Christmas has always been a magical time for me.
That is not to say, however, that my family didn’t (and still doesn’t) indulge in the non-religious aspects of Christmas. We have always decorated to the max, following in the footsteps of my mom’s parents. We have always made and eaten too much food. My side of the family has always instilled a belief in Santa in our children.
And Santa visits my children for Christmas.
As a child, I believed in Santa longer than probably most other kids. I think I believed until I was about 12 years old, although I can’t remember whether my ‘belief’ at that point was more of a true belief or a fear of not getting any more Christmas visits and presents from ‘Santa,’ whoever they were.
Fast forward to now and I have my own kids, ages 9 and 6, who have absorbed my family’s love for Christmas. We have lots of lights and decorations, an Elf on the Shelf who plays hide and seek with my kids every Advent season, and Santa visits my children for Christmas Eve.
I know people have mixed opinions about whether Santa should visit your home each Christmas or whether or not you are lying to your children by instilling belief in such things.
I’m not here to tell you that you’re doing Christmas wrong if you do it differently than me. I’m only here to share why I take value in having my kids believe in Santa. Santa visits my children to bring a whole lot more than stuff. I’ll explain…
I’ve never seen encouraging your kids to believe in Santa as lying. I never felt lied to after I understood what the actual situation was.
I still, as an adult, truly believe Francis Pharcellus Church had it right when, as a staffer for New York’s Sun, he responded to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter, writing that, “Just because you do not see something does not mean you should not believe in it.” I feel there is a great lesson behind this statement. There is so much in life that is abstract and not tangible. That doesn’t mean it has no value. In essence, I feel believing in Santa teaches you how to have hope, and how to believe in miracles, kindness, and love.
When my kids get excited about their elf or about Santa, I see a reflection of my own childhood wonder. Their joy is contagious. It brings me joy; the type of joy that has been really hard to find in 2020. A joy that I, more than ever, never want to fade.
I’ve seen a lot of discussion on social media about how long children do or should believe in Santa. To be honest, I am not sure how much longer my 9-year-old will believe in our Elf and Santa. It is evident that he wants to believe. However, this is the first year he’s looked at our Elf, Elfonzo, and seemingly is trying hard to convince himself he saw him make the slightest of movements. He hasn’t yet come right out and asked about the truth, but I foresee this conversation coming over the next year, maybe two if I’m lucky.
In the meantime, do I have a specific time I plan to tell him? Absolutely not. He can believe as long as he wants, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not going to volunteer information unless he asks directly.
The innocence of childhood seems to be slipping away earlier and earlier in today’s world. My children’s belief in Santa is a part of this innocence I will allow them to hold on to as long as they wish. I hope Santa visits my children for a very long time.
When my son finally understands the true nature of the situation, I will also make sure he understands that he should not influence his friends’ belief or disbelief in Santa. That it is not something for him to impact.
I also fully intend to include him when it comes to keeping the magic alive for his younger sister for the next few years. In turn, I hope the opportunity to be Santa’s assistant will keep the joy alive for him as well. In this way, the long-awaited time when Santa visits my children will hopefully be prolonged in my family, and so will the hope, and joy, and magic that we all share.