I grew up believing in Santa Claus. Every year I would stay awake in bed as long as I could, hoping to hear Santa or his reindeer on the roof. Sometimes I would convince myself that I DEFINITELY HEARD SOMETHING. I would leave out cookies or pie and squeal in excitement when I woke up the next day and just a few cookies were eaten or some of the pie was gone. It was magical and exciting. Around age nine is when I realized that Santa didn’t exist. Some kids at school told me. Was I upset? Yes. But at the same time I felt like I was too old to really care about it. Of course that might have something to do with the way the kids at school told me, because, you know, “only babies still believe in Santa.” Even still, there was that one time around age six that my sister and I accidently found our presents in the closet. So that finally made sense at least.
My husband, on the other hand, was raised not to believe in Santa. So this was definitely a point of discussion when we got married. At first I was very resistant to the idea of NOT having our kids believe in Santa. I remembered all the magic that I loved so much. Every time that I tried to stay awake all night…and I couldn’t imagine my kids not feeling that same excitement. But eventually I gave into the idea of not doing the Santa thing because it all boiled down to the fact that I didn’t want to lie to the kids. I just didn’t feel right about it. We’re Christians and even though I never once questioned if God was real when I found out that Santa isn’t real…I didn’t want to give our kids a reason to question that. So I told Jeremy that I was OK with telling the kids the truth about Santa as long as we still encouraged them to pretend that Santa is real. To pretend that the magic is there and to have fun with it.
And of course I would take them to get their picture with Santa every year. Since that’s no different than getting their picture with Mickey Mouse or a Disney Princess in my eyes.
Now if you haven’t been reading my blog for very long, then you should know that my daughter Shade has always walked on the rebellious side of life. We told her that counting was “1-2-3” when she was younger and she insisted with everything in her soul that the proper way to count was “2-1-6.” So of course the issue of pretending that Santa is real has backfired on us. Shade is actually ARGUING with us about Santa not being real. We keep telling her that he’s not real and that it’s still fun to pretend, but she doesn’t believe us.
“But he IS real,” she says.
And we have NO CLUE what to say to that. Here we are, thinking that we’re being awesome parents by not lying to her about Santa. And she doesn’t believe us. Not only that, but I can tell she’s feeling frustrated with us. So the other day when she mentioned something about Christmas and Santa. I said…
“It’s fun to pretend about Santa, isn’t it?”
“I wish you and daddy would stop saying he’s not real,” she said.
“What do you mean? You want us to talk about him like he’s real?” I said.
“Yeah!” she said.
“…OK. We can do that for you,” I said.
And then she looked up at me and smiled REALLY big and gave me a hug.
So I guess that’s what we’re doing. I felt nervous when I had to tell Jeremy about Shade’s request. I just wasn’t sure how he would take it. But he was perfectly fine with it and I really don’t mind. Like I said, I always wanted my kids to have that feeling of Christmas magic. So maybe now they can have it and I won’t have the guilt of having lied to them. And one day when Shade finds out that Santa isn’t real, she can’t get mad at me, right? I mean, I told her the truth! I was honest!
What about you guys? Were you raised to believe in Santa? If you have kids, do you teach them about Santa? And do they resist whichever way you teach them to believe? Leave a comment and let me know!