Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Santa Skeptics

Okay, so I know I believed in Santa waaaaaaay longer than most kids.  (4th grade and even that was only because my stupid teacher told us and somehow my mom got me to still believe in the magic that Christmas so I wasn't a true non-believer until 5th grade.)  So why is it that Caroline is already asking the "Is there REALLY a Santa?" question and Bryce is critical of Rudolph?  I mean, seriously! 

I know it would be easy just to tow the line and give them the Santa story and keep them believing, but honestly, I have a hard time lying to them about something that isn't real.  I want them to be critical thinkers and figure out things in our world - why should the whole Santa thing be any different?  Mostly when they ask, I counter with the question, "Well, what do YOU think?"  That's been enough for Bryce and we generally finish the conversation with the notion that the story of Santa is whatever you want it to be. (He believes in Santa but is having a very hard time believing Santa would be able to see up in the sky because he doesn't believe in Rudolph.  Ha!!)

Not so easy for Caroline.  Of course, she's almost 7 and when she's been given some other facts, it makes sense that she would be critical.  Last night before bed we were going through the American Girl catalog (she's getting one for Christmas), and I mentioned that AG dolls are pretty expensive gifts and that if Santa brings her one, she might not have quite as much to open under the Christmas tree as Bryce/Piper since they have a bunch of smaller stuff.  And when she asked why, I told her that parents have to give Santa some money because Santa can't give gifts to kids all over the world on his own because that's too much money.  (I think that this is an important concept for kids for many reasons, especially since there are a LOT of kids out there that don't get much - if anything - for Christmas because of money issues.  In addition, we are working on teaching the kids the concept of money and thinking you can just get anything you want doesn't jive with that notion.)  So after I explained that to her, she looked me right in the eyes and said, "Mommy, tell me for real, is there a Santa?"

Now, here's the thing, I honestly wouldn't have a problem with her knowing the truth if I believed she could keep it to herself.  I'd like Piper to have a couple years of Santa magic to her Christmas and I'd like Bryce to be able to continue his fantasy a bit longer too.  So, I asked her my counter question of what she thought and she basically told me it didn't matter what she thought as she wants the truth.  Way to put me on the spot, Caroline.  You're too damn smart! 

Anyway, then I asked her what her heart wanted to believe and she said that she wanted to believe in Santa.  So I ended up talking with her about how much fun Christmas is because of the notion of magic and how much I loved Christmas as a kid because of that magical feeling that Santa is a part of.  I told her that there are lots of people (and kids) that don't believe in Santa because they don't celebrate Christmas and that's okay, but it's up to her if she wants to believe or not.  I also talked to her about how we are both December babies who are born with the Christmas spirit already inside of us and that believing in a little bit of Christmas magic is fun. 

So I didn't come right out and say it either way, as much as I hated not to but I think she can figure it out for herself, or not.  If she still wants to believe, I want her to.  I remember my first Christmas Eve/Morning knowing there wasn't a Santa and feeling as though it lacked a little bit of the magic.  I'm just not ready to give her that dose of reality yet.  Sigh.  I guess encouraging critical thought does have its price, huh?


Laura said...

I learned the truth about Santa earlier than I wanted to. I had no idea, and then one of my cousins blurted it to me. I can understand your conundrum: wanting to share the truth with C, but afraid that she might spoil it for the others. Sounds like you handled it well.

Katie said...

What's next...asking where babies come from??????!!!!

I still believe in Santa. I'm a lawyer too, I can prove my case to anyone... even Miss C. ;-)))