At the age of seven, my oldest son asked me to settle an argument in which he claimed the Easter Bunny was not real. I told him he was correct. A few minutes later he came back asking, “Does that mean that Santa Claus isn’t real either?” When I answered positively, he couldn’t believe that all those present really came from us (after all, we weren’t that generous for birthday!). That next Christmas it was obvious he didn’t want to know the truth yet and acted as if he still believed.
I’ve come to believe that children will go on believing as long as they want to. When my other children have told me that a friend at school doesn’t believe in Santa, I will simply skirt the issue by saying something like, “Isn’t that a shame they don’t believe anymore.” They don’t press me for more, because they really don’t want to know. Eventually, they will say to me, “I know that you and Dad are really Santa.” To which I reply, “Of course you do, but don’t say anything to the little ones. O.K.?” (Kate Hadley)
My oldest is very serious and takes whatever I say as absolute truth. I felt that playing Santa would be taken as lying, not as playing or teasing. Since then we have always told our children that Santa is a cute little custom that people pretend about. We don’t make a big deal out of it, we just focus on Jesus’s birth.
I don’t think our children have missed out on any of the joy of Christmas. We fill their stockings and exchange presents with each other. There are also plenty of gifts from relatives. Then we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and give a small gift on the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6). (Margaret Syskie)
When my six year old daughter was told by her cousin that there was no Santa, she was very sad. I told her that different families believe different things, but we still believe in Santa Claus. I told her that Santa Claus is based on St Nicholas, who was a real person. We also talked about how Santa Claus lives in all of us because he is the spirit of giving. Since love is magical things, Christmas seems magical. It helps adults keep the child in us alive and use our imaginations to dream. (Elisa Hall)
Our daughter accepted the truth about Santa Claus without any trouble. However, our son really felt that we had lied to him. Our neighbor had dressed up as Santa Claus one year and visited our home. He was so convincing that it seemed impossible for it not to have really been Santa. When we explained that it was our friend dressed up, our son del that he’d been deceived. It took awhile for him to get over the disappointment. (Lynn Foster)
When my children were seriously asking, “Is there really a Santa?”, I read to them the “Yes, Virginia” story. I explained that Santa, elves, reindeer, and the North Pole home of Santa are all part of a wonderful and fun myth. It was part of the magic and spirit of Christmas. Being Catholic family, the children had some understanding of the Holy Spirit, so the Spirit of Christmas made sense to them. My youngest still believes and we encourage this. My older daughters, my husband, and I really enjoy seeing the wonder, magic, and excitement of Christmas in my youngest daughter’s eyes. (Marge Littleford)
Encouragement: A publication by Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor