Monday, December 13, 2010

The Santa Dilemma

When I was 7 or 8, I started hearing rumors that Santa was a made-up character. I asked my dad, and he assured me that Santa was real. So I broke some kid's nose when he argued with me that Santa did not exist. Kidding. But I did vigorously defend Santa's honor against the other children who chanted that I was a big dummy for continuing to believe. When my dad eventually admitted that Santa did not exist, I was furious. I wasn't upset about the overall myth of Santa; I was angry that my father had lied to me when I asked him straight out for the truth. I remember thinking to myself that I would tell the truth to my kids if they asked me about Santa.

Ahem.

I've never set out deliberately to fool my children into believing in Santa, but they've managed to learn about him despite my attempts to run ahead into stores and hide all the displays or tape the mouths of their playmates who begin babbling about Claus's reindeer or his elves or his big jelly belly. I've said NOTHING to my 4-year-old twins about Santa, but this year, they seem to know all about him and how he works.

So do I give in and let the charade continue? Or do I nip it in the bud?

My eldest daughter figured out on her own. She never cared one way or the other about Santa, so realizing he was a myth didn't bother her. My second daughter was one of those kids who really got into Christmas, and I may or may not have encouraged her excitement with a present marked "From Santa" and a half-eaten cookie left on the plate she set out for him. When she eventually came to me in earnest and asked me to tell her the truth, I did . . .  and we both had a big cry at the loss of her childish belief. It was quite traumatic for her and for me, and I don't ever want to go through that again.

I'm such a hypocrite.



Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas, green salad


15 comments:

Anne said...

My older daughter figured out that Santa isn't real on her own and wasn't upset about it. When my youngest came to me and asked about Santa I turned it back on her and asked if she believed in him. When she said yes I said, Okay. But I figure this is the last year.... She's 6.

Karen Peterson said...

Wow. That Santa looks so good. :-)

My mom let us believe for as long as we wanted and when I asked her, she told the truth. I will never understand the parents that go to such great lengths to keep their kids believing long after reason has told them not to.

Michele said...

The twins look adorable in the photo, and particularly identical as well. Usually I have trouble telling them apart. And TWO NORMAL SMILES? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO???

I'll post our own Santa story when I have a few minutes alone with the computer. Probably sometime in June.

Aunt Crazy said...

I've commented on several Santa posts in the last couple of weeks. I never felt traumatized by learning that Santa wasn't "real" and neither have either of my kids, who are 17 and 14. I think for me, my kids, my mom, my granny, it's the spirit of Santa and the holidays and those traditions that have been going on in my family for generations that help keep Santa "real". At our house, no matter how old you are, Santa fills your stocking and Santa brings the most wanted or most loved gift. Even though my kids know it's their parents, it's the fun we have with talk of Santa and stories about how we hope Santa knows that trinket we want in our stocking or the gift we'd love to find on Christmas morning.

Dawn (Bee and Rose) said...

My daughter is almost 8 and still hanging in with the Santa thing:) I think this will be the last year though...Too many kids around her are spilling the beans!

Dawn (Bee and Rose) said...

Oh! The girls look so adorable!!!!

Quadmama said...

I'm really not looking forward to the day when my girls figure this out. Christmas morning is just so much fun when you have little ones who have no idea what to expect. I have a feeling this year or next will be one of the last ones in which they believe in Santa.

Katherine said...

I never believed in Santa. My boys don't either. We didn't go through great lengths to discourage it, we just never brought it up. When they asked about Santa, we just say he's a fun part of Christmas, like dressing up at Halloween.

blueviolet said...

It's just such a magical, wonderful time for children that it really is hard to let it go. I feel for you.

The Shultzs said...

The girls look so cute! I never really wanted the kids "into" Santa, but friends/relatives can change that. Seth came yo me two years ago and I told him the truth, Andrew hasn't directly said anything, but I believe he knows, Aubrey is pretty much at that moment, she's definitely wondering, Aaron is too young yet, and I'm not sure that I will play the charade with him or not. =\
Tough call either way!
Merry Christmas!!~

Michelle Hoad said...

The year I found out about Santa, my mom woke me up on Christmas eve and let me help set up my sister's Christmas gifts. After I went back to bed, she set up mine so I could be surprised too. Best Christmas Ever.

Mother Mayhem said...

Emily will be 15. She claims to know Santa doesn't really exist, but still has her doubts. LOL

When she asked, I was honest. Much to my relief, all Emily said was that she was relieved to know that mom and dad brought the presents and that there wasn't some strange old man sneaking in her house to do it. Snort.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I would never tell a child there is no Santa. Sure there isn't actually a man that comes into our house on Christmas eve, but he is the spirit of Christmas. It's parents everywhere buying presents and making a special morning for their children. It's goodness and generosity. When you think about it, knowing the truth isn't giving up much at all.

Lisha @ DeLovely Life said...

Visiting from sits! Oh, you're right. Definite dilemma! I think it's okay either way but I can't say I know what I'd do because baby girl is way too little to understand or care. P.S. Adorable picture!

c.e.l.i.n.a said...
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