Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Memories

There always was a certain excitement on Easter morning. We would wait upstairs for the "go ahead" to start looking for eggs. Hurrying to get to our baskets, my brother and sister and I paused in the kitchen.

It was a mess. Pieces of torn lettuce were strewn on the floor and table. The reason?

My parents offer this as the reason: "Looks like you didn't leave out carrots and lettuce for the Easter Bunny and he got upset!"

And guess who had to clean it up?

Our Easter Bunny was as vicious and mean-spirited as they come.

When I was in first grade, my parents signed me up for softball in the spring. I was really looking forward to it. I told my parents over and over that I hoped the Easter Bunny would bring me a bat and ball and mitt so I would be ready for the season. They always replied, "I don't think you can request specific things from the Easter Bunny." I, of course, was 7 and didn't care. The night before Easter I wrote the Easter Bunny a note and put it by my basket.

Dear Easter Bunny,
I would like a softball and bat and mitt.
I woke up Easter morning all excited. I ran to my basket and found a new note in green crayon.
The Easter Bunny doesn't take requests. I am not Santa!
Ok. Not sure what was up with that since our Easter Bunny obviously felt that he deserved treats like Santa, but didn't take the time to be as personable. My reaction? Well, I was 7, so...

I cried.

A year later I learned the truth about the holiday characters (and Tooth Fairy). I have no clue what my parents were thinking when they made the Easter bunny to be a bitter fiend. Was it some sort of joke for them? Did they enjoy watching us clean the kitchen? I cried! My kids are NOT going to cry over a made up character. And I really don't want that to be the focus of our holidays.

McKay, who enjoyed the fictional characters of his youth, did tell me that our Easter Bunny doesn't have to be vile. This is true. But McKay did go on to mention a cousin who felt deceived and betrayed by his parents when he found out "the truth." I said we really don't know how our kids will react- do we want to risk the chances of having a kid who would feel cheated and lied to?

I think we're skipping out on Santa for our kids. It's just too much.


  1. My parents went the opposite and told us very early on because they didn't want to lie to their kids, but I sort of felt like I missed out. I've decided to shoot for a happy medium. I don't push the Santa thing and make up a lot of stories and when they ask, I just turn the question back on them or we say that it is something people like to believe in and you can choose to if you want but I also still have fun with it and let them think things if they want because I think it is fun for kids to have stories and imaginations.

  2. I cried and felt betrayed too when I found out the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny. But on the other hand, those fantasy critters were a big part of my fun holiday experiences as a kid. I think we are going to take a middle-of-the-road approach with Iris. We'll probably include Santa in the holiday festivities, but in such a way that she knows it's a game. Also, I won't lie to her about it, or insist that she lies to other people. I think that's an approach that will work for us, and be a good compromise with the rest of the family. It's so hard to make decisions about this kind of stuff!

  3. My parents always did easter bunny/santa/tooth fairy as "fun things to pretend" but none of us ever believed it was real. We put out stockings, and hunted for baskets...but we all knew perfectly well who filled/hid them (we would all ahve to sit in one room of the house while dad hid the baskets everywhere for FHE--Easter Sunday was for Christ, monday was for baskets--and we all knew that we got twice as much candy in the baskets if mom shopped the 50% off sale on monday morning!)
    DH really likes doing santa, and having ds write a wish letter etc...but I have worked to maintain a 'santa spirit' of love and giving, but I refuse to actually tell my son that santa is real. When he brings it up, I just ask him what he thinks...

  4. Yeah, we never grew up thinking Santa was real and we only got presents from our parents, not Santa. I don't feel like I missed out at all on the excitement of the holidays by not "believing" in Santa.

  5. Too funny! I did feel very deprived about not getting to "believe" in Halloween. No costumes, no trick-r-treating, nothing.

    It's super interesting to see my parents with my kids now. Santa is alive and well when the grandparents are around!

  6. I really enjoyed the whole Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy thing. My parents had fun ...

    For Christmas:
    My sister and I would leave out milk and cookies and in the morning there would only be crumbs. Also they would put soot on some boots and make prints from the fire place to the tree.

    Anyway ... I figured it out on my own. And it wasn't a betrayl thing or my hopes had been dashed ... my parents were helping to create a special time of year for us. Since I had a little sister they would listen to how I had "figured it out" and they would laugh and I would promise to let my sister find out on her own.

    It's not a big falacy it's a make believe game between parents and their kids. As we got older there were fewer and fewer presents from Santa and when me and my sister were adults we don't get anything from Santa. We didn't have to sit down and have a family meeting about it or anything, it was a game that we all secretly played together and I can't imagine my childhood without it.

    Also in my house we had leprechons on St Pat's day that would leave us shoes. I would build little contraptions to try to catch the lephrachons ... it was fun. The trap would always be sprung and shoes be inside it.

    The Easter bunny wasn't some huge make believe character, it just left us baskets of candy. My mom hid the eggs, we always knew that. Sometimes my dad would create a "treasure map" and have us go throughout the yard for a special suprise.

    I'm sorry your parents weren't very kind about the Easter bunny, but I personaly had fun and looked forward to the special days and appreciated my parents even more for playing along and giving me such fun opportunities as a child. I am very grateful to them.

  7. Mommy Bee, that is a great idea!

    Wow, your parents were sadistic. I don't think I'll lie about Santa with the two LOs. I believed in Santa until I was 12. My mom says she old me the truth years before, but either she's wrong or I am missing a significant part of my brain. In any case, I felt mighty embarrassed to be the only 7th grader who didn't know Santa wasn't real.

  8. I like the pretending that Mommy Bee's family did. A nice happy medium of creating excitement, but no risk of issues later on.

    And I agree with Emily that your parents are sadistic! Why did they bother to do even have an Easter Bunny?!

  9. Every time we see a blown-up or dressed-up Santa, Scott whispers in Soren's ear, "Santa's not real."

    I think that kids won't feel like they're "missing out" if they feel like their family does something special and different instead. If you focus on the positive substitutions you've made in your family, then I think getting rid of Santa is do-able.

    Which is totally what we're going to do.

  10. I agree---Josh pointed out once that if we go overboard (making Santa, or other mystical holiday creatures, into REALITY or some way to threaten our kids into "being good") then we really miss the point of the fun that comes with the holidays. He said that believing in Santa also made him wonder if God was real---his parents told him Santa was real even though you can't see him, and that Santa would give him gifts if he was good, and they also told him that God was real even though you can't see Him and would give him things if he was good---so if Santa wasn't real, was God? Interesting thing to think about. As I said as a comment in your last post, I didn't grow up being taught that any holiday creatures were real---just fun symbols of the holiday that some kids believed existed. I don't feel deprived---I actually felt bad for the kids that DID believe in Santa, because it just simply wasn't true. I think there are just easier ways to teach your children to be good and give to others.

  11. I am TOTALLY doing the Santa thing with my children...I can't wait. I was 12 also when I found out and I was a little embarassed for like 15 minutes but realized how much fun I had because my mom let us use our childhood imaginations. I think maybe because of bad things in my chilodhoood like my parents getting divorced and my dad being a jerk, holding on to childhood things like Santa kept my childhood for longer. By the time I was 10-12 years old my thought process was, "well if you didn't believe in me, I wouldn't give you presents" so I did not doubt all those kids who told me their parents really got the made sense. I always feel sad inside I guess because of how much fun I had with it all when I hear a 6 year old tell me that there is no Santa...the mean ole' real world will hit them soon enough I say. Sorry you had a bad experience as a kiddo, though.

  12. Ugh! My parents did the threatening thing with "If you don't believe you won't get gifts" and I hated that! I always hated how Christmas morning was so staged and annoying. Andrew and I do Christmas in the German tradition: We open all of our gifts on Christmas eve and then have stockings on Christmas morning. We don't want to overdo Santa, or gifts because it takes away from the real reason that we give gifts. Thanks for getting me thinking about Easter. I really like Mommy Bee's family tradition of having Easter baskets for FHE on Monday.

  13. santa doesn't have to be the holiday version of watergate. there doesn't have to be a lot of cover-ups and burning of documents.

    we do santa here. he actually called the other night. there's a small part of me that actually still believes that somewhere there is a magical old elf that is relying on my magic to make him real, and that is why i don't see him anymore, because i doubt. but you know i'm crazy.

    it's not about being good and getting stuff (although that helps) it is about magic and that special holiday feeling. i'm using this word a lot in this post, MAGIC.

    he can be magical, he can be special. i never felt betrayed. that first christmas of "knowing the truth" was a bummer, but after that i got to help continue the magic for my younger siblings, and i loved seeing the sparkle in their eyes that i was missing. i was able to steal some magic back from them, kwim?

    we never did the easter bunny, just the traditional hiding and hunting.

    i love the leprachaun idea, might have to start using that one.

  14. Santa Claus is something that we're still discussing. I don't like the idea of pushing Santa on the kids. I think we'll teach it as a fun tradition, but always discuss the real reason for Christmas.

    My father told the primary that the Easter Bunny was fake. Of course, thats because the primary president had her husband come into primary dressed in a bunny suit and hand out easter eggs. In fact, I don't remember anything about the Atonement being taught that day until my father stepped in. Good times.

  15. We do the "Santa is a fun thing to pretend, but it's really all of us giving to each other to honor Christ's gift to us" approach. This includes giving to strangers once the Invasion of the Grandparents's Gifts begins, lol. I honestly don't remember believing in Santa growing up, but I LOVE Christmas. Love love love it. I don't need Santa to feel the Christmas spirit, but we let the girls know about it, esp because one grandma labels her presents "from Santa." I'm not going to totally suppress their imaginations though. My oldest believes in dragons ;)

  16. And no sadistic Easter Bunnies here either. Did you ever see Donnie Darko? That's how I imagine your Easter Bunny. The Evil Chocolate Bunny.


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