We've reached that point in parenting where our 8-year-old asks questions, wanting to know the truth about Santa.
Choosing whether to play Santa was a tough decision for my husband and me as a Christian family. Ultimately, it meant the world to our extended family to do it, and I must admit, it's been a fun run.
Now that we are receiving the questions from our very analytical 8-year-old, I find myself concerned about his younger brother. Seeing their eyes light up about the holiday season, celebrating Jesus' birthday, and plotting gifts they can give to Santa (their idea, unprovoked).
The conversations sparked a new level of curiosity, drive to give, and love towards each other and their community that I couldn't imagine having happened if it weren't for their belief in Christmas.
The Truth About Santa
The concept of your child waking up to the truth about Santa is scary to many parents, especially when you're worried about losing your child's trust for lying to them for so long.
The best way to handle your child feeling deceived is to be honest. But doing so doesn't have to devastate your kids or ruin your sacred parent-child relationship.
The Lesson Behind the Idea of Santa
I loved the story floating around social media with the father and son talking about Santa, so I'll paraphrase it here. I say paraphrase because the concept was good, but I felt it could be expanded on to be more understandable for my kids, and wanted to share that version with you.
Yes. There really is a Santa Claus, but he's not an old man with a beard in a red suit with elves and reindeer. And he isn't someone who sneaks into people's homes, as you've been told.
You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it in a way that they can understand, through story telling.
Story telling is an ancient way of communicating history, events, life lessons, and news. The story of Santa is no different. Its a story passed on through generations to teach an important lesson.
The truth about Santa 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 it didn't bother me at all that you didn't thank me.
I greatly enjoyed watching you open them.
You see, the concept of Santa Claus is that of giving for the sake of giving, without thought of thanks or acknowledgment…
Giving for the Sake of Giving
Think of all those random acts of kindness we do for others. We don't do them to receive acknowledgment or to be thanked. We do them because to give without the expectation of receiving is a heart-centered gift for us to give to our community, our family, and those in need.
When we do random acts of kindness or give to charities, food banks, church, and community members in need, we are acting as Santa in a manner that relates to what we've learned from Jesus.
Encouraging Older Kids To Join the Tradition
In our family, we don't often promote keeping secrets from other family members, but younger children find difficulty in understanding Santa and the spirit of giving. So instead of focusing on Santa's true origins being a secret not to tell their younger siblings, it's a lesson we are allowing them to learn as they're ready.
Invite your older child to become Santa by helping choose and wrap presents for younger siblings.
Continue the Santa trend by challenging him/her to always look for opportunities to help people in your community.