Doesn’t that title seem like a great name for a Christmas movie? Haha.
We decided, well before E and V were born, that Santa was not something that we would do with our children. While there are a few reasons why (for why, as well as about the Elf on the Shelf, read here) the main reason was that I didn’t want to “lie” to my children. Besides, we make Christmas such a wonderful time–I mean, we start celebrating the day after Halloween after all–that we never felt the need to add on Santa and elves. Until…
This is where you probably think I’m going to say we do Santa, but it’s not quite like that because I’ve prepared them since their first Christmas.
We’ve always talked about Saint Nicholas, we even celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. We’ve talked about how wonderful and kind this saint was that people felt inspired to carry on his legacy–and they did just that by creating a character named Santa Claus.
We never hid Santa. I mean, how could a person as he’s everywhere this time of year? He’s unavoidable. So I have always done with them as I did with my nephew, talk about him.
So we talked about how he’s not a real person, just a character inspired by Saint Nicholas. This year we will even read the poem “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore and talk about how that poem inspired the way the current Santa looks. Last year our museum had Santas from around the world and from different times set up. We were able to read about Russian, German, Victorian Santas, and more as well as how they have evolved over the years.
We talk about how, while we know and understand Santa is just pretend and the Santa at the shop that it’s just a person playing the role of character, that they are welcome to still find joy in this character–but to always remember, he’s still a stranger.
We even talk about how some children believe that Santa brings them gifts for Christmas. While we don’t believe that, some do (we have the same philosophy of respecting others and their religious beliefs). No, I don’t expect my children to protect others from the reality that Santa is real, but I want them to understand what others believe and to be understanding.
E and V came across Santa last year at a shop with a cousin, who was so excited to see him, and it sparked an interest. This year that interest has grown a bit. It’s not something I feel is harmful, so we’ve embraced it. When we see a Santa and they get excited I acknowledge their joy. After a moment I also ask, “Is Santa real? Who inspired Santa Claus?” And the reminder that while it’s fun to see someone dressed as the character, he’s still a stranger (post to come about the importance of this).
Our museum is having a special event and Santa will be there. There will also be some activities and a special planetarium show–so I actually purchased a ticket for our family. It’s also time to get new pjs, so I’ve searched out Again, our goal isn’t to avoid or cause fear, rather it’s for them to have that strong foundation of reality and understand pretend prior.
We have not talked about the North Pole and elves because that brings a talk of magic that we are not quite ready for at this time and we follow their lead through the questions they ask. But when they have questions, we’ll be ready!
Does your family believe in Santa?