I learned about the non-existence of Santa Claus when I was seven, after seeing my parents whip out all the presents right after I went to bed. It was sad, but we all move on eventually. Unless you decide to be transparent about the myth up front, there comes a point where you have to come clean to your kids about Santa before they find out from friends or older siblings.
I recently spied this method that I HAD to share since it’s so good. With it, you’re allowing your children to learn about Santa in a less trust-breaking way, all while encouraging empathy and generosity that can live on every day after…
This is by far the best idea I’ve seen about telling your kids about Santa. Had to share!
“In our family, we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit.
When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready.
I take them out “for coffee” at the local wherever. We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made:
“You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [ Point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.
You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.
Tell me the best things about Santa. What does Santa get for all of his trouble? [lead the kid from “cookies” to the good feeling of having done something for someone else]. Well, now YOU are ready to do your first job as a Santa!” Make sure you maintain the proper conspiratorial tone.
We then have the child choose someone they know — a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it — and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.
My oldest chose the lady on the corner. She really was horrible — had a fence around the house and would never let the kids go in and get a stray ball or Frisbee. She’d yell at them to play quieter, etc. — a real pill. He noticed when we drove to school that she came out every morning to get her paper in bare feet, so he decided she needed slippers. So then he had to go spy and decide how big her feet were. He hid in the bushes one Saturday, and decided she was a medium. We went to Kmart and bought warm slippers. He wrapped them up, and tagged it “merry Christmas from Santa.” After dinner one evening, he slipped down to her house, and slid the package under her driveway gate. The next morning, we watched her waddle out to get the paper, pick up the present, and go inside. My son was all excited, and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The next morning, as we drove off, there she was, out getting her paper… wearing the slippers. He was ecstatic. I had to remind him that NO ONE could ever know what he did, or he wouldn’t be a Santa.
Over the years, he chose a good number of targets, always coming up with a unique present just for them. One year, he polished up his bike, put a new seat on it, and gave it to one of our friend’s daughters. These people were and are very poor. We did ask the dad if it was okay. The look on her face, when she saw the bike on the patio with a big bow on it, was almost as good as the look on my son’s face.
When it came time for Son #2 to join the ranks, my oldest came along, and helped with the induction speech. They are both excellent gifters, by the way, and never felt that they had been lied to — because they were let in on the Secret of Being a Santa.”
Written by Leslie Rush
Do YOUR kids believe in Santa? How have you broken the news?
Comments on Here’s an amazing way to make finding out about Santa a little easier
Is it dusty in here or is it just me… my eyes seem to be watering 😉
this is sweet. Good on this parent!
My daughter is almost five — I can see this being a great approach when this comes up. Just like whitney, I think it was dusty here when I read this… <3 🙂
Santa is like the Dread Pirate Roberts!!
Omg! This is amazing!
Glad to see that there are other adults out there that believe in Santa the way I do! I love this method of introducing children to the good work of being Santa Claus.
I don’t remember when exactly I figured out that Santa got a little help from my parents, but it never mattered to me. I’ve always believed anyway, because Santa is not about the man in the red suit – Santa is about giving and surprise and delight.
I like the sentiment, but the more I think about the example given the more uncomfortable I get. Giving an anonymous gift to someone you don’t know unexpectedly can backfire so badly. That woman had made it clear she didn’t want to interact with children – letting your child spy on her in order to give her a gift is actively violating the boundaries she’s set, and that’s a terrible lesson to teach your child. I think if you want to do this, you’ve got to direct your kid at someone who’s in on the joke, so you’re not running the risk of making someone feel unsafe.
I don’t know if it’s also making me more skeptical coming from a childhood where I never believed in Santa. We got gifts from him, but also from our parents, and I think this technique is really aimed at kids who’ve only ever had gifts from Santa. Us giving gifts was part of our Christmas long before my sister or I reached the age where our parents might have had this conversation with us (they wanted us to believe, but it never took) so the idea being something you earned the right to do wouldn’t have sat well with us either.
My parents never told me there was no santa. My mom still pretends like I believe in Santa and I’m 25.
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