Let’s talk about Santa!
The holidays are a magical time of year, but for parents, the Santa issue can pose a real dilemma. As adults, we have a tendency to think in terms of black and white, so when it comes to Santa, many parents feel like they only have two choices: lie and tell kids Santa is real or be honest and ruin the magic of Christmas. But what if there was another option? What if there was a way to embrace the magic of Santa Claus without being dishonest?
It may sound strange, but I truly think it’s possible to believe in Santa without believing he’s real.
Let me explain. In our home, we’re honest about Santa. My kids have asked us directly whether Santa Claus is real, and we tell them the truth: No, Santa isn’t a real person like me and you. He doesn’t really live at the North Pole with a bunch of cute little elves and reindeer, and he doesn’t really fly around the world in one night jumping down chimneys and delivering gifts. But we also tell them that this is a magical story that a lot of people love to pretend is real when it’s Christmas time.
The thing is, children don’t need things to be real to enjoy them. Children have such rich imaginations and so much creativity, and they don’t view the world in black and white. There’s this whole grey space that our kids can inhabit so easily, this place of magic, daydreaming, and pretending. When we let our adult brains get in the way, we don’t give our children enough credit.
In fact, my kids are not deprived of holiday magic at all. Even though they know Santa isn’t real, they like to read books about Santa and engage in imaginative play, pretending he and his elves are up there at the North Pole hard at work making gifts. This pretending is entirely child-led; my kids determine how far we go with the story.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing isn’t whether Santa is real or not; it’s all about the space you create around the story.
Ultimately, the way you deal with Santa Claus in your home is a very personal choice and something you have to decide for yourself. If you do go the traditional route and tell your kids Santa is real, it’s unlikely to harm them. However, I have heard a lot of stories about children who were really upset when they found out their parents had lied to them. I can’t tell you what’s right for you and your family, but I hope I’ve at least shown you that there is another option.