Wednesday, 7 January 2015

How I tell my kids about Santa

The big question that comes up at this time of year is how do we tell the kids about Santa, how long can we keep the myth of Santa alive?  It's a conundrum, I mean some kids can believe until some kid at school tells them otherwise, then they wonder if you the parent has been *gasp* lying to them all these years.  Some kids stumble onto Santa gifts in the closet and though they don't know what they are at the time, Christmas morning when they are in the stocking or under the tree, the gig is up.  And I guess sometimes kids never stop believing, but they know the truth.  So how do we tell our kids about Santa, and why does this myth continue to have such a huge life at this time of the year?

I remember when I was a kid (man a lot of my blogs are written like this) I was the kid that stumbled upon the Santa gifts in my mom's closet.  I was snooping, it was my own fault.  I'm not a huge one for surprises, I like to know, hence, why I found out what each of my babies were before they were born. So that Christmas morning when I went up the stairs and saw the doll that had been in the closet for me from Santa I knew that my mom had been Santa and that Santa didn't exist.  I had younger siblings though so I wasn't going to ruin it for them, especially my brother who was one or two at the time.  Also my mom told me when I stop believing in Santa, Santa stops bringing presents, I have never stopped believing and Santa still brings me presents.

So even though the little old man in the bright red suit maybe a figment of the imagination, he was based off a real person and what that person did is why he became immortalized.  Saint Nick, gave gifts to little children just so they had something, not because he wanted anything in return, he just wanted to do something kind, something nice.  He wanted to show that he was thinking of others that the happiness of others is just as important if not more important than your own happiness.  So I believe in the spirit of Santa.

Santa has an army of people who help him every year.  Every parent, friend, stranger that decides to do something to bring joy to someone else for the sake of bringing joy to them embodies Santa.  And that's not a horrible thing, that's a very human thing that celebrates our humanity.  So I always am honest that the Mall Santa's are Santa's helpers, they come down and look like Santa and help Santa with all the kids.  I always tell my kids it's what Santa does that is important not who he is or what he looks like.  That seems to helps them when they learn the fat man in the red suit isn't "real".

We start off slow, we let them play Santa to friends.  It's also the Advent Angel to put a religious twist on it.  So then they get to participate in the being Santa and get that feeling of giving to others without them being aware of it! It's a lot of fun, then they get to be Santa to a family member and are responsible for picking out the Santa gifts (around 10 years of age because by this point they are generally worldly enough to know Santa isn't real, but they aren't willing to destroy the belief).  By doing this slowly I don't out and out destroy the illusion of Santa I bring the illusion of Santa into reality.  So it's not about telling the kids that Santa isn't real, it's about telling the kids that what Santa does is even bigger than just one person!! It's truly pretty amazing!!

How do you plan to bridge the Santa Story with your kids?

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