What Should You Do When Your Child Asks “Is Santa Real?”
December 17th, 2013 posted by Rebecca Brea
By this time of year, many of us have already decorated the Christmas tree, hung the stockings by the chimney with care, baked several batches of cookies and other goodies, and have thrown the holiday shopping into full throttle. But what if in the midst of all the good cheer and merriment, your child asks this dreaded question – does Santa Claus really exist? Is the carefully cultivated fantasy that parents the world over spend years nurturing about to come to an end at your house? As kids get older, it’s bound to come up. They see jolly St. Nick everywhere – on television, in the mall, at the Salvation Army donation kettle on every street corner. It’s natural for them to wonder how Santa can be everywhere all the time – and how one person can really do all that!
If you’re facing this situation, here are some tips to help you handle this inevitable Christmas conundrum:
Listen to their concerns: Lend an ear first before you begin any explanations. Give them your undivided attention; if they come to the conclusion on their own, share with them the story about how you found out the truth about Santa when you were their age. Kids are intuitive and sometimes know the answers to their own questions, and just need a sympathetic ear from parents.
Be prepared for their reaction: Some kids might take the news in stride. Others may feel betrayed; some may cry. It can be a momentous event – having doubts, kids turn to their parents for confirmation of Santa’s existence, only to find out otherwise. Help kids feel better with an explanation that, although he’s not any one real person (but really mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, etc.), the symbolism of Santa Claus embodies the true spirit of Christmas – the joy of giving and putting others first. Remind them how wonderful it feels to be with family and friends, the special traditions you share at this time of year, the significance of any religious customs in your family, and reassure them that there will still indeed be presents on Christmas morning! Let them know that the Christmas spirit is very real, even if Santa Claus isn’t.
Enlist their help: This is a good time to let them know what an important role they can play in the preparations if they feel ready for it. Now that they know “the truth,” they can help in making the holiday special for the younger members of the family. Recruit them to help shop, wrap presents and fill stockings. Have them help the younger kids with their letters to Santa. Asking them for their help in maintaining the tradition will add a positive new dimension to the experience.
We’ve all been there, so whether it happens sooner rather than later, a sympathetic ear and a positive outlook can help take the sting out of the big reveal. And now that they know the truth about Santa Claus, can the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny be far behind?