I loved the magic of Santa as a child, and I loved recreating that magic for my children when they were little. But in the back of my mind, it always bothered me a little that I was lying to my children – or at least not lying exactly, but going along with a falsehood. While I loved the joy and excitement that Santa’s gifts brought to my children, I didn’t like that it came from some random magic man and not someone they could thank – namely us, their awesome parents. So, as they got older, we still did the Santa thing, but we didn’t go out of our way to build it up, if that makes any sense.
Of course, there is another equation in my story of Santa. It’s that my dad IS Santa. No really. My parents are Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
When I was a photographer, my dad, who always sports a snow-white beard, would begin to let it grow longer in the late summer. By November every year, he was the perfect Santa for my studio, where he spent a week with me being Santa for pictures. This is his 5th year – and even though I no longer own the studio, he still went back for pictures. After all, some kids have grown up knowing him as Santa – he couldn’t let them down.
So, having your Papa as Santa adds another element to the whole “Santa” experience. The year my youngest was 2, EVERY Santa we saw out and about – be it at the mall, or even large yard decorations, was “Papa!” The next year, my 4 year old was convinced that her Papa was THE Santa. Like, for everyone. It was quite a magical year knowing such a fun secret! I think having my parents pose as Santa and Mrs. Claus every year added to the realization early-on for my children that Santa was “pretend”. And as I said before, we didn’t push the Santa thing on them, so if they asked us point blank THE question… we answered them truthfully. This is the first year that all of my children know the secret, and we are all okay with that. In fact, we are not doing “Santa” at all this year, and I’m honestly kind of excited.
Of course, my children are still getting gifts, but as we have cut back this year, they are getting one “big” gift and one “handmade” gift, and they all seem okay with that. I’m still very excited about what each of them is receiving, and the Christmas “magic” will still be there. It will just be coming from Mom & Dad instead of a man in a big red suit.
Will my children continue to take pictures with Santa every year? Of course! Santa is a part of the magic of Christmas. But it’s part of the fun of the season and not something I feel guilty about keeping from my children. We all know the secret “together” and it’s fun to keep it. We had a moral “dilemma” with my middle child this year. As we were headed out to a Christmas gathering where Santa and Mrs. Claus were going to be present, we went over the usual..
“Be sure not to call them Nana & Papa, and under NO circumstances are you to tell anyone that Santa is not real.”
“But, that’s a lie. I’ve been working on not lying, and I don’t want to lie.”
Ugh. Yes, we’ve been working on not telling lies with that one… It’s a tough situation. You do want to teach your child to be truthful – but on the other hand, you don’t want your child to be responsible for “spilling the beans” to another whose parents aren’t quite ready for them to know. What we decided in the end was…
A ~ They were not to bring up the subject AT ALL.
B ~ If someone comes out point blank and asks them if they believe Santa is real, they are to answer “I think you should talk to your parents about that.” That way, they aren’t lying, and they aren’t ruining someone’s Christmas either.
So that’s where my family is with Santa. It’s not a particularly helpful post, probably, but it’s just some random thoughts that have been in my head. Whether or not you choose to do Santa, I hope that you have a truly magical Christmas at your house this year!