to take delight in telling the younger ones that they were stupid for believing it. I don't hear of Japanese doing that.

  • 1

    Tom DeMicke

    What?! There's no Santa?! Dang!! No but seriously, I think the point in teaching your children that there "is" a Santa is to get them to believe in hope and miracles. Convincing them that there "is" a Santa Claus only reinforces them to maintain a positive outlook on life in the future. Believing in Santa to me equals believing in one's God (if that applies to the child), hope, and prosperity. I say, teach them there is a Santa, maybe not in a physical form but in a sort of spiritual form. But let them decide whenever. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!

  • -1

    Tessa

    I kept "believing" in Santa until I was 14, because I wanted to keep getting the presents. One day my dad pulled me aside and told me the truth. I acted really shocked.

  • 6

    DentShop

    Why kid should believe something that doesn't exist? You just make your kid dumber.

    Actually, the exact opposite is true.

    Humans have the unique ability to imagine what is not or has never been. That cognisance is responsible for our own self-awareness. Another uniquely human trait.

    And besides, do we only believe in what we poke with a stick? Is love real? Of course it is. But it doesnt have an atomic weight.

    Western culture is slowly being stripped bare of all its mythology and legends due to sophist crybabies who get their kicks out of pissing in others' corn flakes.

  • 2

    cwhite

    I believe in Father Christmas more than I do in a God. I hope my kids believe in Saint Nick for as long as possible.

  • 0

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    When do kids stop believing in Santa here? When I was 8 I knew what was going on, but here they seem to be able to swallow the myth a lot longer. Which works for me, since, as someone above noted, "Right, I'm telling Santa" is a guaranteed homework motivation enhancer.

  • 1

    Frank Vaughn

    A person has but to read the classic essay "Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause." to have all the reason in the world to teach children about him.

    I did it in the past and I will do it with the grandchildren.

  • 2

    malfupete

    If you don't believe in Santa then you shouldn't celebrate christmas.. "Santa" can really be anyone who gives you a gift and not necessarily the big man in the red suit

    and just thank your lucky stars you don't live in the alpine countries (austria, germany, parts of hungary) or you'd have to contend with the Krampus

  • -2

    Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

    Absolutely not. I think the people that think believing in fairly tales has some kind of benefit to people, young or not, are way off.

  • 0

    Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

    I might also say that I do have kids. On Christmas, we give presents to each other. No need to invent magic old grandpas to do it. It's all about the family in this house.

    I don't remember ever believing in Santa and it was either because I was smart enough to see what was really happening, or my parents didn't care enough to try and trick me into believing some old fable was really true.

  • 3

    cabadaje

    I think the people that think believing in fairly tales has some kind of benefit to people, young or not, are way off.

    Could you expand on that a little?

  • 2

    zichi

    If you don't believe in Santa you can always send him an email or write to him.

    SANTA CLAUS NORTH POLE HOH OHO CANADA

  • -6

    T-Mack

    I only tell my kids the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...my kids are hardworking honest people...and I never taught them to believe in fiction. or santa claus.

  • 0

    T-Mack

    @Peter Payne, I find no fault in people who teach their kids about Santa Claus, It's just not what I did...or would ever do. I always want my children to trust me, so I will always painfully tell the truth...so far so good!!!

  • 4

    cabadaje

    I only tell my kids the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...

    Right.

  • 2

    noriyosan73

    This survey need a clarification. Who voted? Western people or Japanese. The site is in English. Guess what? The voted yes. Try again JT. It is not about telling the truth. It is about the survey of the correct group.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    Yes, of course people should encourage their young kids to believe in Santa, but the most important thing is to teach your kids to believe in Christmas. It is the spirit of giving and caring that is most important. These traits are things that will last long after their belief of the jolly old man in a red suit fades.

  • 0

    tsukki

    "Do you or did you..."? How about "Will you..."? Single childless girl right here. Anyway, I answered yes because I think it would be a great cognitive exercise for kids to find out on their own that Santa doesn't exist, just like I did.

  • 0

    Serrano

    I know Santa Claus exists because Tommy Lee Jones met him during filming of a Suntory Boss Rainbow Mountain can coffee commercial last year.

  • 1

    KariHaruka

    Yes I do. As a kid I loved the magic behind the whole Santa thing and now as a Dad I love seeing the excitement on my little girls face when I tell her on Christmas Eve that Santa is coming and to leave the cookies, milk and carrot for him and the reindeer.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    I don't have kids yet, but I will certainly ensure Santa Claus is part of their lives. In no way does it encourage 'stupidity' or 'ignorance'. Most of us grew up with it and I daresay most of us are not that ignorant (about most things). It gives the kids a sense of magic and wonder in a world that can otherwise be dull and full of dismay. Most of us who grew up with Santa can, I'm sure, look back on our own childhood with very fond memories about leaving cookies, writing and receiving letters, etc. Sure, there are disappointments, and eventually kids always figure it out (hence they are not ignorant at all), but Christmas is great, and Santa a great part of it.

  • 0

    T-Mack

    If your kid's grow up, are honest, and get a job, well then you must have chosen wisely. However if your child is in prison or in trouble with the law? then you chose poorly, and Santa Claus and the belief in him will not matter. Better to have a family that loves each other...

  • 2

    Aída Posadas

    Of course we all enjoyed the illusion and joy of believing something magical in a part of a childhood, and so we want that for our children too. Because, childhood finds an end so quickly that you wish to stay young forever and never have to find out the some of the horrible truths of life

    Maybe the guys that are against it had a huge trauma while finding out the truth and don't want to do that to their own children, so just live and let live. Everyone has an opinion, and no-one has a definitive answer.

  • 0

    Dennis Bauer

    Santa Claus is not real, St. Nicholas is real! we in Holland celebrate it on the 5th of December!

  • 3

    Meguroman

    I have 2 young boys and though I`m personally agnostic, we certainly do the Santa thing. They are already planning the cookies for Santa and snacks for his reindeer. Definitely, fun & joy watching them anticipate the day. The 7 yr old I think is going along with it for his younger brother (no coaching from me) ...and that in itself is a wonderful thing to see.

  • 3

    Mirai Hayashi

    Santa does not encourage ignorance. If anything, Santa encourages hope, dreams, and imagination. I think if you take away something as innocent and fun like Santa Claus from a child, you are essentially robbing them of their childhood, and they'll grow up to be cynical and spiteful. There are already so many bad elements in society that take away a child's innocence, they don't need a their own parents to teach them cynicism at such a young age.

  • 2

    Victoria Maude

    I don't have any kids, but when I was a child, I definitely believed in Santa Claus. It made the Christmas season into this sort of mystical time where anything was possible, and, to a child's fantastically boundless mind, it creates a really unique feeling. The rest of the year is just normal, but as soon as Christmas rolls around, it's different. I was probably about 10 or 11 when I figured out that he wasn't real, but it didn't emotionally damage me. I was becoming more analytically minded, and just figured out that the physics of a large man carrying enough toys on a sleigh for all the world just wasn't feasible, but I kept up appearences for my younger brother. We're both now in our 20s, but I don't think we experienced any sort of lasting effects from believing in Santa. If I have kids, I'm sure that I'll enjoy watching them experience the same wonder I did.

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