To say that I get excited about the holidays is a complete understatement. I am one of those Moms that starts to decorate around Mid-November, and begins matching jammies, baking cookies, and making ornaments as soon as the tree lights turn on properly! I love love love the holidays. I think the things I love most are seeing how excited my kids get about Christmas movies, making cocoa, and looking at Christmas lights. My favorite things all revolve around spending time with my favorite people – creating memories that will comfort them in their adult lives, traditions that they will pass down to their own kids. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. I think Tiny, as a 10 year old 5th grader, has figured out that Santa is a myth. She refuses to ask me the question directly, though.
I distinctly remember the year I stopped believing, and from that point until Tiny came, Christmas lost a little of its magic for me. It was a joyful time, but a time that was a little bit more hollow than before, a little less magical. As I became a Mother, I realized that the true joy of Christmas was in BEING Santa, not waiting for Santa. I have made a decision to go ahead and empower her to embrace the joy of giving and being a Santa to others, even before she has her own children.
Like any parent, I dread the conversation. I really do. I don’t want Christmas to lose its magic for her, like it did for me. With that in mind, I have written her a letter that I fully expect to have to give her this year.
You know you are my greatest joy, and that I do all things in this life to better yours. Santa is one of those things. I know you know he is not a real person. You are a smart child, and you know it is impossible to travel around the world in a single night, live with elves, make toys. What isn’t impossible or myth is that Santa does do all of those things. Yes, my dear, he does them through us. He was a real man who lived in modern day Turkey (near Greece) during the 3rd and 4th centuries (280 AD). He was renowned to be a righteous man and gift giver. This is how the modern legend began. We carry on his traditions through giving gifts to others in his name.
We do these things to teach children how to believe in things that are unseen. Things like generosity of spirit, the love of our savior, and the overriding sentiments of the goodness and resilience of the human spirit. We do these things without the hope of credit for our good deeds purely to make our children happy. Our gifts at Christmas are not material, they are of self and time, of spirit and love.
Now, my darling girl, you are a part of that special group of people who keeps the spirit of Christmas alive through our own service and giving spirit. You too are now Santa, and have the power to spread the magic of Christmas through your own actions and deeds. You have the ability to spread joy to others and experience the gift of giving in a way that you never have before.
Now that you, too, are a Santa, you can help me do quiet and loving things for others each holiday season. I am excited to share these experiences with you because I learned through you that the true gifts of Christmas come when you watch others experience unbridled happiness because of your actions. I love you, my darling girl. You are one of the three greatest gifts that God gave me, and I learned through you what the real meaning of Christmas was.
All My Love and Happiness,
When she finally does ask me the question (we have a deal: if she asks me a question, I will never lie to her about the answer – difficult or not), the letter above is what I will give her. Then we can talk about it. This is one more step from childhood to adulthood for her, and I want it to be as gentle as possible. Honestly, is anything about adulthood gentle? I love that child.
Feel free to use this as a basis for your own discussions when the time comes. How did you tell your children about Santa?
Like what you read? Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list to never miss an adventure!
In a way, it’s sad when kids hit that point in their lives when they no longer believe in Santa. My son is 11, and he still believes and that makes me happy. I think this letter is wonderful and really encompasses the holiday spirit. We are all Santa and that’s important to know.
It is going to break my heart a little when I have to give it to her. She is on the fence right now.
I still believe in the magic of Santa, being born on Christmas day, my Mom reminds me of that Christmas dinner she missed every year, I know very soon I will not hear this story! You are very wise to be able to tell your daughter the truth..I think we should tell children young so they can find joy in the celebration at an early age..so they never loose the magic!
I am going to wait until she asks me the question to give her this letter, but it is so important for her to know that she can ask me anything and I will always be the one person to tell her the truth – even if it is hard. I hope she is able to find the joy in giving that I do as I watch her and her brother each year. Thank you, Holly!
I think that’s a great letter. I have chosen not to do Santa in my house but I think it’s a great idea to explain it in such a way for a child who did believe in Santa.
Lots of people don’t, and I certainly understand why. It is such a hard decision to make as a parent.