This time of year it’s always a hot topic: do you tell your kids Santa is real?
On one side are the die-hard Santa-followers. They will go to great lengths to maintain the illusion… often including mischievous elves or wandering wise-men in the Christmas festivities.
On the other side are those who believe that telling kids Santa is real (and I’m talking about the down-the-chimney/flying reindeer Santa here, not the actual guy who was sainted) is lying to them and it will destroy their trust when they are older and find out the truth.
It’s got me wondering where you all draw the line. It’s not just Santa. This is an underlying parenting philosophy.
In our house we are all about believing in the impossible. If my child asks me, “do you believe in Santa? The tooth fairy? Garden gnomes? Wandering nativity guys that come to life every night?” My answer never waivers.
People have asked, “How long will you keep up ‘the illusion?’ When will you tell about Santa, etc.?”
I will keep it up forever. I will always and forever maintain that I believe. When my children are the age that I am now and they come to visit on Christmas all of the gifts will not be under the tree until Santa comes and puts them there while everyone sleeps on Christmas Eve.
I want my children to grow up in a world where anything is possible. There was a time when curing bubonic plague with a pill, sailing to the East by going West, taking someone’s heart out and replacing it with another, flying to the moon or traveling faster than the speed of sound would have been considered magic. The people who made those things possible and understandable (at least in a rudimentary sort of way) to us all were people who believed, with great passion, in the absurd.
Our family has some dear friends who strive to be unwaveringly realistic with their children. They tell them, “No. There is no Santa. People work very hard to earn money and buy you gifts because we love you and want to give you something special.”
They will be quite firm. “You are not a princess. You are pretending to be a princess.”
Their philosophy is that kids need to grow up with a rock-solid foundation of understanding about how the world works in order to become successful adults. If a girl grows up believing she’s a princess what’s going to happen when she needs to get her first minimum wage job and take care of herself?
And you know… I think their logic makes good sense.
So my question to you is this:
Where do you draw the line between promoting imagination and outright lying with kids?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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