I still remember the early day in December when my 1st grader came home from school and the first thing he said to me before even entering the house was:
“Santa Claus isn’t real.”
His 5-year-old little brother, who was in preschool, heard what he had just said and my stomach dropped. It was one of those parenting moments where you feel like you’re on stage standing alone, with the lights beating down on you and you just don’t know what to say! Of course, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Where did you hear that or who told you?”
“My friend “L” told me. He said that Santa Claus isn’t real and it is really your mom or dad that puts those presents under your tree and eats the cookies that you leave out.”
My first thought was, “That little jerk! How dare he tell kids at school this!” Then, of course, my preschooler starts asking questions and now we are about to have a full on conversation about the realness of Santa Claus. My husband and I didn’t know exactly when to tell them about how real Santa was. Having a 6-year-old, a 5-year-old and then also another little brother who was 2, we kind of wanted to keep the magic of Santa Claus as long as we could. Were they ready to hear this? I had no choice but to tell them the truth.
“Santa Claus was a real person a long time ago. He shared what he had, gave children gifts and would bring joy to people that were sick or less fortunate. He was a human being just like you and me so he is not alive anymore. Parents want to keep the spirit and goodness of what he believed in alive so that is why parents give gifts to their children from Santa Claus every Christmas.”
Phewww, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it was and the truth was out. Once my children entered elementary school, I realized that kids talk. Whatever you are talking about at home, chances are that your kids are telling other kids at school. It is not always bad but it can put parents on the spot when kids come home with all this new, possibly exciting and even possibly upsetting, information. But those hard talks that you might have been dreading or not knowing how you will approach may be a little easier when heard from another child. Kids really relate to other kids and the blow that Santa isn’t real may be easier to hear from a peer. They can talk to each other first and then come to their parents with all this exciting, new information or questions. And when kids come home with questions it forces parents to talk to their kids and work things out, whatever it may be.
So to the kid who told my son that Santa isn’t real. Thank you!
“Mom, I kinda was wondering if Santa wasn’t real before “L” told me. I remember seeing my presents from Santa in your closet.”
And parents, if you aren’t ready for all of this, make sure to hide your presents really, really, really well!
This post was originally published in 2018