Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop — An Open Letter to Santa Claus From Super Jew

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If you’d like to play along, please check out Mama Kat’s blog.

***The prompt I’ve chosen for today is an open letter to Santa.***

Dear Santa,

First of all, I’m really sorry that my family confused you when I was little. My mom’s a Jew and my dad’s an atheist, so why the hell were you stopping over at our place anyway? Of course when I was young, I had no conscience to speak of I didn’t really think too hard about who brought me those cool roller skates and Ramona Quimby books. I was just super excited to have some new loot. While I wondered how such a fatty could fit down our chimney in the first place was a little suspicious, my thoughts never lingered long on the logistics—I just holed up in my room for a few days reading all about Ramona and her mother.

But Santa, a lot has changed since then. When I was a teenager I became friends with a special Jewish family and they taught me most of what I know now. Don’t hate me for loving bacon embracing my Judaism. I’ve read and studied and gone to synagogue. I make challah almost every Friday and am proud of my Jewish heritage and how hot Hubs looks in his yarmulke.

Let me get to the point: stay the HELL away from my children! Please don’t try to convert my kids. I mean, it’s hard enough having a contest between a menorah and Santa. Lighting candles vs. a jolly old fella in a red suit? C’mon! So when they see you at their school next week and sit on your lap, please shut your trap  tread carefully. They are incredibly gullible They don’t really “get it” yet and if you tell them you’re going to come to our house with presents for them, they’ll be expecting you.

In all seriousness, it makes me kinda sad. I am at a loss for what to tell them. How to explain for the umpteenth time that you aren’t coming to our house, that we are Jews and we celebrate Hanukkah instead. I am sure this phase is temporary, but I want them to want their Judaism–I want them to want to be different in that way. As usual, my expectations are entirely too high for their tender young age.

So in closing, Dear Santa, please be careful with my kids. Don’t make them want you too much. I know it’s my job to make Hanukkah at our house super fun this year, and I’m on it. But it would be helpful if you could just back the hell off slow down this season and not be in so many places all at once. It’s not Quantum Leap, it’s Christmas.

And after all, I’m just a Jew….a lonely Jew….on Christmas.


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  • Menopausal New Mom

    Loved this letter Erin. I was raised Anglican, my husband was raised Jewish so we just combine the two and celebrate everything together. Yes, we put up the tree, we have all the joy or Hanukkah and then open presents from Santa on the 25th!

    We are a busy bunch in December!

  • JennyMac

    Loved your letter!

    And wait, is the last line from Southpark or Adam Sandler?

  • Travis

    You poor poor Jew.

    I think maybe you should tell them that Santa has diabetes, and he HAS to let kids sit on his lap in order to get to keep on living.

    I don't know.

    Maybe just don't let them go to school that day?

  • Lee the Hot Flash Queen

    I told my daughter there was no Santa, so she wouldn't feel left out. She told all her Christian friends. I got lots of phone calls that night!!

  • Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity

    Erin- Great letter. I know that some of my jewish mommy friends feel exactly the same way! Hang tough and your kiddies will thank you for it later, I just know it! BTW, as a Christmas celebrating girl, growing up I was always jealous of my jewish friends that got presents for 8 nights and got to see their extended family each night. We lived far from family and the thought of family fun and the expectation of presents each night made me green with jealousy. You may want to work that angle! :) Just saying.

  • blueviolet

    I can't even imagine how difficult this time of year must be! I hope that it won't be too hard on them. :(

  • Tattoos and Teething Rings

    I've never really dealt with this because my Jewish family side isn't religious and loves Christmas, but I empathize with you. I don't have any advice, though, maybe you could just tell them Santa is a fun make-believe figure for non-Jewish kids?

  • Jenn@ You know… that blog?

    I've got it!

    Aversion therapy. Show them pictures of santa and beaming children, and then have a stranger in a white beard and red long underwear jump out of a brightly coloured box. Might help if he has a roaring chainsaw. Do that enough… it'll work. Guaranteed!

    I've really got to get better control of my outside voice.

    Thanks for enabling name/url – you done good!

  • Arizona Mamma

    You know, I am sad to admit I never thought of what it must be like for a Jewish mother and her kids on Christmas with all the hullabaloo over Santa. This letter was a great perspective for me. Like anything else though, your kids will follow your lead. Because it is so important to you, you will take extra measure to make it a huge part of them as well. They will be steeped in tradition, and when they are older and a bit wiser, they will be grateful that you were so steadfast in your beliefs.

  • MiMi

    I never even thought about that before! Wow.
    Hey, so we have Santa and you are the Chosen people…I think you win! : )

  • singedwingangel

    As a christian the sad part is we both serve the same God. YOur Abba Father is the same as mine and I do understand. althought hte original Santa was pure in his intentions the Santa of today is a far cry from what he started out to be… I would love for you to check out my letter to Santa… and my sister Happy Hannukah and Shalom

  • Amy C

    Holy crap…Jenn's comment just cracked me up!! And, I loved your letter!

  • Coffeypot

    WHAT??!!!??? NO BACON??!!?? Damn religion. Eating bacon is Heavenly!

    As I said before, from Thanksgiving until January 1st I convert to Jehovah Witness. That way I don’t have to worry about any of this shit.

  • Meeko Fabulous

    You could do what my dad did when we were little and just be told right off the bat that Santa's not real. LoL!

  • Lissaloo

    I'm sure they will be fine, and they will remember all the wonderful things they got to do rather than those that didn't happen :)

  • Alex

    Tell them Santa has swine flu and has to stay home that night cos he's been quarantined in the North Pole.

    It's okay…the tooth fairy keeps forgetting to come to our house…oops

  • MJ

    I hope that Santa receives your letter, for he has been a naughty boy influencing several young ones and he needs an eye opener.

    I am sure the girls will pick up on your love of your heritage and with your wonderful parenting will continue your traditions and love!

    XO MJ

  • Noelle

    that's the part that i don't like about christmas…it really doesn't mean anything if you aren't a christian. it's just a time of year that people believe a fictional story about a fat guy in a red suit committing felonies (breaking and entering) and threatening children that if they aren't good, they don't get a toy. what about the good little homeless kids…?

    i think you're doing the right thing! i've told you this before…but i seriously wish i were jewish at times. i'd rather be instilling truthful purpose in my children instead of greedy lies. hmmmm…how to break the cycle…?

    if you told your kids that santa is a lie, i wouldn't blame you a bit. it would take the magical mysteriousness out of it and make it easier for them to focus on what is real. and if they went to school and repeated it…oh well. imho.

  • Two Normal Moms

    I celebrate Christmas, and I HATED explaining Santa to my son. Always felt like I was telling him a big fat lie that had nothing to do with the Christian based Christmas. So glad he is old enough to sort through some of this himself (with guidance!). And your girls will be too someday. Stay true to yourself and they'll follow with you. Just lead by example. Confusion is just part of learning.

  • Wendy

    Okay seriously that was funny! I don't think I can say I've ever met or come in contact with someone who is Jewish, so this is neat!! I think it's great that you want them to want their heritage, and to really believe in something like that!! That is a great trait.

    I might need to look more into the whole Hannakah (sp? sorry) thing, because I don't know much about it. The only glimpses into that way of life I've gotten from "Fiddler on the Roof" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" … so that isn't saying much!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • adrienzgirl

    Happy Hanukkah! πŸ˜€

  • Ghada

    Loved your letter. People who celebrate Christmas often forget that not everyone does…plus you also made me think of Hanukkah Harry, do you remember him from Saturday Night Live? Not exactly the same as the Jolly old guy.

  • Raoulysgirl

    Wow. What a post!

    I was raised Baptist (it's not my fault!) but practice a less-defined version of loose Christianity these days. However, I feel for you. One of the hardest things about motherhood is knowing that our kids may feel left out or let down. With your girls being so young, they probably don't really understand the whole diversity of religion thing. Which isn't even really it…has anyone ever said that Santa's a Christian? Does he have to be? I think that any guy who is that jolly and giving probably doesn't discriminate. There is so much more to our Christmas than Santa. He has kind of taken over the Christian world, though…hasn't he?

    I honestly think that Santa should be non-denominational. That would remove some of his "hold" on the Christian Christmas and open up some of his magic for others like your girls who shouldn't have to feel different.

  • kys

    I'm glad you posted about this. Obviously, I don't have the answers. I know it has to be hard for you and your questioning, curious kiddos. Personally, I think schools push the Santa thing too much and it's ridiculous.

    But I'm just a realist. A lonely realist at Christmasukkah.

  • The girl with the flour in her hair

    This is a great post. I have never thought of how hard Santa makes it for other religions. When it comes right down to it, Santa is a silly tradition anyway. He makes very little sense, but I have such good memories of the "magic" that I wanted to pass it along to my kids. Even though he has nothing to do with religion, he has everything to do with it. I never realized that before. Thanks for sharing this!

    Am I rambling? Should I go to bed now? :)

  • Andrea (ace1028)


    When my hubby asked our daughter recently who the ole' jolly man was (showed her a picture or something) she said, 'Santa.' And he said (he's not Jewish) something like, and is he going to come and visit you for Christmas? And she said, 'No. Santa doesn't like me.'

    We think she knows she's Jewish. πŸ˜‰

  • One Cluttered Brain

    I LOVED Travis's comment….So hilarious…..
    I love that guy….he make me laugh so hard….
    As do you….

    Ok. If Ellen calls me, you can totally come over and talk at her too 3 way calling and all…..KEWL….Love Ellen…..

    Sorry U can't eat bacon..that;s just wrong…..

    But Hannukah is cool. I don't know that much about it but have heard bits and pieces…..

    Merry Hannukah! Can I say that?

    I am up WAY too late and filled with WAY too much caffeine to be commenting on any body's blog tonight. make sure U stop by the blog tomrrow 4 a plea for my readers….a petition if you will….thanks…..

  • The Crazy Baby Mama

    love your letter.

  • The Blue Zoo

    Aw man, no bacon, and no Santa?? Oh well! Im sure you will make it so spectacular they will forget all about that fat guy!!

  • Betty

    Erin, loved your letter!.
    i couldn't imagine of how hard Santa affects other religions.
    Nice post!.
    love and hugs

  • Shorty

    Great post (as usual)

    Chanukah's got donuts! mmmmm donuts – homer simpson.

  • Neuffj

    Fab letter! Don't be lonely =(

  • Haddock

    Now that is going to lessen Santa's load.

  • Elaine Kerr

    I enjoy your blog, Erin!

    Somebody beat me to bringing up Hanukkah Harry. You definitely need a good mascot.

    Perhaps you could explain to your girls that Santa just brings presents to the sad little boys and girls who don't get to celebrate Hanukkah and get presents every night. Santa just gives my kids three presents each plus a stocking, so the Jewish kids are totally raking it in in comparison.

    I'm personally getting kind of sick of the whole red and green thing. Crate and Barrel has some really pretty silver and blue Hanukkah decorations. I told my husband that we're converting just for the sake of a new motif.

  • Amy

    OMG..Ramona Quimby!!!! Oh, how I LOVED those books!!!

    I have been Catholic all my life and can honestly say I don't know 1Jewish person, well in real life. I sympathize with your plight. It must be extremely frustrating to try and explain this to a child.

    I think you're right though. I think it's just a phase, and soon your girls will understand their traditions and they'll love them! Hang in there mommy!

  • Poconut

    You could either explain to them that Santa is make believe (if they get that) or in our house, Santa has always only brought 1 gift. The rest come from Mommy and Daddy and other family etc. Hey… I wanted the credit, okay? Lol. As soon as Belle questioned the jolly fat man, I told her the truth. I don't even think we'll go the Santa route with Morgan… But perhaps you could do Hanukkah and on 12/25, have one gift or stockings stuffed from that creepy stranger man whose lap they will be sitting on. Or not. Just keep telling them you don't do that… they'll get used to it, lol.

  • BigSis

    All my thoughts have been expressed, so I'll just say "ditto" :)

  • Mindy

    I think we all struggle with Santa. Your struggle is different, of course, because you want the mythology out of your tradition entirely. At my house, I want Santa to be sort of cute "side note" to our Christmas celebration. It's a difficult balance, but we're working to focus on family tradition, the Christmas story, and charity at Christmas. Our girl is so small…we'll see how it goes.

  • Helene

    Oh Erin, I can totally identify with this post. I was raised Jewish…both my parents were Jewish…and I grew up attending Sunday school and going to Friday night services.

    But my parents did allow Santa Claus to come to our house on Christmas eve…and here's how they explained it to me. That Santa felt bad for all the Jewish kids that wouldn't get gifts from him so he brought us some of the stuff that other kids didn't want. Nice, huh? I remember one year we got an encyclopedia set and we were like WTF? After that, we told my mom we didn't want Santa coming anymore.

    My best memories of Hanukkah was when I went to a good friend's house. Her parents were wonderful about letting us help them make latkes and we played dreidl. It was always so much fun…I didn't even miss Santa Claus!

    I've converted to Christianity as of 2001, much to my parent's dismay.

    This was such a cute letter to Santa…loved the part about the bacon!

  • sharon

    Beautifully expressed, Erin. My sentiments but written far, far more eloquently than I would.

    I honestly never missed Santa Claus or Christmas growing up, maybe because it wasn't quite as crassly commercial as it is now. We usually spent Christmas in Florida visiting grandparents and had a tradition of going to the beach in the morning, followed by seeing a movie and then Chinese food.

    I do everything in my power to keep my kids away from malls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember one year my very outspoken daughter explained to Santa that "not everyone is Christian" and to "stop asking me what I want for Christmas." Made me very proud.

    I also think that elevating Hanukah to a far more elevated status than is deserves does a disservice to both Jews and to people who observe Christmas.

  • Reluctant Housewife

    That's true! People like to pretend we're being culturally sensitive by saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas'… but Santa is still very pervasive, isn't he?

    Although, we're not Christians and Santa still visits us. :)

  • mama-face

    What an incredibly tender letter. I live with blinders on and I have to tell you that I did not know that celebrating Hanukkah precluded Santa. I know, slap me up the side of my head. It must be hard on your kiddos, but they have you for their mommy, so I'm sure you make sure they can deal and are happy.

    I love how you wrote this letter and I apologize if I sound insensitive. Or even more insensitive than usual.


  • countryfriedmama

    My kids go to a Jewish pre-school, so I don't have to worry about this particular problem yet. (In any case, my 3-year-old has already asked me, "Santa's not real, right?" and my one-year-old finds the fat man terrifying.)

    When we get to kindergarten, though, I would be a little irked to find Santa in my kids' classrooms. He's everywhere. Must he be in a public school, too? I don't think so.

  • Anonymous

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