“Mom, a Friend at School Said Santa Isn’t Real…”
Maybe you’ve been dreading it since the day they started school. Or maybe you can’t wait to make things simpler on you that night of December 24th. But eventually, you’re going to have to have the talk. Have you figured out exactly how you’ll say it? Will you try to sustain the magic another year by denying this other child’s allegations or saying that parents “help” Santa sometimes? Or will you lay it all on the table for them? It’s tricky to know how to handle it – especially if they have younger siblings, or you don’t want to be getting phone calls from the parents of tearful classmates.
My parents, when I was young and precocious, offered the winking explanation that they had always heard that if you didn’t believe in Santa, you wouldn’t get presents, and they didn’t want to risk it. I had a sister 6 years younger than me, so their solution was to “bring me in on the secret”. Even when I was older and helping put together toys on Christmas Eve, Santa was always a figure on Christmas morning. Even now, as full-grown adults, my sister and I smile at my parents and say, “Thank you, Santa” as we open our stockings. Another important thing to note – whenever I see Santa “magic” presented on screen, in plays, or in neverperson, I still have that jolt of childhood excitement in my heart. I love that my parents never extinguished that flame of joy for seasonal magic!
Another excellent way to “tell them the truth” is to read books about the real Saint Nicholas. The legend came from a real man, so it’s a good way to satisfy their questions while also keeping the spirit of his work in their minds.
A fantastic book to read with them, especially if you don’t want to lose the magic of Santa is The Secret Society of Saint Nicholas by Katherine North. It’s the perfect way to “bring them in on the secret” and encourage them to carry on the tradition of kindness and giving at the Holidays.
Elicit their help in creating Christmas joy for others – finding ways to make people smile. Talk to them about what matters to them, and see if you can find a local charity that supports those values. See if you and your child can volunteer your time or donate money to help. Ask them to notice the people who help make your lives better – your mail carrier, the jolly cashier at the grocery store, a kind custodian at school who has a smile for every child – and see if they can think of a way to thank them. Adults love to be recognized for their inner magic just as much as children.
Especially if they are truly distraught by the information that no one is going to come down their chimney, discuss with them the other parts of the Holiday season that make them feel all warm and cozy inside. Make a list of ALL the things that are important to them about Christmas, outside of Santa and presents. You might be surprised that something you do off-hand is one of their favorite memories.
How did your parents talk to you about Santa? Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? Help us all out by sharing!
Originally posted on Kivity.com December 28, 2021