I still remember the day my parents sat me down and told me the …[spoiler alert]…”truth”…about Santa.
After they swept up all the glass, stemmed the bleeding from their ears and tilted the earth back on its correct axis, they came at me with both barrels…ie: the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. A triple shot to the head, heart and groin.
I guess I can understand the theory behind it. Better to hear the truth from us than to hear it from someone else in the playground. And killing three-birds with one stone was kind of like the ‘rip off the bandaid, quick’ approach.
So, I did what anyone else in my position at the time would have done.
I jerked the steering wheel hard and sent us all careening off the Westgate Bridge, plummeting us all to our deaths…or so it felt like at the time.
I was 35. (Actually, I was like, 12 I think?).
All things considered, I took it pretty well.
I’m kidding of course…I WAS DEVASTATED!!!
Conversely, Mumma’s parents never told her the truth about Santa. She just kind of Nancy Drew’d it on her own. When she did question them about him they basically said, “if you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” So, like a bad chorus line from Glee, the smart kid choice was to ‘keep on believin”.
So, I got to wondering…Should you tell your kids the truth about Santa?
And my honest, personal opinion on this is to consider this sage advice from Ghostbusters,
“Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a God, you say…YES!”
In a Christmas context, if someone asks if there’s really a Santa Claus, you say…YES!
I overheard a mother saying she wasn’t going to perpetuate the ‘Santa Claus lie’ with her kids. Which is a perfectly valid and understandable choice to make…if you hate kids! Seriously, they can spend a good 60-70 years or so living their life free from the ‘magic’ of Christmas, but while they’re kids, let them believe in magic! Let them believe in Santa and elves and flying reindeer, fairies, rabbits and anything else that fills your child’s heart and mind with wonder and excitement.
Who wants to be the kid in the playground in the grey sweater-vest crushing the dreams of every other kid because their parents had their own ‘agenda’ for squashing their own child’s imagination and excitement around such things? It’s magic. As adults, we understand magic isn’t real. It doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate and enjoy a good illusionist or some close-up slight of hand on a worn out, felt card table. But when you’re a kid, that s#*t is real! It’s what makes being a kid worthwhile.
Don’t be in a hurry to let your kids grow up and lose that sense of wonderment. They’ll grow out of it on their own, they’re smart like that.
As for our kids, they’re going to grow up believing in magic and wonderment for as long as I can possibly manage it. By then, hopefully they’ll learn to realise that although magic may not be real to you because you know how it’s done, doesn’t mean you can’t make it real for other people who have yet to learn the trick.
I took Indy to see the Myer Christmas Windows and then to meet Santa on level 6. Santa had an animatronic Rudolph that was curled up asleep in front of the fireplace with his nose all aglow and his belly rising and falling as he slept. He was covered in soft fur and instantly, Indy was hooked. Not on Santa…on the reindeer! Our house and lives have now become “Rudolphafied”.
Everyday we watch two Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movies, one from 1964 and a remake from 2001. Amazing that something from the 1960’s can still hold and captivate a child’s attention today. We read books on Rudolph and the Night Before Christmas before going to bed. He even has his own ornamental Rudolph that lights up in the dark. And every now and then, he gets up in the middle of the day and says, “Come on Dada. Pat Rudolph.” And makes his way to the door.
And I wouldn’t take that away from him for quids, at any age. Would you tell your kids?