Should we let our kids believe in Santa Claus and the whole magic of the holidays? Absolutely!

The excitement of the Christmas season is in full swing. We see more and more decorated houses and lighted store windows; children are coming back from school with Christmas decorations that they made themselves; they start making their gift list and start singing Christmas carols, etc. As parents, we sometimes wonder what the point of all of this really is.

Santa Claus does exist!

You should know that for children, Santa Claus does exist! They strongly believe it, and their imagination has no limit as to how an old man can possibly distribute gifts to all the children in the world in one night. However, more and more parents are wondering if they should tell their kids early on that all of this is just fiction. They reasons for divulging the truth about Santa may vary from household to household and these may include teaching kids the value of money (that their presents were bought with their parents’ hard-earned money), another reason may be they are no longer interested in participating in a holiday that has become so commercialized, others may think it is lying to the children by instilling the existence of a mythological character. So, is the truth worth telling it to the kids even if it means disappointing them?

Are they kids or little adults?

In recent years, more parents have started to see their children as “little adults”. In today’s society, we have been forced to teach our kids to be more vigilant of certain dangers, we talk to them about issues such as bullying and peer pressure, and that they do understand. Nevertheless, they are still kids and they behave as such; they still want to experience moments that are full of magic and enchantment. In fact, they need to. They need to escape the adults’ world, have fun laugh, and enjoy the moment, of course. Having your children believing in Santa is not so bad; through fictional characters, such as Santa Claus, children learn about the concepts of good and evil. They learn how to face their fears; put words to their emotions and find solutions to life's difficulties. In this regard, children’s psychologist and writer Bruno Bettelheim says that fictional characters with whom children relate to enable them to resolve their internal conflicts and to overcome their unconscious anxieties. It is a big step in their social and emotional development.

Fear of the BIG question!

As parents, we’re also afraid of the disillusion, the fateful moment when our children discover that it was all just a myth. How can we explain it to them? Will they resent us for it? First of all, you don’t need to make a big announcement. Little by little, as they age, children will understand that it's impossible for Santa to deliver all the gifts, and to be at the mall, the annual parade and school celebration simultaneously. Eventually, they will ask the dreaded question: “Does Santa exist?” The best advice I can give you is to answer with a question: “What do you think?” It will break the ice and allow you to see where he stands in his understanding of things. The rest will come naturally.

What about our values?

As far as the values you want to instill in your kids with regards to the holidays, it’s up to you to make an effort, put energy and creativity into it.

If you do not want your child to be caught in the commercialization of this holiday, then:

  • Avoid going to shopping malls
  • Make your own gifts (arts and crafts, holiday cookies, desserts, etc.)
  • Focus on spending quality time with the family
  • Sing Christmas carols and decorate the house by using colored popcorn and other homemade ornaments.
Let your child develop a sense of generosity
  • Encourage them to give away some toys they no longer use and bring them charity organizations
  • Donate clothes they have outgrown
  • Participate in Christmas baskets collection
  • Make a holiday community meal with friends and family.
Let your child develop a sense of gratitude

Establish the tradition of “Santa’s present”. So rather than thinking that the plethora of gifts under the tree came from the sky, you can tell him that only one of his gifts came from Santa. He will then thank the other people who brought him presents.

All these customs we adopt based on our values and personal choices put things into perspective without discouraging the spirit of Christmas. Because in the end, isn’t this why we continue the tradition, for the magic of this family event? Let yourself be charmed by your little ones’ bewilderment. And you might end up believing in Santa, too!

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