Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dirty Secrets about Santa Clause

This morning I was giving my 5-year-old a hug and was about knocked over backwards by his breath. It was bad. I told him he'd better go brush his teeth because his breath was smelly. He said, "like Santa?".

Huh?

Apparently last year when he got a chance to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what he wanted for Christmas, Santa had smelly breath. Santa always leaves toothbrushes in our stockings, maybe he needs to keep one out for himself. Or maybe we could start leaving breath mints instead of cookies (someone needs to look our for santa's dental health)...

Since he's in kindergarten this year, I'm waiting for the day that my 5-year-old comes home from school saying that so and so told him that there's no such thing as santa. I've been trying to think of what I will do when that time comes. I don't want to lie to him if he asks directly, but I want him to believe for as long as possible. Believing is magical, and every childhood ought to have as much magic as possible.

I've had a couple of suggestions. The first is to tell him that santa only brings presents to those who believe (although the mother that told me that wondered if she was just teaching her child to lie to her....). The other was to say, "some people believe and some people don't, but it sure is fun to believe so why don't we?".

There's also explaining about how santa represents the spirit of giving, just like the wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus.

What would you do?

7 comments:

Tyler Farrer said...

Just found this study was done into what children may, or may not believe.

Natalie said...

We told our 4 year old the truth about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny this week (it was Monday, actually, right after FHE). We debated doing it last year, but didn't. We've always struggled with the numerous lies it takes to keep the kids believing, but the reason we broke it to her - she saw Elf last year, and got hysterical - she was so worried that Santa would come into our house and take her brother. She was so freaked out last year that we had to place an emergency 2:00 AM pretend phone call to Santa (two weeks before Christmas) and tell him to leave the presents on the front lawn when he came. She started freaking out 4 weeks earlier this year. We just decided that she needed to know we would keep our family safe. She was worried that we were letting strangers in our house while we were asleep, a serious lack of judgement for such conscientious parents. For her, it wasn't fun, it was terrifying, and nothing we told her could calm her down. Her response was priceless. With HUGE eyes, she asked, "Are you kidding me?" We tried really hard not to laugh. We told her that she couldn't tell anyone. She's done well - after asking, "Can I tell Jake about the kidding," and being reminded why she couldn't, she hasn't broken the news to her 8 year old brother, yet. You may want to watch her really close when she comes over to play with your boys.

Allie said...

Well, that explains why she said to me "did you know there is no such thing as santa?" in the car the other day. Luckily my 5-year-old was at school, and my 2-year-old wasn't paying attention- hopefully (and doesn't really know enough to care who santa is currently).

Maybe remind her about not talking to other people (when kids are present anyway).

Tyler Farrer said...

What's this about Santa not being real? ;)

C. Carico said...

I don't think I'd feel comfortable lying to a child. It is my understanding that St. Nick is based upon a real person who gave gifts to the needy. If a child asked me if Santa Claus was real, I would tell them (after brushing up on the history) St. Nick's story and stress the spirit of generosity, love, and giving to the less fortunate, which is as real as you make it. There's nothing wrong with saying it is a secret when they ask who fills their stockings or leaves presents for them. One is allowed to have such a secret, after all. It will allow the magic to continue a little longer, and it doesn't involve any lies. Voila!

Allie said...

Don't listen to any of it Tyler. Santa is real! (he may not be one person who flies around in a sleigh though).

wordsfromhome said...

Well, I think I want to weigh in on the Santa issue. Part of how children learn their place in the workd is by role play. Some of it is based on reality, and some of it is purely fantasy, but it all helps them to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. The concept of Santa helps them learn good things about life. Sooner or later they get past the presents and into why Santa gives. The role model there is not the person, it is the love and kindness, sometimes also know as charity or Christ-like love. A child does not need a Santa concept to learn these things, just good parents and other real role models. But Santa is a wonderful tradition, and I think it is great if a child can hold onto the magic of it for a few years.