"What's Santa bringing you this Christmas?"....the dreaded question is asked while my 3 girls respond with a blank stare, piled in the shopping cart. In previous years I have not made a big deal about Santa and they were blissfully ignorant. Now more and more questions are asked.
I am not one to be enchanted with the thought of telling my kids that there is an elf far away that will bring toys to all the good girls and boys. I know some parents are, and I don't think that makes them bad parents. I just don't want to, for several reasons.
I don't want to take away from the story of Christ's birth, and don't want it to get confusing...so, which is real and which is pretend?
I don't want the entire Christmas season to be filled with the gimmes. I haven't even shopped yet. I have not asked them what they want. I'm a natural procrastinator.
There are too many things in this game that don't make sense to me and it drives me crazy. I over analyze and it makes it very hard to be excited about a story that makes no sense. If Santa is the one bringing the toys, why does every one go Christmas shopping? Kids are smart, and if they were to ask me a question like that I would just have to say, "I KNOW! It just does not make sense!"
I want my kids to trust me, and I want to be honest with them. And, well, I'm a bad liar.
But this year, my kids just think I'm crazy! There has to be a Santa Clause! Everyone says so, and he is at the mall!!! Sigh.
Yesterday after gymnastics, my daughter comes up to me "Mommy, there really IS a Santa Clause! My teacher believes in him! She said that he will only come if you believe!"
Ok, I understand that probably what happened was that my daughter was the Scrooge that announced to the whole class that Santa was not real, and so the teacher had to cover up so no one else's dreams would be crushed. But it really confused my 6 year old.
I looked at her and said:"Do you really think that there is a guy that has flying reindeer that comes delivers toys to all the kids in one night by fitting down the chimney?" She burst out laughing and said "NO!"
But I still had a problem. Now, my kids think their teacher lied to them, and lying is bad. They also think Santa is bad. Oh, and we don't want angry parents because my kids are going around telling them that their parents are lying to them.
Thankfully, I have been to several Mom's groups that have discussed this and got a few ideas.
One of my goals for my kids is to be able to distinguish truth from the rest- in many different areas. Really, with so many theories out there, how do we know? I don't want them believing whatever they hear, no matter who said it. If it does not make sense, we should investigate.
So, what do we know about the truth regarding Santa Clause? I found a kid-friendly story about St. Nicholas, and read it to the girls.
Then I asked them to tell me which statements were true or pretend?
Santa Clause's real name is Nicholas.
Santa is from the North Pole.
Nicholas wore a red robe.
Santa won't give you a present if you are naughty.
St. Nicholas loved children.
St. Nicholas loved God.
You should be good so you get a lot of presents for Christmas.
We should remember St. Nicholas because he was giving and should follow his example in our lives.
Some adults like to pretend and tell children that Santa is real.
Santa comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve and delivers all of the presents.
Santa Clause has elves and reindeer.
St. Nicholas put a present in stockings hung by the fire.
They got most of them right, but still had one question. "Why do children still believe that there is a Santa?" ....I don't remember what I said, but it was not convincing. Some things take time to soak in.
We agreed that we could still pretend that there was a Santa by writing letters and hanging stockings, but we know the real Christmas story, and we know that is the truth. I think.:)