The Kid Who Ruined Christmas


I waited in line at Target yesterday behind a woman buying a Santa costume, reindeer footprints, fake snow and a cookie plate to feed the fictitious character. “My nine year old still believes,” she giddily told the cashier. Having an almost nine year old myself, I was pretty incredulous that any kid that age still bought the whole Santa thing, but if she wanted to put forth all that effort, more power to her. I’ve never been so glad to be Jewish.

I mean, there’s no way I’d be up for all of the work that you Christmas celebrating parents have to put forth. You must successfully convince your children that an overweight man, carted by twelve reindeer in the sky, delivered their presents via the chimney while they were sleeping. I have friends who leave faux evidence of reindeer poop or have family come dressed as Santa so they have photographic proof of the visit. Personally, I want some credit for the gifts, since I’m the one who shopped for them, bought them and wrapped them. But, bravo to you folks who go the whole nine yards.

You know who else deserves a bravo? The children belonging to those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas. It turns out, they are the true heroes of the season. Imagine the pressure those kids face of being in on the act and not being able to tell their friends that the whole thing is a hoax. We train our kids to tell the truth, but they have to bite their tongues while their friends get their pictures taken at the mall and find elves invading their homes and track Santa’s whereabouts online. The whole damn advent calendar is like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to see if our kid is going to be the asshole who ruins Christmas for the ones who still believe.

So, while you’re decorating your gingerbread houses or baking your Santa cookies or making your world famous fudge, think of that nice Jewish kid in you child’s class and make an extra batch for him. He’s been working his ass off for you and never gets any credit. Or, he’s the one you’re cursing for blowing the whole thing. In that case, cut him a little slack. He really did try.


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  1. 3

    Kate says

    I have 2 teens and my youngest will be 3 on Monday… I had to tell the teens ‘If you don’t believe in Santa, he won’t bring you presents.’

    Essentially that if they blow it for their baby sister they get NADA! LOL

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    • 4

      Shannon says

      I am in that same situation, I have a 2 year old and older children, ages 9, 12, 14, and 15. The 12 and 14 year olds are my step sons. Their mother chose to tell them at a very young age that their is no Santa. However, she didn’t remember to mention that they needed to keep that information to themselves! When I met my husband, my children were 8 and 3. My 8 year old still believed and obviously so did my 3 year old. My now step sons ruined it for my oldest that year, by telling her. After I found out, I was so mad! They were told not to tell my youngest. And only a couple years later, they ruined it for him, too. I was furious with them, but also with their mother! They are not Jewish, their mother just decided to tell them the difference. Now we have a 2 year old. And the older ones have all been warned. It might seem “stupid” to the Jewish people and the people that just don’t want to have their children believe in Santa. But to me, there is a magic of Christmas and Santa, for the little ones. I love the smiles on their faces and how excited they get when Santa is coming. Once they stop believing, they start being greedy.

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        • 6

          Shannon says

          While that’s true, I have also found that once they stop believing and realize that your the one buying the gifts, they get greedy and when they don’t get everything they wanted, they are more likely to complain about it to you.

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          • 7

            Ariana says

            We Jews don’t think it’s stupid. Though I will say that it’s a missed opportunity for kids to learn gratitude and giving. Xmas is not about what Santa brought them…so perhaps the innocent deception is what precipitates the bratty behavior that accompanies the truth.

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          • 8

            danielle says

            Nope kids can be bratty before they know the truth. My 4 year old is an example of this. He was whining in a store about all the things he wanted Santa to bring him just yesterday. Yep, that was a fun parenting moment. I told him Santa didn’t like greed and greedy children get nothing. A woman over hearing me was not impressed with my comment.

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  2. 10

    They Call Me Mummy says

    Scary Mommy, I love this. I love it times a zillion.

    I had to break it to my four year old today that we don’t get to have Christmas. She is so amped up about it from day care and all her friends and she buys into it completely. I explained to her that Santa doesn’t come to Jewish people’s houses but she is SO LUCKY because she gets Channukah. Which is so much fun. I mean who doesn’t want to light a candle once a day for 8 days and do all that other cool Channukah stuff? Oh…yeah…there isn’t any other cool Channukah stuff…


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  3. 15

    Evin says

    I’ve always wondered… For parents who don’t do Santa, what do you threaten your kids with the entire last half of the year?!?! Santa is my parenting wing man, baby. He can get the credit for the gifts because he keeps those lil effers in line!!! At least till Dec 26 :)

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    • 16

      Scary Mommy says

      I threaten with taking away a night of Hanukkah, of course, like any good Jewish mother. But that would come in handy to blame it on someone else. I’m jealous.

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      • 17

        Heidi Lippy Sprinkle says

        Well then I suppose I should go back in time and thank all of my Jewish friends’ moms…taking away a night of Hanukkah would have been a big motivator to stay mum! ;)

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  4. 18

    Modern Mia Gardening says

    Santa doesn’t come to our house. Frankly, I’m a bit of a Grinch about it. Like you mentioned in the post, I’m not giving that gift-picking-out stress to some strange guy who comes down my chimney, eats my food, and leaves. Stranger-danger anyone?

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  5. 19

    Cindy Burton says

    I freaking love this. I didn’t teach my 5 year old to believe in Santa; the rest of the world did. We also refuse to let Santa take the credit. He does the stockings in our house. When my husband spends hours putting toys together on Christmas Eve, you can be damn sure he wants to be the one getting the credit.

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  6. 20

    Beth says

    My best friend growing up was Jewish and now that you put it like that, I have to wonder if she ever wanted to tell me?! Maybe she was a better best friend than I ever even knew.

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  7. 22

    Heidi Lippy Sprinkle says

    I am not sure whether to laugh or say “hmmm….so cynical.” I grew up a Christian within a Jewish community and not once did I have a friend who “ruined” my holiday experience. And I jumped into the Jewish traditions as well (Chanukah was fun!). Perhaps I am not so worried about any of my nice Jewish friends blowing Christmas for my girls, ages 5, 7, & 11 (all still Santa smitten!) because that is the smaller part of our holiday celebration. After all, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ – a religious holiday not a secular one, though the world does try! So don’t worry…many out here who do celebrate Christmas, both the secular and religious, have never once blamed any of their Jewish friends for ruining a holiday. Besides sometimes the pretending is half the fun. Like the boy in Polar Express, even I still believe! Blessings!

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    • 23

      Kari says

      I LOVE this comment!!!! After reading this post I was bugged and thought, “Geez bah humbug!” but then i read your comment and was relieved to see i’m not the only one that still likes the fantasy that goes with childhood.

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      • 24

        Laura says

        Totally agree! I was not particularly impressed with the original post. I grew up in a town that was
        49/49/2 Catholic/Jewish/Protestant. The Jewish kids never said anything or complained about missing out on Christmas. In fact, they use to brag about how they received a gift every night of the 8 days of Hunakah. Lol. And they always seemed to get lots of $, too!

        I still have lots of Jewish friends and love them all!

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    • 25

      Lauren says

      I totally agree. I actually thought the original post was pretty ridiculous. What I teach my child is that it is better to give than to recieve, and that you do not need to get credit for the giving that you do. Aside from marking gifts from santa I also anonymously sponsor an underprivleged family in my town each year. Like Heidi said, Santa is a smaller part of our celebrations. If you can look at Christmas and think it as all about giving a fat man credit for gifts you bought, then you really have no clue what it is really about.

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  8. 26

    Crayon says

    LOL this post was hilarious. I have often wondered about this. I had lots of Jewish friends growing up and none of them spilled the beans. As a parent of two young kids, Santa is everywhere. When I think of all of the kids who don’t celebrate Christmas they do deserve some credit. Especially the parents, who help perpetuate the lie for the benefit of other people. Keeping your true feeling to yourself, telling lies and keeping secrets. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? ;)

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  9. 28

    Caitlin says

    My kids father just walked out on them a week ago so it’s been rough for them. My daughter just turned 3 and my son will be 2 in January. They are trying to smile as much as possible but it’s hard knowing daddy is not coming home anymore. Their faces do light up when I turn on reindeercam.com at 6 and let them see Santa. It’s something for my kids to look forward to. And while I am stressed and losing it this holiday season I know my kids have something to look forward to, Santa. So yea, I am going the whole nine yards and I don’t care what anyone says. I am glad my kids have something to look forward to because the holidays are going to be rough without their father around.
    And I don’t think it has anything to do with “stranger danger.” They know not to speak with strangers and do very well at that. I don’t make this a “be good or Santa won’t come.” I hate that stupid elf on the shelf. I don’t need some elf to “watch my kids” while they are around the house in case they do something bad. But you can bet your butt on Christmas Eve the kids and I will be reading Twas the Night Before Christmas. Baking cookies for Santa and leaving out carrots for those reindeer. They deserve to have something special to look forward to.
    Oh and yes, my kids understand that Christmas is about Jesus being born. They are learning about advent season and we are telling them the story about Mary and Joseph. So they do know “the reason for the season.”
    BUT if some 12 year old twit decides to come up to my 3yr old and tell her Santa isn’t real, me and that kids mom will be having words. My kids have joy this holiday season in a time when right now all they can do is ask me when daddy is coming home.

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  10. 30

    Amber says

    I grew up without Santa, but my husband believed. It may have been the only thing his parents did with any passion, so it was very important to him to carry on the tradition. I, however, very much want to teach the art of gift giving. Soooo, we do a modified Santa. They ask Santa for one thing, nothing big; my 4 year old always asks for a Barbie. All the other presents are from Mom and Dad, and the kids actively help us shop for everyone.

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  11. 31

    Kelly says

    Oh man. You have some strong kids!

    When I was in 3rd grade, a Christmas celebrating friend of mine told me, “don’t tell my sister that there’s no Santa.” I was like, “ummmmm ok. I won’t.” and went home crying – SPOILER! Lol.

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  12. 32

    cassie says

    My son is 2 and we celebrate christmas. But I want him to understand the real reason for christmas. This is the first year he understands santa, and we have an elf on the shelf (which only gets moved if we remember it lol). But we will also be explaining that we celebrate christmas to celebrate the birth of jesus, and that while its like a birthday party….its not our birthday party. For us there is no harm in teaching kids about Santa because its teaching our kids that giving is important no matter how old you are. If someone spoils santa for marty, ill be sad, but also relieved…I’m a horrible liar, and the santa lie is a lot of work!

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  13. 33

    Danielle Rush says

    My kids know that the real reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus, but they also look forward to Santa. I look forward to it too…there is nothing like the magic of a child who still believes. My son is 8, and I’m hoping we get through this year without one of his friends giving him the next level of information about Santa. I know I can trust him not to ruin it for his 4 year old sister.

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  14. 34

    Jenny From the Blog says

    Hilarious. I’ve always imagined the kids who celebrate Christmas wondering why the Jewish kids don’t get a visit from Santa. Were our kids not up to snuff, this year (or ever)? I’ve had an a yearly post (like a Christmas Story) “Can a Jewish Girl Sit on Santa’s Lap Without Being a Ho Ho Ho?” that attacks this issue from the other side, though I may prefer your angle… at least my kids get cookies out of it!
    Always a riot! XO- Jenny

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    • 35

      Bsteele says

      I have always told my son that Santa doesn’t visit EVERY child in the world, that there are many countries that Santa doesn’t visit because people there don’t believe. There are lots of people here in the United States that don’t believe either, and I have told him that there are many religions that also do not celebrate Christmas nor believe in Santa. So he already knows that there are many kids and grown-ups who don’t believe in Santa. I already told him other kids probably will tell him that there is no such thing as Santa, and that they say that probably because he doesn’t come to their house because they don’t believe… So for them there is no such thing as Santa. I doubt if another kid told him there was no such thing as Santa that he would believe them.

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  15. 36

    Alison says

    When I was a kid, my dad hosted Christmas parties. I always knew Santa as my dad’s er, weight-challenged friend who’d heave himself into the red suit, and sweat all night while he cheerily handed out presents.

    Sometimes it’s awesome to already know the truth. No asshole could have ruined it for me.

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  16. 37

    Jen@whenpigsfly says

    I was always a fan of the kids who got to celebrate both. They seemed to get double the gifts and the fun. I’m not quite sure how the parents explained it all to them. And, I don’t remember ever having the Jewish kids spill the beans. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

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  17. 39

    Steph says

    See, now we do “Santa” a little differently around here. The bikes the kids got two years ago? Yeah, Mom and Dad took credit for them. Santa? He stuffs stockings and gets them a little stuffed animal or what not. I guess it comes from my parents telling us that Santa only brought big gifts to kids whose families couldn’t afford the big stuff. Of course that was over 20 years ago and kids are different these days.

    I also don’t understand why Santa has to be a Christian thing. He’s not in the bible anywhere…

    We aren’t Christian or any of the “main stream” religions, yet we still entertain the jolly guy around here. A touch of whimsy and magic for the little ones is important to us, especially when one considers just how fast kids are growing up these days. Kudos to the kids that can keep their mouths shut.

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