I NEVER buy my kids gifts at Christmas or lie about Santa

DEAR JANE: I refuse to lie to my kids about Santa and NEVER buy them gifts at Christmas – my family says I’m EVIL but I just want my children to grow up in the real world

  • In her latest agony aunt column, best-selling author Jane Green shares advice with a mother whose holiday ethos is being bashed by her family members 
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Dear Jane,

Whenever this time of year rolls around I am filled with a sense of dread. Not because I hate the holidays, but because I know that I’m going to end up facing awful judgment and criticism from those around me over how I treat my children during the festive season.

I’ve never let my kids buy into the whole lie about Santa – I think it’s stupid. 

Ever since they were old enough to understand what Santa was, I’ve told them he’s not a real man, that he’s a symbol of Christmas for some people. 

My decision to tell my kids the truth about ‘Santa’ was made for a number of reasons. First, I don’t think it’s right to lie to children and create some silly fantasy that will inevitably be shattered and leave them heartbroken. 

But I also don’t want my children to think that Christmas is just about the gifts, which so many kids do.

Dear Jane, I have always refused to lie to my children about Santa and don’t buy them gifts at Christmas because I want them to grow up in the real world – my family says that’s ‘evil’ 

Instead, I have always raised them to see this time of year as one for being with family, for doing acts of service, and for spreading joy to others. And you don’t need to spend big amounts of money in order to do that.

I don’t buy my kids gifts at Christmas, nor do my husband and I expect anything from them, unless it’s something homemade that they want to share with us.

I then take any money that I save on gifts and so on and put it into a college fund for them. Which seems like a far better use of my earnings than frivolous gifts!

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

Yet other people seem to find this stance impossible to understand. I’ve been called a ‘Scrooge’, told that I’m ‘evil’, and even my own family members have accused me of ‘bullying’ and ‘abusing’ my children by ‘banning’ them from having a real Christmas.

I’m not trying to deprive my kids, I’d just rather keep their feet on the ground and their heads out of the clouds so they can understand what it means to live in the real world, rather than one filled with fantasies and over-the-top spending.

How can I make my loved ones see that I’m not a Scrooge – just a realist?


Bad Santa

Dear Bad Santa,

It’s really hard to go against the grain when you’re raising kids in today’s world.

There is so much judgment, so many expectations, and should we not do what everyone else is doing – over-scheduling the kids, feeding them a steady diet of chicken nuggets and pizza, or lavishing them with extravagant gifts at Christmas – we’re made to feel like the odd one out, like we’re doing something wrong.

I speak as a big Christmas fan. I love everything about it, and for many, it’s a magical holiday, all sparkling lights, Christmas tree farms, hot chocolate, and friends and family around a fire. 

For you, it’s something different, but equally important.

There is nothing wrong with no Santa and no gifts. In fact, what you choose to do instead is rather lovely. I am always slightly in awe of people who spend Thanksgiving and Christmas doing acts of service, and as you put it, spreading joy.

I would completely ignore what other people are saying, and continue do celebrate in the way that’s right for your family. 

If extended family members continue to make derisive comments, ask them not to speak to you like that, or you/they will have to leave. And then, hold firm on that. No-one needs to be bullied by anyone for choosing a different route, least of all family.

Your children are lucky to have parents with their values firmly in the right place. A happy and merry everything to you!

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