Without any doubt, Santa Claus is one of the most influential characters in the Western culture. In fact, it has been a primary discipline tool used by parents after the month of September (“I’m going tell Santa Clause not to bring you gifts!”). Although Santa is a Christmas icon and is widely known by everyone, it is also a major dilemma for many parents. Should I tell my kid Santa Claus is real? How can I tell my child that I was lying to him all these years and that Santa didn't bring him toys; instead, I wrestled with a mad woman for them on Black Friday?”
Could this be the only acceptable lie to our kids? The truth is that every parent has the responsibility to choose how he or she wants to approach this.
Get your story straight
Before we start plotting extraordinary stories to our children, we have to make sure we fully understand what our beliefs are. Christmas is more than candy, gifts, and over-eating. Teaching our children what the meaning of Christmas will be the first step. Why do we get presents in the first place anyway? Whether you teach your kids that the giving tradition began because of the wise men or plainly because it is the family tradition, it is important that you do not use Santa as the sole reason for Christmas.
Understanding our creed gives meaning to the season and allows us to teach our kids the purpose of Christmas.
Can Santa pay for my student loans?
There is not a right time to tell the "Truth" about Santa. Every child will accept the news in a different way, but at the end of the day, what matters are the values your kid gets out of this. There is no perfect age to break the news, yet we have to keep in mind that we cannot allow the story to keep going and then put them in uncomfortable situations. Keep in mind that we cannot drag this story after a certain age.
The difference between imagination and belief play a major role in breaking the truth to our kids. Imagination allows the children to create ideas and images in their mind, yet they do not necessarily affect the world around them. Beliefs, on the other hand, are things that we hold as truths, are shared by others around us and directly affect the way we live. Our children believe in Santa; therefore, it is part of their real world and it directly affects the environment.
We have to keep in mind their developmental stage and overall maturity. If the kids around them are already debating whether Santa is real or not and they have this doubt in their mind, then it will be the perfect time to talk about it. Typically, we start seeing this between the ages of 8 and 10 years old.
If your kid is in college you should definitely tell him that Santa is not real!
Is Santa's naughty meter broken?
Why bad kids get good things? As parents, we are put in sticky situations in which our kids do not behave well, yet we don’t want them to have a Christmas without gifts. The problem with this is that we can be helping them develop an irrational sense of ownership and teach them that their behavior really doesn't affect the world around them.
If you are going to use the Santa story, then use it completely. If they were good, then you proceed and get them something from their wish list. However, if they were not, maybe you can get them a smaller gift and explain to them that it is coming from you.
It is also important to talk to them about the value of the gifts. It doesn't mean that someone was nicer because they got a bigger gift. Not because their friend got an Xbox One and they got a DS means that they were nicer. Families have different incomes; therefore, they need to understand this.
Teaching our kids to be humble and grateful is definitely vital. The material things are a token of appreciation, love, and gratitude rather than an obligation.
How do I break the truth?
Although there is not a perfect moment to tell them, I always recommend parents to tell them prior to the holiday season. Have you noticed that you see more pregnant ladies when you are pregnant? Or you buy a Jeep and now everyone has a Jeep? They will be more observant of this during the holiday season; therefore, it would help to actually allow them to let the information sink in when there is not a lot of bias.
One of the benefits of telling our kids about Santa before the holidays is that we will have the opportunity to teach them the history and purpose of this character. It is vital that we tell them the reason why we wanted them to have the illusion about Santa and also the purpose of it. The goal is that the child’s belief becomes a nice memory and possibly a tradition.
Explaining some details such as Santa’s real name and figure (Saint Nicholas and Sinterklaas) may be something that can make things a little easier to digest.
In conclusion, Santa Claus is a Christmas icon but is not the purpose of Christmas. Teaching our kids why we celebrate Christmas in the first place will make it easier for them to understand why Santa exists.