I remember the days when I was a child, maybe around 8 or 9 when my uncle (Mom’s brother) and I were engaged in a deep conversation as he told me the story of Santa who lived in the North Pole and came down every Christmas to leave presents for kids as they slept blissfully unaware. You could even write your wish list and depending on how good a child you were during the year, you will end up seeing your wishes fulfilled or might be in for some not so pleasant surprises. I learnt very soon that this is just a story cooked up to fascinate kids but did that leave me very dejected? I cant remember what I felt but it was certainly not something that left a significant impact else it would not have faded from my memory over the years. What remains firmly glued in my mind is that conversation with my uncle as he wove this fascinating story and I actually thought this fantasy world exists. It was a wonderful feeling.
Fast forward to the day I became a parent. My daughter was turning 3 , I had been on a 3 month business trip to Switzerland and bought a host of toys for her and this wonderful Santa bag which I planned to gift her all these toys in. It was almost Christmas when I returned and it struck me.-Why not tell her the Santa story and gift her these on Christmas? We had been to a luxury resort for 2 days and I told her the Santa story, gave her the stockings and asked her to hang them near her bed. She had been an exceptionally good girl, well behaved, matured and had stayed 3 months without her mom, not throwing any tantrums, cooperated with her grand mom and Santa would be really pleased. She could expect some good gifts.
The next morning she was overjoyed to see her stockings full of Santa toys and chocolates. She wanted to know how Santa had managed to creep in as all the door and windows were locked.
The next year she was more excited as she looked forward to this visit by Santa. She excitedly discussed this with her friends. A girl, 2 years older told her that this is a myth, there is no Santa but my little girl was defiant as she insisted that Santa is indeed there and he gives gifts to kids.
This year she went a step further and made her list of things she wanted from Santa- a unicorn and dog with a string. She was considerate to think of leaving cookies for Santa and water (as there was no milk at home!) and carrot for the reindeer. She woke up all of a sudden during her mid day nap on the day before Christmas screaming “I need to put up my stockings, Santa will be coming!”
The sparkle in her eyes as she opened her presents and found a unicorn, a Christmas tiara and 2 books by Julia Donaldson was infectious.
So as a parent, is it ok to lead them on when you know the truth would be uncovered some day? Would it leave them shattered to find out it was but a mythical tale woven by Mommy and no such thing exists? Yes it would be disappointing for who wouldn’t want to live in a world where you really have a selfless jolly good fellow like Santa? But they will get over it just like we did. Until they discover the truth why not indulge in some fun and celebrate the spirit of this wonderful festival. As I said the excitement that builds up before Christmas and the gleam in their eyes and spring in their step as they unwrap the presents is one that makes it totally worth it.
What are your thoughts around Santa and this make believe story? Do you indulge your kids? Do share your thoughts and here is wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Angel and me.