It’s one of those things I didn’t expect as a parent, but for some reason I just didn’t feel comfortable lying to my first born about the Santa logistics. It just didn’t make sense to me — how I was supposed to say he flew all over the world in one night, how he knew exactly what my kids wanted and exactly where they would be? Any other day of the year this was the man I was telling my kids to stay away from and never talk to, but call him Santa and it was supposed to all make sense. Well, it just didn’t — not to me.
Last year I decided I would sit him down and tell him the truth, but it never actually happened. This year, my daughter is old enough to know about Santa and I got the sense she would love the fantasy of it all. So I was in a little bit of a pickle. I decided not to come out and tell my 4-year-old that Santa wasn’t real but just to not give any answers I wasn’t comfortable giving. I tried to beat around the bush as much as I could, never telling a single untruth or even stretching reality.
Unfortunately my son is not one for vague answers. He’s a very particular child. So when he asked me point blank “is Santa real?” I felt I had no choice. I said, “no.” Santa isn’t a real person but he is a character — like the Bubble Guppies. He doesn’t actually come to our house and if you tell him what you want he won’t remember for Christmas. But he represents everything magical and special about the holiday of Christmas and we can still talk about him. I felt good about my answer as my son sat there and digested what I said. He seemed content with my answer and had nothing else to say about the matter.
Then he came home and dropped a bomb on me. “Mom, Santa IS real.”
“Oh, really? How do you know?”
“I asked him at my school.”
So he took Santa’s word over mine. In the contest of Mom vs Santa, I lost big time. I can’t say I’m that surprised. There are messages of Santa all over TV and the songs we listen to. Most of his friends believe. So when Santa showed up at his preschool, he took the opportunity to go straight to the source. That was all the proof he needed.
“Santa IS real, Mom,” he reiterated when I neither confirmed or denied.
I just nodded my head. I was filled with pride at this little boy becoming his own person, and I was humbled by the constant lessons of parenthood. I can tell him facts, but it’s up to him to decide what he believes in his heart — about Santa or anything else in life.