Welcome to a weekly segment called "Social Circle." It's truly a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in the Thursday column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
This week's Social Circle question got more responses than any other question to date. Apparently, we feel strongly about whether or not it's a lie to tell kids that there is a Santa Claus.
Of course, this can be looked at in many different ways.
Some say straight up, yes, it's untruthful and we shouldn't lie to kids about anything ever. Other folks believe the "magic of Santa" is a concept, not a person, and therefore it is not a lie to say "Santa the concept" exists.
Feel free to add your thoughts via the Talkback feature. And can we get a "ho, ho, ho?"
Emily Ann: "Being only 20 with no kids, I don't really have any valuable input. I am, however, very interested to read what everyone else thinks. Everyone has good reasons why they do or don't teach their children about Santa. No one is wrong, everyone just parents differently."
Jeff Bray: "Santa Claus is short for St. Nicholas – a real person in history, so technically, you're not lying at all."
Michael Buehler: "No! The gym teacher told our class when we were in second or third grade. Brought us all into a classroom and told us everything. Easter bunny, Santa, tooth fairy, you name it! Those were the days. Would have rather been lied to."
Scott Carlson: "Not if you teach them there is a little Santa in all of us; and not in the creepy way. Christmas is about giving, which Santa encompasses."
Geoff Carter: "Are they lying when they tell us America is a democracy?"
George Darrow: "No. I still believe in Santa."
Russ Fascia: "Yes, without a doubt. It's a good lie."
Monica Freitag: "Can't there be any sweet magical things anymore? No. I kept it going as long as I could. I think mine were nearly 10 or 11 before they finally figured it out. We would have someone come on Xmas eve dressed in a Santa suit, ringing bells, with a few gifts in a big red bag. One year we had a neighbor do it."
Michelle Gilbert: "I remember as a kid feeling lied to when I found out that Santa wasn't real. I have never told my son he's real. He's always been told that he is fictional, but people like to believe in him. He chooses to pretend, but knows the truth. He is perfectly happy!"
Jennifer Goyette: "Of course it is a lie. It is false. You are asking if it's OK to lie. I liked believing in Santa. I don't mind that my parents lied to me."
Holly Jefferson: "Definitely not."
Christian Kerhin: "You could always take my parents' approach: 'Santa didn't die on a cross to save your souls' and then make you talk to the smelly aunt with halitosis all night."
Tammy Kolbe: "All I gotta say on this is that you will have a lot of angry parents at school if you let it slip too soon."
Julie Wezyk Liotta: "No, it is the choice of the parents to explain not the rest of society. Same with the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, St. Nick, etc. I have my opinions but I honor what my family and friends want their kids to believe. I don't want to be the auntie who destroyed all of their childhood beliefs."
Jonathan Maricle: "Yes, but so what? You're creating happy memories that will be with them for a lifetime."
Hannah Medrow: "Of course you are lying, because it isn't true, but is that such a big deal? People lie to their kids all the time, often for the child's peace of mind in situations that are too complex or scary. I was not lied to, instead we were told that Santa and St. Nicholas were 'legends' that people enjoyed keeping alive by play-acting as though it were true, because it's fun. That didn't spoil anything for me, I don't think."
Anastasia Nicholoson: "Yes. But that's a choice that parents make to keep the magic real in their children's eyes. We don't. We're honest about exactly who leaves the gifts under the tree. But our 4-year-old still revels in the fairytale of the North Pole and the flying reindeer and we tell him that the character and celebration of Santa is the celebration of good will and giving that this season brings us."
Kimberly Rykowski Pedersen: "Yes."
Marc Pelchat: "No, I am Santa! They love the magic of Christmas. The religious side of Christmas is a whole other story. But the Santa part is alive and well."
Steve Pittsley: "No, because the parent is filling the role. Just because there is no actual Santa doesn't mean that the idea of Santa leaving gifts isn't real."
Joanne Aoun Sablich: "Well it is a lie because it's not true, and they will be disappointed when they find out the truth. But I think it's OK to tell them Santa's story or legend, and let them think whatever they wanna think of. Kids have a great imagination."
Renee Scherck-Meyer: "Wait! There is no Santa? What?"
Nina Schmidt: "Yep. While I am a very romantic person, my children are very literal thinkers. I had to be up front with them from the start. No tooth fairy or Easter bunny, either. The whole concept terrified my son at the time, and I grew up knowing it was just a nice story, so it was an easy choice for us."
Jen Skladanek: "What do you mean? What are you telling me? No Santa? Blasphemy!"
Barbara Tabak: "If I weren't Jewish and I had kids to indoctrinate, all over again, I'd tell them, 'Yes, there's a Santa, and he'll bring you one gift. The rest of the goodies under the tree come from the family!'"
Melissa Bollow Tempel: "As a parent and a first grade teacher I have to add that parents who decide to tell their kids that Santa is not real should emphasize that they need to be respectful of their friends who may believe. In some ways it is similar to respecting everyone's religion."
Monica Thomas: "Yes. And I've been upfront about it with my kid. I've heard of other parents running into dilemmas to try to perpetuate the Santa lie, and I shake my head and think, 'Yep, once you tell a fib then it's a slippery slope.'"
Carol Voss: "I don't wanna be the jerk that tells her kid, then the kid tells his friends, then Santa is ruined for every child that believes. So, it's a threat for good behavior and mystery that I try to keep on going for as long as possible."