I did not want to not give into the Santa lives myth. Chris and I discussed this before the kids were born. I was adamant about not doing Santa. I wanted to avoid the consumerism of presents, presents, presents. And the whole lying thing just didn’t feel right to me. Even if it’s an innocent lie. I wanted our Christmas to be more about family and togetherness and less about “stuff.” Christmas can still be magical even without the myth.
I’ve told the kids from the start that Santa isn’t real. He’s a pretend character, like Thomas the Train. I also stressed that some people liked to believe that Santa is real. And that’s ok! There’s no reason to tell the people who believe that he isn’t real. I’ve found that it’s mostly adults who ask kids about Santa anyways. At least in my kids’ age groups. I didn’t want my kids to be responsible for ruining someone else’s holiday. Or worse, having a Santa + elves + reindeer show up on my doorstep one day.
This method worked. My kids didn’t ruin anyone’s holiday and I didn’t have to clean reindeer poop. We still read The Night Before Christmas and watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (oh man, do I have some opinions on that mess!). We had plenty of activities to celebrate the season. The halls stay plenty decked.
But this year we spent the holiday with my inlaws. I love my mother in law. Really. She’s awesome and I’ve never felt “less than” around her. But. She is a huge proponent of the myth of Santa. Huge. Her Christmas is magical because Santa is prominent feature. To each their own. She knows our Santa stance. She still asked Lex if Santa is bringing lots of toys. He answered honestly “Grandma, Santa isn’t real.” My mother in law insisted that Santa was real. I should probably have intervened but I’m a voyeur. Lex restated that Santa is NOT real because his parents told him so. My mother in law dropped it and walked away mumbling about how parents aren’t always right. So much side eye was happening from me.
I figured this was the end of that. I did a little happy dance in my head for raising a kid who is unafraid to state his belief in the face of adversity. Score one for me on the parenting scale.
On Christmas Eve Lex and I are reading The Night Before Christmas together and halfway through Lex stops and stares very hard at my MIL’s fireplace which is decked with in its holiday finest. Then he asks oh-so-innocently how Santa is going to get down the chimney with all the decorations in the way.
Insert record scratch sound here
Lex had decided on his own in the past few days that he wanted to believe the Santa myth. He wanted to believe in this particular brand of magic. And I was surprisingly ok with it. I’m his number one cheerleader, his support system, his soft and safe place to land. So if he chooses to play along with the idea of Santa knowing it’s a myth, I’m ok with it.
I may have my own idea about something and I may dictate my thoughts on the subject to my kids. Ultimately, it’s up them to decide for themselves what to believe. As long as what they believe in doesn’t involve hurting others or themselves, I’ll be there cheering them on. I can even admit that there’s little harm in acknowledging the myth and giving in to his desire for play. As long as I can steer the message away from “stuff” and more towards giving (we seriously do not need more stuff), I’m happy to indulge him.
As for the fireplace decorations? We moved them out of the way so Santa wouldn’t trip. Santa lives!
Hope your holidays were a happy one.