One of my readers suggested I write a post about the man in the red suit. In the United States, the vast majority of preschoolers believe in Santa Claus, although most kids stop believing by mid-elementary school. As young children, my older brother and I were among that group.
On Christmas morning, we each came downstairs to find a big, unwrapped gift under the tree that was from Santa, as well as a few smaller, wrapped gifts from our parents. On Easter, the Easter Bunny hid a basket for each of us to find. And when we lost teeth, the Tooth Fairy left a few quarters under our pillows.
I distinctly remember the day when my brother told me the truth about Santa, when I was about eight years old. We were driving in the car, and I remember exactly where we were. “Does that mean the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real either?” I asked. His response made me cry.
Mr. Handsome grew up being told that the Wise Men came on camels and left gifts under the tree. On Christmas Eve, his dad stomped around on their roof. “The camels are here!” his mom would say. “You have to go to bed, or they won’t bring presents.”
Having come from two different backgrounds, Mr. Handsome and I are faced with a big decision: What will we tell our children? Little Buddy was still too young to understand who brought his gifts this Christmas, but we’ve decided not to do Santa Claus or the Wise Men. Before I explain why, I want to start by saying that I have absolutely nothing against parents who hold to either tradition.
For me, the biggest reason is that I don’t want to risk confusing my kids. And while I don’t necessarily think that I trusted my parents any less when I found out the truth about Santa, but it’s more about my perspective as a mom. Even with a young toddler, I always strive to keep my word. I try not to make promises to Little Buddy that I can’t keep.
I do want Christmas to be a magical time for our children, and I plan on starting some fun Christmas traditions for our family, perhaps as soon as next year. Do you have any suggestions? I would also love to hear your thoughts on Santa Claus.