There are many things a parent dreads in the raising of our little babies. The question of “Is Santa real?” is one I fear for sure.
I hesitated at first to even let Santa into our house. The feeling of lying to my kids, knowing that one day we would have this conversation where they would find out my hidden secret scared me.
But the magic of Christmas and the look in their eye when they listen for Reindeer on the roof and when they see all that Santa has brought for them is what childhood is all about. It’s what my childhood was about and I couldn’t bare deny them that.
(Btw, do you do Elf On The Shelf? This printable kit I made makes it so much easier!)
I live by these famous and beautiful words from the column in the New York Sun in 1897:
“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”
Now that my son is seven and kids in school are starting to talk, I know that I need to be prepared for the day when he finally says “Mom, tell me the truth, is Santa real?”
You may have seen this letter written by Martha Brockenbrough floating around the internet and I think it is the perfect response in this difficult conversation.
. . .
You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the Christmas magic stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents, and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.
. . .
Isn’t it beautiful?
I hope your children always believe in Santa Claus, but when the time comes that they need to know the truth, these sweet words will be there for you.
Get your printable Elf On The Shelf Kit before you go!
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