DEAR ABBY: I have decided that when I have kids I don't want to do the whole "Santa" thing. I'd rather tell them about the real St. Nicholas and what it means to give rather than to receive. Even though I'm not religious, I'll tell them about the birth of Jesus (even though he wasn't born in December), and tell them about the winter solstice.
After working years of retail, I have seen firsthand what people can be like around the holidays, especially parents buying expensive, high-demand/low-supply things for their kids, and parents who put themselves in debt to make their kids happy. I am saddened by stories of kids writing to Santa and asking him to get their unemployed parents money for food.
Most people I have spoken with disagree with my decision. They call me a Scrooge or say I'm "taking my kids' innocence away."
What do you think? Do you think I'm awful for wanting to teach them about charitable St. Nick, instead of commercializing Santa Claus? -- SANTA-LESS IN COLORADO
DEAR SANTA-LESS: I agree you should talk to your children about the birth of Jesus, as well as the pagan festivals that Christmas replaced, if you wish. While you're at it, also stress to them what the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be -- even if it seems sometimes lost in the commercialism of the holiday.
However, wait until your children ask you about Santa. When they do, tell them the truth. That way, they will learn that when they ask their mother something, they will always be given an honest answer.