I can vividly remember when I was told that Santa wasn’t real. I was 8 and in third grade. One boy, who shall remain nameless, said something about it and then asked “You don’t still believe in Santa, do you?”. Of course I said no. I wasn’t about to be made fun of, but I did still believe in the man. I don’t recall if my sister, who is almost two years older than me, ever said anything, even though I wouldn’t put it past her. She liked to make fun of me for anything she could. By the next Christmas, I’m pretty sure all pretense was gone and I knew.
My oldest is 10 and in fifth grade. Not once has he ever said anything about it. He has never once questioned me or anyone else that I’m aware of. He has to know. He has the kind of brain where he would sit and think about this, putting everything I and anyone else has ever said together, and figuring it out. But he’s never said anything!
Last year, he wanted a new gaming system. He had a Wii, but there was some game that came out that didn’t come out on the Wii. I talked to him and explained that we couldn’t afford a new gaming system that year. There was too much unknown in our future and shelling out $300+ for something that wasn’t needed, just wasn’t in our budget. He understood. As much as I don’t want to have to tell my child that, I’m thankful that he is able to calmly and maturely understand the situation. Even after that conversation, he never questioned Santa.
A couple nights ago, we were watching Unwrapped on the Cooking Channel (that kid loves The Cooking Channel and Food Network). They were making peppermint bark and he mentioned that he knew of something I could get him for a stocking stuffer. I told him to ask Santa because he takes care of those. His response? “Don’t you buy some of it too”? I told him yes, I could buy some of it.
So, he knows right? I’m positive he does, but I’m not about to ask him because what if he doesn’t and I ruin it? He’s kinda on the sensitive side.
Part of the fun of Christmas is the magic of it. Even as an adult, the magic is still there, just not in quite the same form or amount as for a child. I found this letter on PopSugar (they credit the original author Martha Brockenbrough, but the link to her site wasn’t valid) that perfectly explains the magic of Christmas and Santa. I’m keeping it. He may not ever bring it up, but his sister sure will.
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the Christmas magic stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents, and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
Have you encountered this situation? How did you handle it?