Before having a child I didn't really think too much about whether or not we would be promoting Santa. I cant say that believing in Santa really affected me. I sort of remember figuring out that he wasn't real and peeking through my door on Christmas Eve and watching my parents set up all the presents from "Santa". It didn't traumatize me. That being said though it is very important to me that my kids know the true meaning of Christmas. I don't want to get them mountains of presents from Santa or even a large amount of presents that the kids will know come from us.
I think I want to make it more important to read about the birth of Jesus every year and do acts of kindness for people. We could sing Christmas carols, bake cookies for neighbors, adopt a family for Christmas and volunteer for charities. Christmas morning I think I would like to have prayer and a moment of being thankful as a family for our savior before my kids do presents. We will do either 3 presents a piece because the wise men brought 3 gifts or we will do: Something to wear, something they need, something they want and something to read.
I think its ok for my kids to pretend and have an imagination so when they start questioning Santa I wont try to get them to believe in him. I also don't want to push the whole naughty or nice thing.
I feel like this will be a good way for them to not feel left out as far as the whole Santa experience but it wont be the only reason we celebrate and they'll know the true reason for the season.