Christmas is the most magical time of the year for young kids. The mystery of Santa, the beauty of the snow, and the memories created with friends and family.
There is also a rough transition when you are a child with a fear of learning the truth about Santa. I remember when I was a child... I do not remember the age, because let's face it, that was a really long time ago. 😅 But I remember writing a letter to Santa that year asking for a button (or something) from his coat so I knew he was real. My parents did their best and wrote me a letter back with a special ornament. It was a wreath with a bell. Santa told me in the letter that he couldn't give me what I asked for, but he was leaving this magical bell from his sleigh for me. I am not sure if my parents knew or not, but that was the day I stopped believing in Santa. Not because of anything they did. In fact, they taught me a love of Christmas that has carried me through life. But I was disappointed that day. I didn't let on during our Christmas celebration because I had two younger sisters that still believed in Santa and his magic, so I did not want to ruin it for them.
If you are a parent in this situation and need to tell the truth about Santa, there is, what I believe, a great way that has been circulating on social media. It is a little story between a father and son.
Son: "Dad, I think I'm old enough now. Is there a Santa Claus?."
Dad: "Ok, I agree that you are old enough. But before I tell you, I have a question for you. You see, the “truth” is a dangerous gift. Once you know something, you can't unknow it. Once you know the truth about Santa Claus, you will never again understand and relate to him as you do now. So my question is: Are you sure you want to know?"
Son: "Yes, I want to know."
Dad: "Ok, I'll tell you: Yes there is a Santa Claus."
Dad: Yes, really, but he's not an old man with a beard in a red suit. That's just what we tell kids. You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way that they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he's not a person at all; he's an idea. Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years. I actually bought those myself. I watched you open them. And did it bother me that you didn't thank me? Of course not! In fact, it gave me great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is THE IDEA OF GIVING FOR THE SAKE OF GIVING, without thought of thanks or acknowledgment. When I saw that woman collapse on the subway last week and called for help, I knew that she'd never know that it was me that summoned the ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that."
Dad: "So now that you know, you're part of it. You have to be Santa Claus too now. That means you can never tell a young kid the secret, and you have to help us select Santa presents for them, and most importantly, you have to look for opportunities to help people. Got it?"
This story is a great way to see it from a child's perspective. This story is also a great way for you to get an idea about how to tell your child. There is no right or wrong way. It is going to be hard either way, but if you can use it as an inspiration to teach your child how to love others, I consider it a win!
If you would like to start a new tradition with your family, we have something that can help. I created a book called Mission Fat Hearts, from an idea a friend of mine had. Mission Fat Hearts is an interactive story about spreading kindness throughout the holiday season through random acts of kindness.
It starts with a short picturebook story, then ends with 25 random acts of kindness that kids can easily do on their own, or with the help of an adult. They are simple ideas that can spread a whole month of love for many people. It starts on December 1st, but you could start at any time!