This year, I got asked a few times, ‘Do your kids still believe in Santa?’ and received quite a few shocked looks to my answer. ‘They never believed.’ What? Why are you stealing the magic of Christmas? What about the wonder and joy of the season? What do you have against Santa?
I’m quite fond of Santa. Here’s how I explained it to my kids: he’s a fun figure who has evolved in our cultural and literary history. He embodies generosity toward children and encourages good behavior. He’s like Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder.
Believe in fairies and dragons and magic. I do with my heart and enjoy suspending reality for a time. Hear the silent bell ring on the polar express and believe. Enjoy the thought of elves making toys and the stories and lessons you can glean from them like we do from Mother Goose rhymes and other fables.
Then, mindful of the phone calls I’d get from parents if they spilled the beans in pre-school, I strongly encouraged them to go along with it. They were in on the secret, but they shouldn’t tell the other children or it would hurt their feelings.
Rob and I are far too logical, and chances were (and have since proven) our kids would be too. So I had a hard time justifying a ‘bait and switch’ for the season. Here’s how the coming out conversation would have gone. (more…)