One December back before we had kids I asked my husband what he thought about the whole Santa Claus deal when it comes to childhood. He instantly nixed the idea of telling kids that Santa was a real person who delivered presents. He didn't think that as parents you should lie to your children about where their presents come from or that a man would come into your home while they were sleeping. I instantly felt pretty upset by our different ideas around the Santa debate but over the years I've leaned towards my husbands more logical approach. Speed up to the present and we have never pretended that a fat jolly man comes into our apartment to deliver presents. However, there is still a special spot for Santa in our family Christmas!
You see, I grew up with warm fuzzy ideas around believing in Santa. I had nothing but positive experiences when it comes to the old guy dropping off presents for us. I loved leaving out milk and cookies and finding the crumbs in the morning with my sisters. Of course, there was the time around grade 3 when I figured out that there really was no real Santa flying around the world dropping off presents for boys and girls. I felt sad for a second but it all made sense to me and I was happy to keep up the Santa fantasy for my younger sister.
When I'm fast asleep
Down the chimney, broad and black,
With your pack you'll creep
All the stockings you will find
Hanging in a row
Mine will be the shortest one,
You'll be sure to know. -Lyrics from Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas
It's 1982 and I'm with my older sister and I believed in Santa Claus!
At 4 years old Ben really loves to read books about Santa and particularly Rudolph! Through his school chums and his cousins, and from books and movies too, he has learned about the whole world of Santa Claus without us having told him a thing. Recently I asked him what he thought about Santa and he gave me an answer that reinforced that he is his fathers son! He told me quite frankly that Santa is a character just like Ernie or Dora. I love the insight of children and that they can hold on to parts of the magic if they want to.
Meeting Ernie at Busch Gardens in Florida was a huge moment for Ben. You could see his joy in his face when he ran up to Ernie for a hug.
He loved playing with these characters at Busch Gardens and his happiness was through the roof. He has lots of fond memories of this afternoon we had together.
Even though we have both decided to tell our children that Santa is not a real person, Ben still wants to leave milk and cookies out and loves to hear stories about the character Santa and all the fun he gets up to at the North Pole. In fact, tonight when we were telling stories before bed he asked for a North Pole story about naughty elves and I obliged. I can totally get behind that kind of childhood imagination.
Caught up in the moment I'm sure Ben forgot that there were real people inside the costumes.
Do you encourage your children to hear Santa's footsteps on your roof or see a flash of reindeer in the sky on Christmas eve? Or do you side with my overly logical husband when it comes to good ol' St. Nick?