Is Santa Real?
I’ll be the first to admit it, I believed in Santa Claus for an embarrassingly long time. As a kid I loved being surrounded by holiday spirit and I still feel there is something magical about Santa Claus. With Christmas spirit everywhere during the month of December, the mall, outside the grocery store and holiday ads, it’s only a matter of time until kids start asking the question, “Is Santa real?”
Ultimately how and when you talk to your child about the truth of Santa Claus will be unique to each family and situation. To get you started, here are five things to think about before you put together the big Santa talk.
1) Decide What is Important to Your Family: the Christmas season has many special meanings to different families. Is the meaning of Christmas in your family based on the birth of baby Jesus? The spirit of St. Nicholas or does it not have any religious foundation to you. Think about why Christmas is important to you and how you want your child to understand why we celebrate, this will help guide you through the conversation.
2) Are They Ready?: wait until they start asking you questions or doing research on their own. Kids are more likely to take the news better if they have been thinking about it and wondering versus telling them out of the blue. You might think it’s time to tell them, but it might not be on their radar at all. Unless they are on their way to college, let them believe a bit longer…isn’t it more fun that way anyway?
3) Be Aware of the “Fake Out”: if your kids are asking you questions about Santa quickly ask yourself, do they really want to know? Are they repeating a question they hear at preschool or heard on the television, or are they truly wondering. Young children might not understand the “magnitude” of their question. If you feel as if your child is still a bit young, and might not truly want to know the answer, try responding to them with the same question. “Do you think Santa is real?” or “Who do you think Santa is?” This will help you gauge the seriousness of their question.
4) Softening the Blow: finding out the truth about Santa can be crushing to some children and no big deal to others and how your child reacts might surprise you! Talk with your child about keeping the “spirit” alive and the holiday cheer. Keep your same traditions and share how Santa is in fact the spirit of love and giving or whatever the spirit of Christmas means to your family. This encourages that magical feeling to stay a part of the holiday season.
5) Use Props: books can be a great way to help explain hard situations to children by connecting with them more on their level. Here are a few you could try,
“Flight of the Reindeer: The True Story of Santa Claus and his Christmas Mission” by Robert Sullivan
“When Your Child Is Ready to Hear…The Truth About Santa Claus” by Alan Barrington
“The Real Magic of Santa Claus: Honest Answers That Will Make You Believe” by Anthony Canamucio