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Don't Blow Santa's Cover!

Santa Claus Surprised by the Christmas TreeChristmas is just around the corner, and that means Santa will be coming to town before you know it. Having young children during the holidays can be one of the most delightful, rewarding times for a parent. Who can resist the looks of absolute joy when the kids scamper to the tree in the morning and find what their hearts desired, or their excitement when they see the crumbs left on the plate of cookies they left for Santa?

A big part of Christmas is the lead up to Christmas Day, with the children making lists of what they want and hearing stories and songs about Santa. But maintaining that sense of wonder and belief can sometimes take some effort.

Here are some of the common issues that come up for parents when navigating the Santa discussions:

Answering tough questions.

Kids can ask tricky questions, and one false move on your part might burst the bubble. For instance, when my son was 8, he really wanted the Lego Death Star from Star Wars, which had a $500.00 price tag. When I explained that this was far too much money for his gift, he declared that he would just ask Santa for it then.

Uh oh.

I said, “That would be too much money for Santa too,” to which he replied, “No it wouldn’t, because the elves can just make it.”

Hmm, now what?

While it’s wonderful to think there’s a magical man out there who makes our dreams come true, we know as parents that this can’t apply to all dreams. One child might say she’s asking Santa to make her sick mother better, or another might ask for him to bring a lost pet home.

In these cases we need to sit our children down and explain that Santa simply can’t make every wish come true, but that he wants to give us a little gift that will make us happy.

To explain why Santa can’t give expensive gifts to every child (remembering that your child might have a friend that DOES get the Death Star), you can say, “Well, expensive gifts take a lot of time to make, and the elves have to make gifts for every single child. They try to make you what you want, but they can’t always do it.” This is why it’s important to have your child make a list of several things they might want, and not just be counting on one thing.

Fear of Lying.

Some people worry that their child will someday be angry with them for lying about Santa Claus, but the truth is that often the knowledge tends to dawn on a child slowly over time. Maybe one year they notice that Santa has the same handwriting as Mom, or that their house doesn’t actually have a chimney to come down, or that it would be pretty hard to give gifts to all the children of the world in just one night.

By the time they turn a certain age, they get it: Santa’s not real. We’ve all lived through it, and somehow managed to survive the heartbreak.

And even in the case where a child walks in on a parent eating the carrot that was left for Rudolf, or Dad hiding a Santa suit in the closet, however traumatic you think this might be for your child, they will get over it. Remember, they still get what they want….their presents.

The gift of magic.

Child-like wonder is precious, and there is only a short amount of time in our lives where we are capable of believing in the unbelievable. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with giving children that little thrill of magic and mystery.

Christmas is about thinking of others and giving gifts that make the people we love happy. Giving your child the gift of believing in Santa truly represents the spirit of the holidays.

Of course, that’s just MY opinion… and I know there a LOT of people who disagree with me on this one.

I’d love to hear YOUR comments on this subject. Simply share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section!

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