I never told my kids about Santa. I was uncomfortable with the whole lying aspect of it ~ telling them that he comes down the chimney, puts the presents under the tree, and eats our cookies just felt icky to me. It’s not that I don’t believe in magic ~ quite the contrary. My family makes villages for the Fairies in our garden and we talk about aliens and hell, I communicate with unborn Spirit Babies! All those things we believe in. But Santa Claus coming in our house and bringing presents…well, that’s just not real!
The other aspect of the whole Santa Claus thing that always made me uncomfortable was the “naughty and nice” crap. Telling our kids they will only get presents if they act a certain way feels very wrong to me. Take that whole first stanza of the popular Christmas Carol:
“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town.”
Telling my kids that they shouldn’t feel sad or angry or anything negative, because they’re being “watched” and they’ll be put on a “naughty list” to me sounds like a recipe for emotional repression. It also sounds to me like conditional love: “You’re only worthy of love and good things if you act the way I want.” I want my kids to know that ALL emotions are appropriate and that they’re ALWAYS worthy of love and good things no matter how they feel.
The Santa tradition also stinks strongly of conformity: “Act THIS way and good things will happen. Act THAT way and you’ll regret it.” Hmmmm….sounds like the government…and corporate America….and public school. But I digress!
My children have taught me so much, since even before they were born, and one of the things they’ve taught me is that they are not blank slates here to be molded into what I want. They came here with their own agenda, their own life purpose, their own passions and their own internal compass of what is right and wrong. Granted, I’m here to guide them when needed and to help them put a name to their feelings. But their feelings are to be trusted ~ when they’re sad, they’re sad for particular reasons. When they’re angry, frustrated, etc, it’s for particular reasons. I don’t have to try and fix those reasons but I can certainly accept and validate their feelings. I don’t even have to assure them their feelings are appropriate ~ THEY know that until we tell them otherwise. So “naughty and nice” have no place in our home.
All this being said, my kids learned about Santa from other sources ~ friends, cousins, television, and movies. And they believe all those things I never told them: he comes in our house, he puts presents under the tree, he eats our cookies. Yearly I’ve internally cringed each time they mention such things but I’ve never corrected them. Lately, however, they’ve been asking me if Santa is real and since I’ve not known quite how to answer I always put it back to them: “What do YOU think?” They always say yes. The questioning got more intense this last week, though, and they’ve been prodding me for specific answers.
So this is what I said “You know how we believe in Fairies, Angels, Spirit Babies and Other Things We Can’t See? We know those are real. So many people believe in Santa that he MUST be real on some dimension. He doesn’t come in our house and put presents under the tree, but I believe he helps all parents each year. He probably helped me find all the presents you guys wanted, helped me find the money to pay for them, and helps me find the inspiration and motivation to make Christmas magical. I believe each year the Spirit of Santa enters into our home from whatever realm he is in and helps us in any way we need. Yes, Santa is very, very real. More real than most people know.”
And I believed what I said. My kids did too. And then they started elaborating on all the ways Santa helps us, like when parents eat the cookies, the magic goes back to Santa and we all benefit. Sounds true to me.
So, Santa doesn’t come down our chimney. He doesn’t expect my children to conform to a certain code of conduct nor does he expect them to repress their emotions. But he loves us very much from his magical dimension and helps us celebrate Christmas each year.
Yes, Santa Claus IS real.