A crucial part of the holiday season, the legend of Santa Clause exists in the minds and homes of many children around the world. Once a year, a rotund jolly man in a red suit comes down our chimneys and leaves presents for the good girls and boys.
It’s a wonderful fairy tale and one that our children buy into 100%. However, there will come a time when your little one will question Santa Clause’s existence and it is often up to you to decide if it is time for the fairy tale to come to an end.
Doing so can be a delicate process. Before you throw the truth out there for your children to catch, consider these more sensitive tactics for opening that can of hard truth.
At some point, your child will ask you about the verity of Santa Clause. Their age may hold a clue as to their intentions. For example, a small child of 4 may be asking because they have their doubts but they want reassurance to continue to believe. An older child of 9 may be looking for the truth.
If you sense that your child is looking for the truth, give it to them. Once they reach the stage in their lives where they are not looking to be convinced, don’t try to convince them.
What exactly is the right age to suspend this belief? There’s no definite age but you know your child well enough to know when they are ready. They will eventually reach a stage of their development where they are able to discern between reality and imagination.
Write a Letter
This is one of those pieces of advice that seems to circulate the internet this time of year: if you’re ready to bust the Santa myth, write your child a thoughtful letter.
While there are some great examples online, be sure that the letter is sincere and from the heart. You can use this opportunity to explain the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving. Explain the origin of Santa and why it has become an important symbol for Christmas.
Be sure to consider your child’s age when writing the letter and use clear and concise language they can understand.
Drop Innocent Hints
I figured out the Santa ruse after “Santa Clause” coincidentally used the same wrapping paper and batteries as my mother and also possessed her handwriting. My brother found out after discovering (not by accident) Christmas presents in the trunk of my parents’ car that later on were labeled as being from Santa.
I came across one story online in which someone discovered that their parents were Santa when his dad scratched out his real name and wrote “Santa”.
I’m not sure if my parents intentionally dropped these hints or just got tired of perpetuating the Santa fantasy, but it’s not an all-around terrible way to lead your children to this conclusion. Stop disguising your handwriting, use the same wrapping paper and stow the gifts in bad hiding places. This will at least give your children time to discover and digest the truth.
Remember that even if your children know or discover the truth, there may be those among their peers who have not. Be sure to explain to your child the importance of not ruining the secret for other children.
Knowing that they are guarding an important secret may give your little one a sense of responsibility. Otherwise, you may be getting some interesting calls from other parents.