Unsurprisingly there has been a flurry of blog posts this past week declaring whether their family believes in Santa or not. Some moms feel like encouraging kids believing in Santa is part of the magic and wonder of childhood while others (and others) don’t want to lie to their kids.
Both Stone and I grew up believing in Santa and neither of us felt screwed when we found out who was really supplying the presents under the tree. In fact, I remember feeling very important and grown up now that it was my job to help keep the magic alive for the younger kids.
Back when Solshine was a toddler I was trying to figure out how I felt about it. I certainly didn’t want to lie to my kids, but I also didn’t want to be Scrooge. I spent some time listening to other families stories and beliefs and I came across a mom who had four kids and who had always told her kids the “truth” about Santa. Everything went swell until child #4 decided that she believed in Santa. There was nothing her parents and older siblings could say to dissuade her from believing. In the end, the whole family changed their tune and had a particularly magical Christmas.
That story struck me and I decided that I would never flat out lie to my kids, but that I would never dissuade them from believing if they should choose.
I’ve had to field lots of questions about how Santa will find us (we stay at grandpa and mimi’s house on Christmas Eve) and these past few years I’ve been flat out asked if Santa is real.
Here is how I answer:
I share with him the original existence of Saint Nicholas and tell him that people were so moved that we continued the tradition. I tell him that there are many, many helpers who wish to keep Santa’s spirit alive and parents pitch in to make Christmas magical. When I’m flat out asked if I believe I say that I believe in the spirit of Christmas and I’m not sure if Santa exists. I also tell him that it doesn’t matter what I believe or others believe–it only matters what you believe.
I know people who believe in a lot of things that can’t be seen or understood by traditional means of measurement. I respect that everyone has the right to live life according to their own beliefs. I believe there is more to life than what meets the eye and who am I to tell another what is and isn’t so.
Right now my 6 year old believes in Santa, but thinks all the Santas he sees around the town are people dressed up. My 3 year old’s eyes light up like no other when he sees any Santa anywhere. And that magic–I do believe in.
Does your family do Santa?