As children everywhere are counting down the days until Christmas, the big question is being discussed. Is Santa Claus real? This is a very serious childhood question that can affect Christmas for the rest of their life.
The Christmas Talk: Part One
When my youngest daughter was in the third grade, she came home from school very worried. Many of her friends were saying that Santa is not real. She looked at me with such trust knowing I would tell her the truth.
I put everything down and pulled her into my lap. We snuggled down into our big recliner to talk about this.
I asked her what her friends were saying. With a flash in her eyes she told me. One boy said he wasn’t real and just a story for “little kids.” One girl said that it was her parents. One child told her that Santa had died.
I looked into her worried little face and told her the truth. I believe in Santa I told her.
Saint Nicolas was a real person who lived a very long time ago and did many good things for people. He has come to represent the spirit of love and giving during the Christmas season.
Relief and joy shone in her eyes as her belief was confirmed.
We went on to talk about why we celebrate Christmas and the precious gift that God gave us when he sent his Son to be our Savior.
We shared a few favorite memories about how much fun it is to carefully choose and give a gift to someone.
It was a short conversation. We only talked about 10 minutes. As she walked away with her eyes shining with excitement and her heart filled with Christmas, I remembered the five other times I’d had this talk.
See, she is the youngest of my six children. I taught all my children to believe in Santa Claus. To understand that, while getting presents is exciting and fun, giving presents is so much more.
Christmas Talk: Part Two
When Youngest turned 10 she started asking about why parents would wrap presents and say they are from Santa.
We talked the over 2.2 million children in the world. That is a lot of children no matter how you think about it. Imagine the number of toys needed and the space required to house them.
The world is growing at such a rate that Santa is having difficulty keeping up.
So, I told my daughter, Santa needs help.
When children want things that Santa’s elves can’t make then parents are sent out to acquire the item. The parent then hides the present in a Santa approved location until Christmas. Simplicity itself.
When I go shopping at Christmas and won’t let her come with me, she will ask, “Is it a Santa errand?” If I say yes, then there are no more questions.
As my children reached their teen years, they were officially inducted into the Santa’s Helper Association.
Participating in the Santa activities gave them a new understanding of who and what Santa Claus is. They filled the stockings of their younger siblings and helped get out some of the Santa presents.
Listening to them whisper and talk about what their younger siblings would think about this and that is the highlight of my Christmas.
Have my children ever been disappointed about the reality of Santa Claus? No. They have learned the lesson behind the stories. Santa is the spirit of giving. He is the giggles late on Christmas Eve as stockings are filled and gifts are placed.
Children Need to Believe
Children are bombarded with information at a rate that boggles the mind. Our world is filled school shootings, missing children, bullies, family members leaving to fight in faraway places, broken families, etc.
We don’t want to hide all these things from our children. We couldn’t even if we wanted to because the information is everywhere. So, what do we do?
Faith in things unseen and not understood is often scoffed at. Hence, the Santa story is frequently discounted or made fun of. Just another of the silly fairy stories, myths, and legends meant only for video games and movies.
How can we combat all this fear and negativity in our children’s lives without losing the wonder of childhood?
We have to let children be children.
Children need things to believe in.
They need to feel the excitement and anticipation that comes on Christmas Eve. They need to know that there are good things in life waiting in unexpected places.
Children need to know that someone, whom they don’t know personally and may even doubt the existence of, knows them and loves them enough to do something special just for them.
My children believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, fairies, unicorns, dragons, winged horses, elves, and superheroes. Whether they are real or not, these things bring a sense of wonder, joy, and excitement to our children and charge their imagination.
It’s Good to Believe
I believe in Santa Claus and am a proud member of the Santa’s Helper Association. Whether Santa Claus is real or not doesn’t matter.
He is the embodiment of the spirit of Christmas. He is kind, loving, jolly, giving and loves children.
Don’t we want our children to believe that there is wonder and joy in the world?
Don’t we want to believe in that?
Whether we believe in Santa Claus, Jesus, Mohammad, or nothing at all does not matter. Faith, love, and service make our world a better place.
Well, I’m off to meet with the elves and organize some Santa errands. Merry Christmas!