the truth about santa this year

Yes, there is a Santa ClausLast year around this time I shared a favorite Santa story (below). Several people mentioned being glad to have heard it, glad to have thought about what is wondrous and special and real in childhood, and how to navigate the times when others’ beliefs challenge what is important to us.

We all know that it is so important to be honest with kids. How else can we as parents build and maintain trust, establish ourselves as a resource for our kids, someone they can depend on? I never wanted to be one of those parents backed into a corner, stuck behind some expedient fib, having to reinterpret where babies come from. And so, for all of you thinking about Santa, a wish for a wondrous holiday and the chance to enjoy all the magic of the season. And now, the truth about Santa.

My son has a friend who grew up in a proud and pragmatic family free of fairies and magic. For them, there was never any Santa. One evening we were sitting around the dinner table and my son, then 5, asked directly, “Is Santa Claus real? Because Ethan told me it’s just your parents.” A silence came over the room as everyone—including my older children and my husband—waited for an answer. At that moment, taken off guard, there was no choice really but to tell the truth. “Santa is real,” I replied, “but when kids stop believing, their parents usually do take over.” Everyone, with relief and what seemed like renewed hope, happily returned to their dinner. –t

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