The One in Which I Defend "Lying" to My Kid…

It has come to my attention recently, on places like Babble Voices and some other blogs, or on Facebook, that some people think it is a bad thing, a scarring and horrible crime against humanity to encourage your child to believe in Santa.

What horrible, terrible, very bad, no good thing happened to these people in their childhood? Childhoods? Whatever…what exactly went wrong one day for them that the joy, the mystery, the HAPPINESS that is embodied by that jolly man in a red suit with his eight tiny reindeer lost it’s jingle jangle jazz?

I have a newly minted 5 year old son. We did not go to visit the mall Santa his first Christmas on this earth as he was one month old and a preemie. I was sure he would contract ebola if we went near the mall that first month. I might have been functioning under the irrational influence of mommy hormones and the drugs they gave me during the delivery to keep me from dying. But every year since, we have been to see our Santa. It has been the same Santa every year. And he is a good Santa. He is not scary, he does not smell. (I would know too. I have the nose of a blood hound.) He is kind and gentle and has a soft Kentucky accent. There was only one year, when Cooper was 3, that Cooper screamed bloody murder, and that was not because of Santa. It was bad timing on our part and a long line. When it came time to get Cooper to sit with him, I said “I don’t know how this is going to go” and Santa said “Bring it.”

Cooper loves the whole concept of Santa. The kid is a born consumer. But he GETS it. He understands the magic around the holiday, the suspense, the spirit of both giving and receiving. We watch almost every holiday special there is, so he has seen many differing messages about how Santa gets around, how the whole sleigh and sack of toys thing might work. He is savvy enough to question the logic behind it all, but still believes it is all possible. Because it is MAGIC.

We have had the chance to talk about the Santa legend what his backstory is, how Santa came to be the dude we know today. This year I purposefully included Cooper in the process of selecting things to buy to give to a charity, and in what to buy through Heifer Internationalso he understands that there are people in this world who don’t have much, if anything, and don’t get presents like he does. That it is important to give.

I don’t consider it LYING when we celebrate the holiday and encourage him to believe in Santa. Because it isn’t about whether Santa really exists. It is about embracing, reveling in, the magic of the season. To believe in joy, wonder and at least this year, use the Advent calendar as a way to reinforce learning our numbers and counting to 25. So hands off the mystery all you Scrooges. This gal believes in Santa and her kid will too for as long as he is willing.

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