The decision to bring Santa into my girls' lives was a difficult one for me. When I was in third grade my teacher sat the whole class down and told us there was no Santa. After she determined she had smashed the hopes and dreams of 25 third graders, she asked who still believed in Santa. I and another girl raised our hands. The other girl said she needed to go to the bathroom; I still think she just got embarrassed about being one of the only two to still believe in Santa.
I held it together for the rest of the day until I got home. I burst through the door in tears and sobbed the whole story out to my mom. As she tried to comfort me, the rage was boiling up inside her. She called that teacher and read her the riot act, telling her it was none of her business what children believed in and it was certainly not her place to set them straight.
I also had to come to grips with no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy and the teacher, being the fun art teacher, never treated me the same again. She wasn't mean, she just ignored me outside of school work. But needless to say, it was a devastating experience that I was afraid my daughters would have and as their mother I would have to relive it again myself.
Before my oldest knew any better, I polled all my friends many times about their Santa traditions before my oldest daughter's first Christmas. Finally, one of my good friends sat me down and told me that most kids do not find out the way I found out and their Christmas dreams remain intact until they finally just mature out of it.
These days I think a teacher would suffer dire consequences for telling a room full of students there was no Santa; that's always been a comfort to me. The other comfort is that hopefully when my teacher died (she must be dead by now, I think she was old then?) God told her it's too bad she didn't believe in Santa when she was alive because she wouldn't be getting any toys in her stocking from him now that she is dead.
But there is a level of belief my children must keep; otherwise Santa will not come to our house at all. I've tried to instill Santa into their lives as the Spirit of the Season in cahoots with Jesus. My favorite reminder is a pin I bought them one year: Santa is kneeling before the baby Jesus' cradle and it says "Remember the Reason for the Season."
That is a tradition to embrace.