I’m like you — I don’t understand why everyone is so attached to lying to their children about Santa. People get really hostile and defensive; one teacher was actually *fired* for telling kids in the classroom that Santa wasn’t real. FFS.
I was raised not believing in Santa — ostensibly, it was because we were Jehovah’s Witnesses who thought all that Christmas stuff was really The Devil. But mostly it was explained to me that it was just wrong to lie to your kids, and later, how f-ed up it is that “Santa” will give rich kids whatever they want, while poor kids don’t get crap (The Boondocks has a great episode on this). When my son was little, I did much like you did — told him that Santa was more of a “mascot,” the “spirit of giving,” stuff like that — *not* real. And yet, somehow, we still enjoyed the spirit of the holidays!