Let me first say that I don't care how or if others celebrate any given holiday. No judgement from me about it, please offer me the same. Besides that, it's my blog so I get to spew whatever I want! Mwah ah ah!!
We don't do santa because that's not what Christmas is about in our family. It's about the birth of Christ. Yes, I fully know that it probably didn't happen in the winter, but since December 25th is the generally accepted date to celebrate it, we go with that. I know and understand why winter was chosen and as my kids are older, that's an opportunity for Hubs and I to talk to them about history, politics and religion and how they all work (or don't) together.
That's our main reason. We want our kids to grow up with the concepts of God and Christ so Christmas and Easter are important holidays in our family that have nothing to do with old men or rabbits. The way we explain Christmas presents to the kids is that for someone's birthday, we often give them a present. There's a little bit of Jesus in everyone, so we get to give everyone presents for Jesus' birthday. And, since there's a little bit of Jesus in us too, we might get some presents.
We also try to be as age appropriately honest as we can about things with the kids so we're just not feeling the need to introduce all the holiday characters. Really, what's the point? For us, there isn't one. For others, they do and it works for them. No problem.
Last year, we tried celebrating Saint Nicholas Day, but that didn't work so well. We still felt like we were lying by acting like someone besides us would put things in their socks. It just hit the "this is wrong" chord with both of us as parents. St Nicholas day is actually a holiday that is celebrated in other parts of the country and in other countries. It's December 6th for anyone who's interested. Here's some pretty good info about it: http://hubpages.com/hub/St_Nicholas_Day. Saint Nicholas is actually where santa comes from.
Growing up, Hubs' family and mine both did santa to various degrees. Mine more than his. We both grew up with it but there's a lot about parenting that we do differently than our parents or siblings. Christmas is just one of them.
At this point, Sparky will tell people "santa is a character and pretend". She gets what santa really is. Now we can explain better what santa represents (somewhat, but that's another post). We can explain that santa is about taking care of kids and doing nice things for others, which is a simplified version of what Saint Nicholas is known for.
It's just what's working for us and consistent with our choices as parents.