Parents: prepare yourselves. At some point, it’s going to happen. On the bus, at the playground — somewhere, an older kid is going to tell your child there is no Santa. When they do, what will you say?
Our babysitter once poured cold water on the head of a kid who did that. It shut down the conversation, that’s for sure! But should you find yourself without water or duct tape handy, you’ll need to think of another strategy, fast. Like the conversations about death and the facts of life, kids tend to spring these things on you without warning.
Here’s what I think. In parenting, as in life, there are different strokes for different folks. (Another time, remind me to tell you all how I found myself Googling Gary Coleman and explaining the plot of “Diff’rent Strokes” to my kids.) I understand that all families may not believe in the same things. But we should all be mindful, and encourage our loose-lipped older kids to be mindful, that not everybody thinks the way they do. Especially when some of us are only in kindergarten. Why is it always the doubters who are the loudest, anyway?
Is it really so hard to believe in a jolly, white-bearded gentleman who bestows gifts and goodwill on the children of the world once a year? And is it that much of a stretch to believe that there are things that exist that we can’t see or touch or prove scientifically? (Even Sheldon Cooper believes in Santa. Sort of.) And why is it that the older and supposedly wiser we get, the more we think we know?
The older I get, the more I learn just how much I still don’t know, and just how much can’t be explained. I know now that dinosaurs aren’t really extinct, that sometimes life is not short, that prayer works, and that miracles do happen.
I like Santa, my kids like Santa, and in our house, he exists. So that’s what we tell the nay-sayers: say what you want, but we believe.
“I believe Santa is real. Because you and Dad would NEVER get me an iPhone for Christmas!” says my 8yo, clutching the lime green iPhone 5 he found under the tree last year. He’s got that right. (Santa, why did you have to set the bar so high?!) Can’t wait to see what this Christmas brings.
I leave you with this excerpt from “Is There a Santa Claus?” from an 1897 issue of The New York Sun:
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
… Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.”
LINK O’ THE DAY: Beware – 11 Santa spoilers in popular kids’ movies and books.