The Santa Protection Program

It’s getting pretty clear we’re going to have to relocate. Possibly to the Middle East. We’ll lay low for a couple of months. Till the garlands are down and the trees have been taken away by the large item trash collectors. It should be safe to return by then.

I’ve tried bribes, threats, and even considered a muzzle. But it’s no hope. My children are going to spill the beans. They are going to tell your children that most dreaded of facts.

Santa isn’t real.

It’s not their fault. It’s ours. We told them, in a calculated move. It was for their own good. Their psychological health and well being were at stake.

It’s bad enough being a Jewish kid at the holidays and not getting to be a part of the tinselfest cocoathon your friends are all enjoying. But having a magical dude snub your entire household is just too much. Much as I hate to admit it, no colorful dreydel, potato pancake or candelabra can really compare to a sleighload of toys pulled by peppermint scented flying reindeer.

Disclaimer: No, we can’t give in and celebrate the holiday. No, even the non religious parts. It’s not how we roll. Please respect that. It’s a slippery slope from Jewish to secular to nothing, and not one we’d like to experiment with at this time. We’re entirely happy to share your holiday with you in YOUR home, but not in ours.

Not bringing the holiday into our home, is the crux of the Santa problem.

“Why does Santa hate the Jews, Mommy?”

Because, shnookums… Santa isn’t real. The mommies and daddies do the shopping. Like we do for you for Hanukah. Santa is *pretend*.

I know! The horror! You hate me right now, don’t you? But what were we supposed to tell the poor kids?

A thousand other answers jump to mind, now that the moment is long gone.

“We don’t need personal shoppers, honey – Santa knows how good at shopping Mommy is.”

“Santa sends our gifts in the mail, you know, because our holiday never lines up with Christmas”

“Santa’s distant cousin Shmuely handles our shopping, honey. He’s got a magic flying ark pulled by milk and honey eating lions”

In the end we opted for honesty though. We did it with the first, and there was no going back She told her sister, her sister told her brother….

Was honesty the best policy? Sure. Until we realized that we might have to join the witness protection program to keep our kids from telling everyone on the block (your kids!) about their beloved magical hero.

I do have a plan this year. I’m telling my 7yo that if he tells anyone about Santa, that aside from my wrath  he”ll have to face the wrath of another. The real magical hero will get pissed off.

That’s right. You don’t want to piss off the tooth fairy when you’re a 7yo with five loose teeth.

Note: This post has been reposted. It was originally posted on Dec 9, 2011. If your children have recently informed all the neighbors that Santa is not real, I offer you the following e-card, along with my utmost sympathies: - That awkward moment when your precocious Jewish child tells all the neighbor kids that Santa isn't real and flying reindeer are physically impossible.


  1. Anonymous says

    sorry, was trying to leave comment earlier —
    my boys have known about santa for a while and yes – it is always a bribe to keep them from sharing with friends…

  2. Sharlene says

    Awesome post! I do appreciate you keeping the secret of us Christmas celebrators and not having your kids tell other kids about Santa. I had a friend whose mom was super Christian and felt there was no place in Christmas for Santa so she never lead her kids to believe it existed and I used to get in screaming matches with her over whether or not he is real. I still believe I am right!

  3. says

    Hilarious! I always wondered how annoying this man could get for all those millions of people who have never, and never will, celebrate him. Never realized you actually had to go through this whole process!

  4. says

    I love this post, Ciaran, not least because you did such a good job explaining why so many of us do not choose to celebrate the “secular” aspects of Christmas.
    I also work REALLY hard on reminding our kids not to spill the beans about Santa. One thing that really helps is giving them the feeling that they are “in” on a really grown up secret. I’ll tell them that grown ups know that Santa is not real, but it’s a really fun story that other kids grow up with and we don”t want to ruin their fun. So now that they know this special information, it’s up to them to keep the fun going for their friends until their parents are ready to tell them, (or they figure it out).

  5. says

    My youngest is 10 and a friend at school told her she is too old to believe in Santa.

    My answer to her was that I still believe, and I do. I believe in the spirit of Santa.

    Santa represents the giving spirit to me. Something I don’t ever plan on givin up

    What’s even better is that my 14 1/2 year old knows, understands, and participates. She even spent her entire earnings, on her sister, father, and me because I only had a small birthday check to spend on them for Christmas.

    Santa may not be able to bring expensive gifts this year, but his spirit is alive and well in our home.

  6. Donna says

    The December dilemma manifests itself in many ways. When I was young, my mom told me presents were brought by the “Chanukah Men.” She also allowed me to visit Santa, and endured the awkward moment when I told him I didn’t want anything for Christmas, because I’m Jewish. I think your way (honesty! what a concept!) is better. Even if there are other unintended consequences.


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