In the past 10 years or so, I’ve seen a lot of blogging about and worrying over the concept of Santa & lying to our kids. I can honestly say that I had never thought of it that way, or heard anyone else talk about in my life before recently. And honestly? I just don’t get it. I mean, if your child grows up and hates you for “lying” to them about Santa – and in the process giving them loads of presents? Your kid is an asshole. And you might just be an asshole to have raised such an asshole.
Don’t get me wrong – to each his own. If you want to do the Santa thing, fine. If you don’t, fine. But the idea that doing it is going to damage your child or make them not trust you because you lied to them is completely bizarre to me. I can’t help but to think this is borrowing problems. I mean – there are plenty of real, honest to goodness problems that we can worry about. This? Just seems like a whole lot of silliness to me.
I have only had one child so far that made the transition from believing to not believing. But based on that one child, I have determined that I most definitely did NOT damage him in any way by allowing him to believe in Santa. When he came to me (older than many are when they stop believing) and asked me for the truth, I’ll admit it – it broke my heart. Previously, I used the “what do YOU think?” answer, but that last time, I knew. I knew that he knew, but was wishing otherwise. I knew it was time. And even though he knew, he was still disappointed. He cried. But not because I had been lying to him for years. Because he felt sad that he was moving on. Sad that some of the magic was being let out of his life. But not for one minute did he even think that I was wrong for “lying” to him (and I asked him about it some time later because of this nonsense).
When I was about five or six years old, I was lying awake one Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep. And I heard my mom on the phone with Aunt Twin. I will always remember what it felt like to hear those words: “Ray is putting together Gina’s Barbie Townhouse.” And at that moment, I knew. I spent the rest of my childhood not believing. And you know what? That was sad.
I never told my parents I heard – I was afraid I’d get in trouble for being awake that late, so for years they thought I believed when I didn’t. The Christmas season was stressful for me. Adults always like to ask kids about Santa – Is he coming? What is he bringing? Have you seen him yet? And every one of those questions made me feel awful. And Christmas mornings? Oh MAN, they were tough. My parents could never understand why I didn’t jump excitedly out of bed like most kids. They would have to wake me up and practically drag me downstairs.
I know that many of these issues come from the pretending, rather than the lack of Santa, but not all. I was disappointed that he wasn’t real. And I always felt a little left out of the excitement and anticipation that the other kids felt about Santa. The fact is (for me at least) a Christmas without Santa is a Christmas without magic. And I like my Christmases magical.
And now I want my kids’ Christmases to be magical. So I’m going to go ahead and be a big liar. My kids will thank me for it.