Tuesday 27 October 2015

The truth about Santa

Can you remember what Christmas felt like when you were a kid? The last day of school rituals, and the endless weeks of nothing to do before Christmas was suddenly here, and then you headed off on a holiday with the family for a few days or a few weeks, and then home again before school started.

It isn't like that for our kids any more. Lots of parents work, right up until Christmas Eve, and some even work on Christmas Day. The shopping is rushed, mum bundles the kids off somewhere so she can buy gifts without helpers, then the stress of days cleaning up, preparing food for days on end, then the day arrives in a flash before it's over.

Or maybe it only feels like that as grown ups because we're doing all the running around now? To kids, it's still a magical time of year with so many chances at getting the best toys from all the relatives.

Sometimes, once you've got school age kids, they come home from school with stories of so-and-so on the playground, telling them that Santa isn't real. Our hearts crumble a little bit when we hear those words. And we get angry at so-and-so for telling our kids.

But should we set the kids straight? Should we be telling our kids about Santa when these discussions pop up at school? 

No way!

Think about the season for a minute. In my Christmas experience, Santa only plays a small role.

Sure, I drag the kids off to have photos with Santa (please, Sophie, don't cry this year!)

And Santa visits our Christmas Carols event and sings a song or two.

And he leaves a stocking of gifts for everyone. (No Santa-credit for trampolines here)

But is he the story of the whole season? No way!

We focus on spending time with family and friends we don't see all year. We reflect on the changes from the past year, and the magic of this season.

Now, I'm not advocating outright lying to the kids. Whenever I've been asked if Santa was real, I've turned the question back, and asked them what they believed. The answer has always been that they believe in the feeling of Christmas.

But I'll confess, Chloe and Douglas don't believe in Santa any more. You'd never know to see them during the Christmas season. They're just as surprised on Christmas morning to see the full stockings, and they get just as much pleasure from the gifts under the tree. 

Instead, they help keep the Spirit of Christmas exciting for the other kids. They fight over putting out the carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, and the cookies and lemonade for Santa. And they wear Santa hats for mum's annual photo shoot. And they create memories for another year.

What do you think? Should we be telling kids about Santa?

linking up with Essentially Jess for #ibot


  1. You've chosen a hot topic for parents, Cate, I would think! I am in two minds myself, but as mine are grown up, it's not a dilemma I have to face. I like the angle of Santa (or Father Christmas, as he's often called here) as embodying the spirit of Christmas, of giving.

  2. I never told my kids he wasn't real! I avoided answering by saying something like how magical it is to believe he's real. I agree, Santa isn't the only thing that Christmas is about.

  3. I find it really hard - on one hand it feels weird to outright lie. But then I decided the magic was a trade off. #TeamIBOT

  4. My parents never had to tell me, the kids at school did it for me. Luckily I was the oldest child so I got to get Santa gifts for a few more years after I knew because I had to keep the magic alive for my brother {I secretly loved that}.

  5. When Carrie was THREE she started questioning the validity of Santa! I nearly died! LOL. I have always maintained a sense of wonder about Santa Claus - as long as you believe he'll still keep bringing presents and filling the stockings...

  6. No way! I'm all for lying about Santa! I loved the magical aspect Santa served at Christmas and it was a natural end to the believing as I grew older. I will milk Santa for all he is worth until they choose not to believe :)

  7. I think the tradition of Santa is wonderful & kids will discover the truth on their own or through friends. I think the important thing is that we tell them the real reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Christ.

  8. Great post! My kids didn't believe in Santa for long, but it didn't spoil Christmas for them. Love the idea of believing in the feeling of Christmas! Popping in as part of my blog comment challenge 300 in 30 days!


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