My 6-year-old son excitedly told his friend our elf had arrived, only for his friend reply that the elf wasn’t real. And then he decided to follow that up with, “Santa isn’t real either.” Wow kid. Way to go around crushing that Christmas spirit. His friend’s family takes a more religious approach, and I seriously had to bite my tongue not to tell him Jesus wasn’t really born on Christmas, and they chose that date to coincide with a pagan holiday.
So when my son turned a questioning face to me, I told him I was sorry his friend didn’t believe. His house just isn’t as magical as ours. Because you can choose to believe in the spirit of Santa and the magic of the season, or we can just skip all that, send the elf back to where he came from and skip all that present business as well. Because why bother if there isn’t just a hint of childhood excitement and wonder attached to it? Isn’t getting to experience the magic again one of the bonuses of having kids? Let’s not rush this one.
Don’t Stop Believin’
I still remember when my own mom was the one to tell me Santa wasn’t real. I think I might have been around eight or nine. I already knew he wasn’t “real real,” but my mom still brought the presents out in the middle of the night so it made it seem magical and real. And I was ready to just keep that going until she flat out told me, “You know Santa isn’t real, right?” I and then I burst out crying. It was like taking a piece of my childhood and just crushing it.
And while I don’t like lying to my child, I do want him to enjoy the magic. But I also don’t want to set him up for a big fall later, so I’ve opted for a combo approach of real and imaginary: “Santa is real, as long as you believe.” Which makes him real for as long as we want him to be.
So what about you guys?
Are you doing the elf thing? Is Santa real at your house?
How did you explain Santa clause?
About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.