Yup, I told my kids the truth about Santa!
I can just see the hate mail now but it’s true, the weekend before Thanksgiving, I told my kids the truth about Santa, and really it was a long time coming! Honestly, I had never wanted to go the Santa route, because it felt like a lie and as a Christian it bothered me, but my husband talked me into it, and after years of watching my children and other children obsess over Santa, I decided to tell my kids, who are 6, 7 and 8, the truth.
It didn’t take long with Facebook and Pinterest to go from not wanting to tell my kids about Santa to becoming that mom who wants EVERYTHING in the world to be magical to her children. I was the mom that made reindeer food (oats and glitter) for my kids to spread all over the yard to make sure that Santa and the reindeer would want to stop. I was the mom who had elves leaving little candies in the house for the kids to countdown Christmas. I was the mom that made a leprechaun trap on St. Patty’s day. I was the mom that hid Easter eggs as the Easter bunny, and it was all fun but each year my conscience got heavier with guilt. I felt like I was lying to my children, so to remedy this I tried to incorporate more “Reason” into each season. An example would be my post Easter is more than Eggs and Bunnies, but even so and especially at Christmas, I just felt like as a parent, and as a society, we were losing grip of the things that really are important.
I am NOT a Grinch!
Before I go on… I love Santa! I love all of the movies and the decorations and the songs, but I am tired of seeing Christ pushed aside. Being Christians, my children know that Christmas is in celebration of Christ’s birth, we focus on the true meaning of Christmas and even try making it fun every year by either buying or making a birthday cake for Jesus, but because of outside influences my children began to see Christmas in a light that I wasn’t happy with. However, it wasn’t just that, it was the lie. In our home we put a lot of emphasis on telling the truth and I wondered what they would think of us when they discovered, on their own, the truth about Santa.
I wondered what else they would think we lied to them about and I wanted us be the ones to tell them the truth, give them perspective and make it right, but also wanted to give them some Christmas magic to hold on to. Being young and believing in Santa and the magic of Christmas was almost the best part of Christmas and I didn’t want to have that taken from them the day they stopped believing in Santa, I wanted to give them some magic to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
It took me some time but I wrote out my feelings and sat the kids down with my husband, made everyone some hot chocolate, put a plate of cookies on the table and read this letter to the kids.
Here it goes…
There is a question that all little children wonder, “Is Santa actually real?” and it has taken mom and dad some time to think on how to answer this question for you. We love that you believe but we think that it is time that you knew the truth about Santa!
So, here’s the truth… YES, Santa was real but because he was only a man he died many years ago. During his life he was known as Nicholas and he lived only a short while after Jesus lived. Nicholas was an extraordinary man who loved Jesus very much, he was an early Christian! It was because of his love for Jesus that he wanted to help many people who were in need and he loved the children of his town so much, that Nicholas often gave them gifts. Nicholas allowed God’s love to shine through him and it was because of this that the people of his town nicknamed him Father Christmas, because Nicholas knew the true meaning of Christmas!
There are some people who have, and who will, walk this Earth that will never be forgotten, sometimes the reason is because the person did something very terrible, but then again there are those people that lived such amazing lives, that their love can never die. Nicholas is one of those people, his love of Jesus was so strong that it has lasted several hundred years. The story of Nicholas has spread all over the world and has been translated into many languages. Over time people have added different things to the story creating more magic and as time went on Nicholas became Santa in United States, but he is known by other names in other countries. In England he is still known as Father Christmas. Russian’s know him as Ded Moroz. The French call him Pere Noel and that is just a few, but almost of these Santas, are based off of the man Nicholas and Nicholas was very much REAL!
You might be wondering who has been filling your stockings and wrapping your presents and the answer is we have, just like our parents did for us and maybe you will do for your children someday! We did this in remembrance of Nicholas a man who gave to others to show his love for God, but also to give a gift as an example of the gift that God gave to us all!
The true meaning of Christmas is to remember that Jesus was born, lived and died for us to be able to live in eternity with God. Nicholas knew this, your mom and dad know this and we want you to know this too! Gifts are fun, Christmas movies are fun, Christmas treats are fun, but the true meaning can’t be lost and Nicholas would never want children to love him more than Jesus!
Maybe now you are wondering if you should still like Santa and I can say to you yes, I could scream YES! Because every time you look at a Santa or see him in a movie or even sit on his lap you can smile because you know the real secret of Santa, you don’t have to doubt if Nicholas was real, his love still lives and it will live for hundreds of more years!
This Christmas you won’t have to wonder if Santa is coming down the chimney or how a sleigh can fly around the world in one night, but the magic that we all feel at Christmas is still very real! The magic lies in you, in the love you feel for others, in the love we feel for Jesus and the love that God feels for us. You can carry that Christmas magic with you all year because the true magic is love.
It was God’s love for us that he sent his son, it was Jesus’ love for us that he died on the cross, it was Nicholas’ love for Jesus that has allowed him to be remembered, and it is our love for God and others that completes the circle.
Mom and dad love you very much, we always will… Merry Christmas!
It was a bit rough…
So, you might be wondering how that went, it hurt a bit to read. My 2 older kids were ok, Landen and my husband (who very much knew we were doing this) were not as ok, but even Landen, my 6 year old, was remarkably fine in about 5 minutes. I also purchased a book to read and to just have on hand called Saint Nicholas, the Real story of the Christmas Legend but there are many others to choose from here.
Since that day my kids’ Christmas spirit hasn’t changed much. They still are enjoying Christmas carols, they still enjoy the many Christmas shows and movies and even went and saw Santa. We never wanted them to enjoy Christmas less, we wanted them to understand why Christmas is so important and I think they see it a bit clearer now. They have asked for significantly fewer items this year because they know the gifts don’t magically appear, they have made more gifts for their friends, and they have asked to do more things for others… so we have decided to incorporate a week around the Feast of St. Nicholas (we are not Catholic) to have a dinner in honor of St. Nicholas and spend sometime during that week doing good deeds for others, as Nicholas did to honor Christ and I will post more on that at a later time. More importantly, we have spent more time talking about Jesus, his birth and his love.
I know what your thinking…
For those of you that think I am nuts, don’t worry, I have told my kids that this is something between each child and parent and they are not to explain or share any of this with any other child, as that is a parent’s role, and so far they have been respectful of that!
I know that my approach will put some people off but we all have to do what we feel is right for our families, and in a time when people are more worried about what is under the tree then about the reason of the celebration, this is what is right for our family. My biggest hope is that my kids will carry the love of Christmas into the new year and all year long!
Bet + fam 🙂