Him: “Mom, one of the kids at school said that my parents are Santa Claus.”
Me: “What?!!? That’s ridiculous. How on earth could your dad and I ride all over the world in just one night to deliver toys?”
Him: “That’s not really what I meant, Mom.”
Me: (Sigh) “Do you REALLY want to talk about it? Are you sure?”
I can remember having this conversation with my son during one of my family’s Christmases Past. It was clear that HE was sure. HE was ready. But was I?
In truth, no. Not really. What parent is anxious to rush his or her child into maturity? Not this one. But it was time … for him. So I swallowed hard, blinked back my tears, and told him we’d talk about everything when his dad came home.
Figuring out how to tell your kids about Santa is important. It’s a huge milestone in the life of every child and every parent and therefore best not to go in blindly.
1. Be prepared. This time of year is when kids talk the most about Santa. And your child’s question is likely to come out of thin air. A little advance thinking is the key to handling this moment appropriately.
2. Consider offering a little background information. Rather than having your child shift from total immersion to total awareness, you could start by explaining the real history of St. Nicholas and gently easing into the legend of Santa Claus. There are many websites available that can help you learn and retell the story, for example this one offered by the History Channel on YouTube: http://www.history.com/videos/origins-of-santa-claus#origins-of-santa-claus
3. Expect a little confusion, sadness and maybe even resentment. Personally, I fully expected the first two but the third took me by surprise. Many kids are known to express a feeling that they were “duped” and, while it’s not something any parent wants to hear, it’s not so far off the mark. We handled it by asking him if he thought we should tell his younger sister then went on to ask if he planned to perpetuate the magic for HIS kids when HE was a dad. And, after thinking about it from our perspective for a few minutes, his resentment melted away and he understood our choices.
4. Include the enlightened child in the magic. Now that our son is aware of “how the hot dogs are made,” he takes great delight is helping us keep the spirit alive for his sister. He assists in hiding our family’s infamous elf, tracking Santa on Christmas Eve and pointing out all the telltale signs of a special visit (like reindeer prints and cookie crumbs) on Christmas morning.
My kids are older than Mel’s, who still find their imaginations aglow with all things Santa Claus. Am I a little jealous? Well, yes. Of course, I am. It’s a very special time for every family. But the knowing twinkle in my son’s eye as he watched his sister tear through her bounty on Christmas morning was a proud moment for me as a parent. And the quietly-mouthed “thank you” he gave his dad and me after he finished opening all of his “Santa presents” filled the empty spot in my heart with a new kind of Christmas magic.
What are your tips on how to tell your kids about Santa? Let us know in the comments below.
Michele is the founder and editor of Old Dog New Tits, a blog about whatever craziness crosses her family’s path each day. She is a married mother of two from New Orleans who enjoys writing as much as possible. She is actively involved in her children’s lives and has served as everything from a room mother to a brownie leader to even the PTA President for a school of one thousand students. She also writes on a regular basis for writing competitions, freelance work and other small assignments. She is currently shopping publishers for a children’s book she completed recently and is always looking for new projects.
Melissa is the founder and editor of According to Mags, a blog about her children’s silly antics that keep her and her readers entertained. She also co-produces with her husband a children’s story podcast called Night Light Stories. Melissa is the proud mom of a seven-year-old boy and five-year-old girl. She holds a Masters degree in Special Education and is in her thirteenth year of teaching. Mel has taught all grade levels from preschool to grade five in both general and special education. Currently, she is a supervisor for student teachers at Walden University as well as a Homebound Teacher in the evenings.
More from Manilla.com: