I honestly had to go down the list and call my siblings to ask them what exactly we believed, or what was taught to us when we were growing up. So that just goes to show that I grew up a lot differently than the people that I went to school with at the time. Now, I will say that being a first generation American had a lot to do with this. While my parents didn’t necessarily believe in the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, they tried to incorporate it into our childhoods as much as possible just so we could “fit in”. But there would be a slight disconnect because while all of my classmates were getting the latest toys, shoes & clothes from “Santa”, we’d be lucky to get a new shirt or sweater. And I just knew I was way nicer than some of those other naughty kids. Knew it. So in talking to my sister, she reminded me that we gradually just started putting two and two together and realized that there really was no Santa. No one sat down with us to explain the ugly truth. My sister specifically remembers leaving him a note on the window sill and it still being there when she woke up the next morning. Now that might be because she left it on the window sill and not on the kitchen table with milk and cookies…I don’t know.
I always knew that when I had children, I wanted to be able to make all of these holidays extra special for them. And, that meant allowing them to believe in all of these magical characters. I wanted to be that mom that put together Easter baskets from the Easter bunny, slipped dollar bills under my sleeping children’s heads, and most certainly, stayed up late wrapping all of the gifts from Santa for them to see when they woke up on Christmas day. So the thought of my husband not being on board never even crossed my mind. His take was that we don’t want our children to lie to us, yet we lie to them all the time…most of the time with a smile on our face and joy in our hearts. But when he initially tried to explain his point of view to me, my heart was as broken as that little child who just found out that Santa was a fake. My initial thought was, why would anyone want to rob a child of believing in something as harmless as Santa Claus? Or is it really harmless?
Now that I have three young children of my own (ages one, three and five), I’m in serious panic mode right now. On one hand, I love being that mom (and my husband is on board only because I was so passionate about it). On the other hand, when and how am I going to have that conversation with my kids to tell them that it has all been a lie? What if they hear it first from someone other than me? Or, what if I just slip up (which I almost did a couple of times with the Tooth Fairy), and they figure it out on their own? I read a funny cartoon on Facebook recently. It was a picture of a little boy and the caption said: “My mother accused me of lying today. I looked at her and said, ‘Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy & Santa Claus’…and walked away”. I don’t know if I want to be on that side of the fence with my kids. Do I really want to give them something to believe in that is a lie? The jury is still out on this one. But in the meantime, my kids are looking forward to Santa coming to town.
BMWK: What are your thoughts? Do your kids believe in Santa Claus? Why or why not?