Dear Sam, pray tell your views on lying please. My children are too young to understand Santa yet and my wife is adamant about doing Santa when they are older. Not the story of Saint Nick. Simple modern parents play Santa and lie to the kids in the name of “fun". It goes against my beliefs however. Does Siddhartha teach against telling falsehoods? I know Jesus of Nazareth did,
Children until about the age of seven live in a magical world. They cannot yet distinguish fact from fiction. So, Ariel and mermaids are real, Winne the Pooh actually lives in 100 Acre Wood and Santa is a kindly old grandpa who loves kids and brings presents to good little boys and girls. In my view, there are “lies" and then there are “stories".
My wife and I did the Santa thing and it gave my little angel no end of joy. When she turned seven she came to me and asked me if he was real. At this point, I felt obligated to tell her. I said that Santa was the spirit of love and that little kids couldn’t understand that and so we played make believe. She thought, a little disappointed and then smiled and accepted it. After all, kids are all about make-believe at that age.
Both the Buddha and Jesus teach us to speak truthfully. In the Bible “bear false witness" really is not a prohibition against all false speech but against perjury. The Buddha teaches right speech but that also is not a blanket prohibition against untruth.
We are first bound by the rule of compassion and there are times when it is more compassionate to tell an untruth than to tell the harsher truth. So, you must carefully consider the effect telling or not telling your children the story of Santa will have on them.
It might make them feel left out and deprived of some of the joys of Christmas. It might cause problems with other kids at school. It is up to you and your wife but you should consider all of the aspects carefully before you decide.