The other day while rushing to get out the door to choir practice on time when I was alone with my younger son:
Younger son (age 7): Mom, do you think it is possible for Santa to get to ALL the houses in one night?
Me: What do you think?
YS: It seems hard. How can he do it?
Me: I think he uses magic. What do you think?
YS: Yes, I think he has special powers that only Santa has.
(Now getting into the car…)
Me: Why do you ask?
YS: Well there is this rumor going around that Santa doesn’t bring the presents, that the parents buy all the gifts.
Me: A rumor? Where did you hear that?
YS: At church. A boy told me that.
(Now driving to church…)
Me: So do you believe it is the parents or that it is Santa:
YS: I believe it is Santa.
Me: Well, you know what they say, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.”
YS: Oh, I like that. It rhymes.
Me: You know some people don’t believe in God. Well some people don’t believe in Santa Claus just like others don’t believe in God. But what you believe and what I believe is what is important to us and our family.
YS: Yes and I believe in Santa.
Me: I believe in Santa, too. And that boy who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus doesn’t get gifts from Santa Claus, but he gets gifts from his parents. You get some gifts from me and Daddy and you get some from Santa Claus. And Santa stops bringing gifts to kids sometimes when they are teenagers. Adults don’t get gifts from Santa. So really Santa just goes to some kids houses, to those houses where people believe in him.
YS: Oh. I think Santa uses his magic to get to all the houses where the kids believe in him.
Me: I think that too.
YS: Can you turn on the country music now?
Thoughts on This Issue
So I think I have covered that topic for this year. Since my younger son clearly still does believe in Santa Claus and wants to believe, I am letting the fun continue.
My friend told me that recently her ten year old confronted her in this same way and she handled it first by brushing it off then later came out and just told her the truth. The girl was crushed and said, “Mom, I wanted to believe and you ruined it.” My friend said after she realized she should have said, “What do you think about it, what do you believe?”. So with that story fresh in my mind, I chose to handle this situation in the way that I did.
Some of my Christian friends and other parishioners of the church I attend think that telling a child about Santa is a lie and is a bad thing to do to one’s children. Some don’t allow any elements of magic in their home, everything from children’s stories with fairies to the Tooth Fairy to the Easter Bunny.
Some that I know who are other religions or atheists feel the same way. Ironically FINISH Some have confronted me about our decision to ‘allow’ Santa in our family.
The fun of Christmas and the belief in Santa Claus is a wonderful memory I have from my own childhood. I want my children to have that very good experience as well. My husband feels the same exact way.
There are many unpleasant and serious issues that my children do face now and that they will have to face in their lives in the future. Their innocence in other matters has already been corrupted by our sick society; they know some nasty things at their young ages that I never knew about until I was in my teen years, things like the fact that there are child sex molesters in this world and what they have to do to protect themselves from becoming a victim. Our children are already living with much more honesty and real sad and scary facts that I wish they did not have to live with. Those corrupt things were not things that my husband and I had to know and deal with from such a young age. And in the future they will learn more and more about the evils and dangers and problems in our society, as well as carrying the burdens that adulthood will give them. For now, I’m letting them ‘be kids’ as much as I can.
I believe in giving my children some fun in their childhood years, and that participating in this cultural tradition is something special for children. I don’t believe this is harmful at all.
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