Children make Christmas so much more enjoyable. My children’s reaction to the magic of christmas is contagious and at one point actually had me believing once again. As young parents, our oldest just turned 4, we are navigating our way through the christmas chaos and magic one step at a time.
We never actually decided how we would explain Santa to our children, before we had the chance, our son interrupted me making myself a cup of tea with the question I wanted to avoid for just a few more christmases. “Is Santa Real?” You see, my husband and I have always prided ourselves on not lying to our children and providing them with age appropriate answers to their one million questions a minute. This method sometimes just results in us declaring “Quiet time” or putting them to bed at 530pm. I am marvelled by how many questions two small human beings can come up with in just under a minute.
We have been trying to emphasize different attributes about christmas. We made cookies for our neighbors and hand made christmas cards to deliver to their door steps. My children have been earning money for choirs and I made them use their money to buy gifts for each other. We made christmas boxes to give to children who will not receive presents this year. we collected food to give to the food bank. and we sponsored a family who needed help financially this christmas. Our children were watching. Our children were having a hand in helping. We made sure to emphasize that we were doing it because God has given us so much that we need to use it to bless others. We often talk about that Christmas is about baby Jesus and the promise and gift He is to us. But of course Santa is more interesting to a 2 and 4 year old. Jesus wants us to GIVE things where Santa gives US things. Our plan was to focus on Jesus and skim past Santa. But children talk. Children ask questions.
In a perfect world where our children would only talk when we wanted them to and not when I am exhausted or at inappropriate times such as shopping behind someone in the grocery checkout aisle who is a little over weight or has purple hair, heaven help me if it is both. Of course they do talk. They do ask questions loudly and I do my very best to ignore the facial expressions of disgust or disapproval from the many onlookers and answer my children with pure honesty and respect. My children will one day be grown and I do not want to have to re-explain everything to them because I made up pretend answers for them. Now, back to Christmas.
Is Santa Real? I approached this subject carefully for two basic reasons.
- I do not want my children to ruin christmas for other children and families. (We have all seen Miracle on 34th street. )
- I want them to believe in Magic. I grew up actually thinking I could fly and I had a dream that I could on a weekly basis. I still do sometimes. Believing in the unknown and mystery of life can be an amazing tool for a child. It helps them be creative and push boundaries. I want that for my children.
So, how did I answer?
I put my tea down (I am use to drinking it cold anyways) and I sat down with my son and looked him in the eye. I told him that the story of Santa Claus was real. I said that the North pole is real and very cold. Then I waited. I waited for him to ask more about santa. He didn’t. Instead he gave me an opportunity to do something I have been waiting to do. He asked me if Jesus was real. This I knew how to answer. Instead of focusing on Santa claus I got to share with my son the amazing TRUE story of a Great King who came in the form of a small baby to save the whole world. The best super hero around. I told the story with great excitement and mystery. He hung on every word.
He jumped off my lap with great excitement and ran off to play with his toys and back to the same old pretend stories of cars smashing into other cars and having to be towed away by his favorite tow truck. I went back to my kitchen to get my ice tea and drank it with great satisfaction. I may have bought myself another year.
I probably could have handled it better if my husband and I had prepared better for this moment but we were caught off guard by the awesomeness that is Age 4. Last year he had no idea and didn’t care at all about santa. We actually went and got pictures with Santa because both kids were begging to and were so excited to talk to him. I have never watched as many christmas movies before in my life. My kids are so excited about Christmas. I should have seen this coming. Both my children have come to the conclusion that the santas they see in the parades, movies, and malls are all fake santas and that only the real santa comes on christmas eve. This came as a pleasant surprise to me as they were watching
“Buddy the Elf” and it is stated that they are all fake santas. My two year old now runs around yelling Fake Fake Fake at the mall. oh the joys. Pray for me when that little monkey turns 4.
For now the magic remains and the Truth has been stated. What better results could I have hoped for?
From my Family to yours, I Wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I pray you find the Truth behind all the Magic. I hope you find joy in the Real Story of the sweet little Christ Child who came to show us how to live and then save us from all our sin. Hold your family close and take long moments of cuddles.