Hubby and I came from two completely different ends of the spectrum in regards to Santa Claus. Hubby grew up in a household where Santa was seen as nothing more than a myth. His family didn't have a Christmas tree and/or many other holiday decorations. He was taught that Christmas should be focused on celebrating the birth of Jesus and Santa, Frosty, and such were simply a distraction from that focus.
I, on the other hand, grew up in a different kind of household. Sure, I knew that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus. I attended Catholic school and we went to Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve. But, I still strongly believed in Santa. I think I literally fell asleep on Christmas Eve with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. I just knew that Santa Claus was real. Come on, he knew what was on my Christmas list and brought me those things every year! Obviously, the man was real!
Because of the differences in our upbringing, hubby and I had to discuss what we would tell our children about Santa. He initially wanted demonize Santa. But, I didn't see the point in that. I wanted to be careful not to lie to the kids. Why tell them he is a real person when he is not? Or, why tell them that Santa is "The Devil" when he is not? So, we decided that the truth was just that Santa is pretend or make-believe.
So, we don't make a big deal about turning the channel at commercials that feature Santa. When we hear our kids singing, "Santa Claus is coming to town" I remind them that he, in fact, will not be coming to town. (Although, some years I wish that he was). Our children have seemed to receive our explanation just fine, until this year.
This year, they asked me could they leave cookies and milk out for Santa. I answered "Well, Santa is pretend. He is make-believe just like Elmo or Big Bird."
They answered, *with sly little grins* "We know. We just want to leave the cookies and milk for him anyway."
I guess they feel the need to test this out in their own laboratory. I find this so amusing, I think I might let them.