Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Christmas! Day 9 ~ Enough with Santa already~

A woman I know once told me that when her kids questioned whether Santa Claus existed, she would reply,

"If you don't believe you won't receive."

That phrase and the picture from my last Christmas post got me thinking about a problem I've been having the last couple of years with my older children and Santa Claus. Call me Scrooge, call me a Bah Humbugger, but enough already with that charade. It's one thing when the children are little - they really get into it and it's not hard to fool them - but it's quite another when they're pre-teen and teenagers.

I feel like I need to train with the Secret Service specializing in:

~~the careful selection of different kinds of wrapping paper

~~how to disguise handwriting (I write with my LEFT HAND, duh)

~~making sure the gifts are hidden in Fort Knox- like places

Good grief it's a lot of work!

I was ten when I finally recognized the words, From Santa, in my mother's handwriting. I asked her about it, she gave me the skinny. Simple as that. She was probably relieved, like I would be that the circus of disguise could finally end.

I however, have one older son who refuses to get the hint - that Santa doesn't exist. Aren't they supposed to figure it out on their own? Aren't they supposed to put two and two together and finally ask?

So my problem is thus: Should we tell them the truth when they ask about the big Elf, or should we prolong it with a phrase like the one above? When they reach a certain age, is it just time to tell them?

One of the joys of parenting is bearing the heavy hand of truth.
Just one more thing no one tells us about before we reproduce..

That eventually we'll have to, in essence, kill Santa.


Ben and Christina said...

My friend's mom did something that I thought was really neat. She told them that Santa was the "spirit of Christmas"-meaning, the spirit of giving and kindness and goodness. So in that respect, he is (hopefully) alive and well, even though he doesn't actually go around and give presents...just an idea- definitley let us know what you decide!

Bryce and Mandy said...

This is a hard one for me. As someone who believed in Santa for as long as I possibly could (not for the presents, I just loved the idea of Santa)I find it so sad to dash a kids dreams. But, does he really not know? I was in denial for a long time. Deep down I knew he wasn't real, but I just couldn't let myself believe it because it was such a disappointment. I would say don't tell him but this is coming from someone who only has a one year old and doesn't have to worry about playing Santa so take my advice with a grain of salt. :)

Bryce and Mandy said...

I still remember the day I saw my mother throw Santa's cookies in the trash. This was in the denial stage of course, but I thought, "Nooooo!" It was after that I completley stopped believing. Maybe you should try that. :)

The Bradfords said...

Guess what friend, I totally agree with you on this. I knew some people who told their kids from the get-go that there was no Santa and I thought they were so mean and heartless. But then when I became a mom I couldn't figure out why I was lieing to my kids all the time!!! I like Santa (my tree is decorated with tons of Santa ornaments) and the legend that exists with it, but I wish that is was treated as a story rather than him being real to so many kids. (Lest you think I am heartless and mean, my kids have all grown up thinking Santa brought the presents...)

However, my husband and I would like our kids to know that we actually work hard to get those presents for them, using our hard earned money. Should Santa really get all that credit? Elder F. Enzio Busche, emeritus member of the Seventy, grew up in Germany and was taught that all the Christmas gifts came from/because of the baby Jesus. My opinion is that this is the true source of the gifts and I like that explanation better.

But people are believers, especially children. They want to believe in Santa so it's pretty hard to tell them he's not real, but how bad is that? At least they have hope, and hope may be what gets them through life. I've always loved Francis P. Church's answer to Virginia about Santa's existence. It makes much more sense to me as an adult, that the very idea of Santa makes our world a better place. Santa is a giver and that is what we should do at Christmas, right?

In a nutshell, even if you tell your kids the truth there will still be a glimmer of hope that somehow that one great present will magically appear on Christmas morning. I know I'm hoping this year.

Lula O said...

I don't want to be mean and heartless. I don't want to cut letters out of magazines to identify who's gifts are who's, either. I'll probably just be neutral. I won't say either way, until they are quite determined to know. Then I'll tell them.

I think I've figured out my son. He doesn't ask so I won't tell him what he doesn't want to hear. Like the army.

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