Christmas is just 11 days away and our kids are a bundle of excitement. But before we get closer to the big day I want to take a little break from our Advent with a Twist series and answer one very important question… Is Santa real?
After all, Santa’s picture is plastered all over storefronts and on television screens for four straight months. You can write and drop off letters for him at the USPS North Pole mailbox. He magically delivers toys all over the world on Christmas morning. He seems pretty real to the youngest members of our society so, dad and mom, how and when do you break the news to your children that the Santa they so faithfully believe in is actually you?
Our kiddos are 9, 7, and (almost) 4. While we’ve always made it clear that Christmas is about Jesus, our kids still believe in Santa. And we’ve let them.
Over the last few years, Bella and Abbi, our two oldest children, have often asked us the awkward question – “Is Santa real?” We would neither confirm nor deny his existence. Instead, we would respond with – “Well, what do you think?” And then conversation would naturally shift in a different direction.
But, this year, Dave and I mulled over how to openly talk with our girls about that man in the big red suit. They are at an age where the innocent childhood belief in Santa is slowly fading and we wanted the truth to come directly from us.
On Black Friday, Dave and I tucked Aidan into bed and sat down on the couch with Bella and Abbi. We talked about Christmas and why we celebrate it. We reminded them that the reason we give and receive gifts is a tangible way to reflect on God’s gift to us… Jesus.
Then we brought up Santa. As the four of us cuddled up together we told them how Santa is real. Not the jolly guy in a red suit that they take pictures with at the mall, but the spirit he represents. The joyful giving and selfless acts of love are very real.
We wrapped up our conversation by reading The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving. This is a great resource for any family! After finishing the short story, Dave and I asked the girls if they were ready to become a Santa Claus themselves. Together, we prayed that God would give them each an opportunity to find someone they could secretly bless with a special gift.
Bella and Abbi were both a bit disappointed to learn that the magical Santa of childhood is not a real person, but their hearts were joyful to think that they are now part of the great Santa movement themselves. As a parent, it’s been amazing to sit back and watch God use them as they secretly bought and delivered gifts to some unusual people this Christmas. That spirit of love, the tradition of giving, is taking hold of another generation.
We would love to hear your family’s Santa experiences! How and when did you talk to your children about this red-suited man?