This is the time again where we can see everywhere those little red and white men. For a few days now, I see everywhere in social media the topic: “Do we have to tell our kids the truth about Santa Claus? Do we have to lie to them ?»
Here are my kind thoughts about the fact to make our kids believe in Santa. I’m curious to know about yours ! Please, don’t hesitate to share your experience !
Such a heated debate
Indeed, on parenting blogs or social media, everyone has his word to say. “Santa Claus is a business invention”. Or else “he has been created by Coca Cola”. “He misrepresents Christmas spirit”. Being from a Catholic family, when I was a child I witnessed the “fight” between the Nativity set and Santa Claus but I think it is another kind of debate.
There are also the people who say it is unfair to tell Santa’s stories because of all the deprived children who won’t receive a lot or any gifts at all. It is indeed very sad and news and litterature reminds us regularly about it, from Dickens, Andersen or Roald Dahl.
And if you want to get even more lost, you can consult some parenting specialists with their own advice too.
In the end, it seems we have only two choices :
- either tell our kids Santa exists and lie
- or telling them the truth and ruin Christmas magic for them
Not bad to increase our parenting guilt ?
« Children can believe in Santa without believing he's real ».
In the end, what is it exactly to “believe in Santa”? Is it really believing in an old man traveling with flying reindeers to visit all the planet houses in a single night? Or is it more the pleasure to daydream about a magical world with elves and amazing things? It’s exactly like Advent which is the time to happily anticipate all the wonders of the holidays and at the same time the greatest patience lesson.
I was discussing earlier the deprived kids Christmas. They move me so much when they are expecting Christmas. Even if they know they won’t get what they ordered for Christmas, they have the same joy in their eyes while listening about Santa’s amazing stories. Those stories put them as equal to the other kids. They dream exactly like them. They share the same dreams. In our countries, they can have their hug or pictures with the town, street, shop, school Santa’s close exactly like the others kids. That’s also that, Santa’s magic, dreaming everything is possible. For a few weeks, it is the possibility to open the door to magic in our unfair and too realistic world.
So, do we have to tell them if Santa is real ?
I’m going to share with you the same example I know, mine.
Mr A is almost 7 years old and he doesn’t believe in Santa anymore since Easter. We are going to celebrate his first Christmas « without believing in Santa Claus”. And it changes nothing for him. As usual, he made his list and wrote his letter. As usual, he asked to listen to Santa’s stories. He also asked to prepare Santa’s snack and the reindeer carrot.
If nothing has changed, it’s just because he wasn’t disappointed to know Santa doesn’t exist. Just because we never told him Santa exists.
In fact, as he grew, we set Christmas traditions at home. Nativity set, Christmas tree, stories, carols … and Santa Claus found his place in this seasonal folklore. Mr A considers him as a part of the traditions. He discovered him at DayCare and enjoyed a lot of all the stories and activities about him.
But we never told him Santa Claus exists
In fact, each time he asked us about him, we always answered « What do you think about it? » And his creativity usually answered what he would like to hear or imagine. We never had Santa at home to offer the presents. He came home during the night and the presents were ready at the foot of the Christmas tree for the next morning.
Over the years, Mr A fine-tuned his theories. For example, he quickly understood the Santas we could meet in the street were not true since they were so numerous and so different from each other’s. He thought Santa was too busy with all the toys to get prepared and he couldn’t lose his time. Those people were there to help me.
Last spring, he became suspicious because of the Easter rabbit. He asked us if the Easter rabbit existed and we told him the truth. The idea caught on and a few later, it was Santa’s turn. Same answer from us. And no deception, he was even reassured to find some answers to his questions.
He asked us if we could go on as usual and it was so cute. He asked us whispering for his little brother to know “how great Santa Claus is”.
In my personal experience, I didn’t need to ask myself if I have to tell him or not. With my husband, we tried to set up Christmas magic and our sons made it their own with their own imagination. They create their own universe where Santa Claus has his own place, exactly as their others stories heroes.
Santa Claus, that imaginary hero
In conclusion, I’d say the best thing to do is to plant the seeds of Childhood Christmas magic.
Without lying nor exaggerating, children fertile imagination take charge of what they need and prefer best. Santa Claus is like those heroes and superheroes filling our imagination. He exists to put some extra-ordinary in our ordinary and that’s his main purpose.
Let’s trust our kids to discover by themselves the reality and let’s free ourselves to dream with them in this fantastic period.
And yet again, let’s be kind with ourselves, this is Christmas spirit!