[Originally posted on SWIFT, November 24, 2010]
At Dragon*Con earlier this year, I took part in the “Raising Skeptical Geeks” panel, moderated by Desiree Schell (of the “Skeptically Speaking” podcast), and joined by Adam Savage, Laura Phillips, LaVerne Angela Knight-West, Daniel Loxton, and Barbara Drescher. [You can find the complete audio of the panel discussion HERE.]
One of the subjects we discussed was what to teach your children about fantasy figures like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. (Unfortunately, there were apparently some young children in the audience, on whose behalf a few parents subsequently expressed disappointment in the panel’s inadvertent “spoilers.” This was certainly unintentional and recently, when I attended a “Jill & Julia” show — my friends Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney — I made sure to find out in advance if there were any Santa spoilers, and this gave me the chance to walk my seven-year-old twin boys out for a bathroom trip at a critical juncture!)
On the panel I explained that while my partner, Kandace, and I (along with the boys’ birth father and stepmother) are all raising our children with the hopes that they will adopt the same atheist beliefs we all do, in our household we celebrate a secular Christmas that upholds the magic of Santa Claus. I grew up in a New York City reformed Jewish household (that typically experienced December days with both a Christmas tree and a lit Chanukah menorah), and today we continue a tradition from my own childhood.