It’s the question every parent dreads: Is Santa Claus real? The bombshell can drop at age 6, or 7, or 8, even older, but no matter what the child’s age, it can “mark the end of a certain kind of innocence for the child…..but should it?
A man in a red suit coming from the sky, sliding his fat ass down your chimney, while you’re sleeping, placing
gifts under your Christmas tree, eating your cookies, then managing to slide back up the chimney, getting into a sled and flying off into the sky with reindeer who have glowing red noses may seem like an enchanting story – but it’s crazy.
Think about the image this places in kids minds. “Someone is coming to give me gifts because I behaved.” “I made it on the nice list, so where’s my reward?” “I hope I get what I want.”
We talked about this in my moms group. One mom said: They should believe for as long as possible. My daughter who is 10 now we had to tell the truth to her at 8 years old and she was really disappointed but a bully was teasing her constantly about her believing in Santa. We sat her down and let her know that the legend of Santa is true as many many years ago a nice old man use to give out toys to the less fortunate and the spirit of giving is still alive in all of us so we as parents continue the spirit of Santa when we give them gifts at Christmas. My family is catholic so we also have the reason we celebrate Christmas is because we are celebrating Jesus’ birth and the three wise-men came to bear gift to Jesus at the stable where he was born. The tradition of gift giving continues today as we celebrate Christ’s Mass ( Christmas). We told her we want her to keep the spirit of Santa alive so if there are smaller kids around she should tell them she still believes so they continue to believe for as long as possible.
We play Santa at our house. We love him and enjoy him and talk about him and sing songs about him. We watch tv shows about him and talk about our gifts from him. We sometimes take our children to see the Santa at the mall and have their pictures taken with him.
But we do not lie about him.
My kids know that Santa is a legend, and they love the legend. It’s fun and (generally) benevolent.
And who doesn’t love presents on Christmas?
I know some parents pretend Santa is real and then let their kids figure out the mystery. I don’t do that because it would involve lying to my children, and lying only for the reason of tricking them so I can watch them think Santa is real. It seems unkind, and runs contrary to my policy of modeling the virtue of honesty for my kids by being honest with them.
There is lots of fun in Santa, and letting kids in on the truth doesn’t make it any less fun for them. The magic of Santa is still there, even if you acknowledge that it is indeed . . . only magic. I thought that was cute, but still way too much for our family. We told our children at very tender ages. I mean VERY tender. Our 5 year old was told last year, but he got off track when we seen Santa at Imagion downtown. My husband though that he was hearing things. “You sat on whose laps & he said what?
Atheist aren’t much different. The mom in our group told us that they broke the news to their 10 year old last night as a matter if fact. His answer was “I knew it was you guys, elves don’t build WII games.”
The best kind of beliefs are the ones that are grounded in reality.
One small way to get started is to tell your kids the truth about Santa. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but it can be.
Growing up my parents never told me that Santa existed and they never told me that he didn’t either. I guess I found out by watching tv or was it a sibling, adult, or classmates, I’m not completely sure.
The problem with Santa.
Letting your kids believe in Santa may seem harmless. But like I said, you want to raise adults who are grounded in reality and it all starts when they’re kids. You have to understand the difference between having an imagination and living in a fantasy world.
Imagination gives you what you need to create wonderful things in the world like art, new technologies, bridges, space ships, books, and endless other things we all enjoy today. That’s what imagination and creativity are all about. Fantasy is a totally different thing.
Fantasy is believing in unicorns, tooth fairies, easter bunnies and santa. If you really want to foster a healthy imagination, maybe you should start exposing your kids to science instead of fairy tales.
You have to ground your kids.
How to tell your kids
First you have to get your mind right about Santa. Get rid of the notion that not believing in Santa will stifle a child’s creativity when they are older. Do you think Einstein believed in Santa? How about Edison? I guess maybe they did because there’s no way they could have come up with the theory of relativity and the light bulb if they didn’t!
- The next step is to not pretend or imply with your actions that Santa is real. Don’t leave cookies on the table and don’t tell your kids that if they get on the nice list this year, Santa will leave them a gift. Just treat it like another day which is what it really is.
- Wait for them to ask if Santa is real or not. Don’t bring up the conversation on your own. Let their curiosity entice them to ask. Who knows, maybe they’ll never ask. Maybe they don’t even care. But chances are if they ask you, it means they’re probably ready for whatever answer you give them.
- If they do happen to ask and you do tell them the truth, then ask them not to mention it to their friends at school. It’s just a courtesy to parents who choose to raise their kids differently. Don’t have them go to the schoolyard and give a sermon about how Santa is the devil.
Till next time, QC Supermom