When my husband and I got married, this was one of the big issues that we had to discuss. We both "celebrated" Santa when we were children, but truly felt that it had become too commercialized and lost much of its Christian meaning to "gift getting".
Our church connect leaders (Sunday school teachers) told us of a true story that happened to them when their children were growing up. They had always actively told their children about Jesus, and that Christmas was a celebration of his birth. Likewise, Santa also came to visit on Christmas eve. When their youngest found out that Santa wasn't real, he approached his parents to discuss this with them. During the discussion, he said sometime to the tune of, "Well, if Santa isn't real, I guess Jesus isn't real either."
OUCH! To my husband and I, that statement really hit home. We NEVER wanted our son to doubt that Jesus wasn't real.
Telling our family wasn't easy. Their scrutiny over this decision has, at times, been even worse. We do live in the deep south, where entire neighborhoods are covered with Christmas lights and Santas on the roof. Needless to say, we've discovered other families around us who also don't have Santa visit their house. However, the majority do.... and that's perfectly fine. We have no issues with anyone else celebrating it; it is just our personal preference.
In fact, just this week, I've had to remind my son that we don't tell others that there isn't a Santa. (Honestly, it would be more to the tune of, "we don't believe in Santa" rather than stating that Santa doesn't exist.) Instead, I gently remind him that some people believe in Santa while others don't, just like some people believe in Jesus, while others don't. I really wouldn't appreciate someone else telling me I'm wrong about Jesus, just like I am certain most parents would be upset if their child came home telling that my son said Santa wasn't real.
There has been one other slight issue that we've had to discuss... those innocent grocery store clerks who always ask, "So, what is Santa bringing you for Christmas?" After this happened a few weeks ago, we had to practice what he should say in return (remember, we are still going on the "We don't want to ruin it for everyone else" pretense), and his response should be something like, "Well, for Christmas, I'd like....."
So, the big question most people ask us is, "Aren't you ruining it for him?" Not at all! He still gets presents, just like everyone else. He personally doesn't care whether they came from a stranger, or Santa, or from us. He's a kid... and he likes presents. However, it is absolutely the sweetest thing when he's asked if we could buy and wrap presents for Jesus (and he confessed he'd be more than happy to assist Jesus in unwrapping them).
We do have some other special traditions for the holidays that I'm sure I'll share this month with you.