What to tell ...

What to tell the kids about Santa?

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Someone last
week described in minute detail the lengths she and her husband go to to keep
Santa alive for their three boys. They have enlisted the help of the now
popular Elf on the Shelf, an interactive hide-and-seek game where magical elf
figures are placed in a different spot each morning after they’ve flown home
to the North Pole at night to report back on who’s been naughty or nice in the
household.
It’s a charming idea that has garnered a sizeable following. But for these two working
parents, every night, the entire month of December, they must remember the Elf.
Where was he today? Where will he be in the morning when we wake up? Add this
to Christmas shopping, baking, gift-wrapping, card-sending,
family-hosting…you get the idea.
Despite their best efforts, the middle child, the family’s 6-year old, was beginning to
have his doubts about Santa. Mom said he would be punished if he stopped
believing or breathed a word of his thoughts to his brothers. No gifts for him.
Really?
Punishing a child for his thoughts about Santa Claus? Every parent has been
through this. Especially if there is a sizeable age gap between the kids in the
family.  Most older siblings are only too happy to play along once they understand.
The truth is, Santa is as much for parents as he is for children, right? My kids believe
in Santa = they are young and innocent, and look up at me with saucer eyes, believing
and obeying everything ” or most ” of what I say.
They stop believing = they are older, beginning to question the world around them ” and who
do they question, or defy, more than anyone: mom and dad.
It is a coming of age. Up until now most milestones have been physical..learning to
walk, run, ride a bike. Even success at school in the early grades, doesn’t
require any questioning of authority.
In our busy, hard and sometimes cold world, we have learned as adults that a belief in some
kind of magic can help soften the edges. And as parents we can easily get
caught up in the magic of the season, seeing those young eyes light up on
Christmas morning.
But the real magic is in helping our children make the leap to the other side, and finding
the true meaning of Christmas.