Do you carry on the practice of Santa for your children? I never gave it much thought. I wanted to give my children the full experience of the magic of Christmas and instilled a belief in Santa. The children had fun and I had fun playing Santa. That is until my youngest learned the truth.
My youngest was 9 when he learned there wasn’t a real Santa living at the North Pole who in one night visited each and every home around the world to bring presents. His hurt is something I’ve never forgotten.
He felt that I had betrayed him. He stressed how I had raised him to tell the truth on everything, even if it meant he could get in trouble, and then I lied to him each and every year. Needless to say I was shocked by his reaction.
It didn’t get any better as he got older. The subject of Santa came up over the following years, and his belief that I broke a cardinal rule of our family continued to be his prevailing view.
Today he is a father, and his view still hasn’t changed. He is going through the process of what to tell his daughter about Christmas, and I should add his wife is very supportive of his feelings on this matter agreeing to work something out that fits their family, even though I think she really wants to play Santa. He is torn between wanting the honesty that he feels I robbed him of between us, and wanting to give his daughter those magical moments he still recalls from his early Christmas mornings. For my son there has never been grey in the world everything is black or white.
We have had several conversations about his views recently on this subject and here’s what it boils down to.
- If you want your children to be honest with you, you need to teach that in every way from very little on up by always telling them the absolute truth.
- If you raise a child to believe in Santa, then you are instilling in them the possibility that they will want more from the holiday. You are robbing them of what a simple Christmas can be by letting them believe Santa can grant their biggest wish.
- In our home money was tight, yep single mothers sometimes struggle. My son feels badly that I had to take on more stress trying to come up with the perfect gift to give from Santa while trying to stay within a budget.
- Mostly, the presents from Santa are the ones that are the “extra” special ones. The ones mom and dad say they can’t afford. He would like to have those special presents be from mom and dad. He jokes that if he does tell his daughter there is a Santa, Santa will be the one giving socks and underwear.
What do you think? I’m beginning to think my son might have something here. Yes, I did overspend on the holidays trying to give them one of their wishes and having that be from Santa. Yep, guilty the best present under the tree was always from Santa in my opinion. Yet some of his most treasured gifts were the little ones from me. For example, each year he received a different eagle from me for his collection. These cost very little but meant the most to him in the end.
Is there some truth to my son’s feelings that we instill higher expectations on the parents to be able to give a special present from Santa that adds stress to the parents in the shopping season?
Are we breaking a cardinal rule by telling this “white lie” to our children all in wanting to experience our children’s eyes light up on Christmas morning?
A final issue we have is how to handle the situation when cousins get together and some are raised believing in Santa and some aren’t. Depending on what my son decides we will all figure this one out when we need to just like we did when the older children no longer believed and the little ones did.