Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm Santa

"Daddy?"
"Yeah. What's up, buddy?"
"Santa's real, right?"
"Ugh...?"
.....

I'm a fan of Christmas. I always have been. I don't remember (spoiler alert!) when exactly I learned that Santa wasn't real. I'm sure it was middle elementary school (3rd or 4th grade), around the time when the older kids found humor in our confusion over condominiums and condoms... One of my friends unfortunately argued his family lived in... well.. easy mistake at that age. 

While I don't remember the when exactly, I know it wasn't until my middle to late teen years that I found peace with the meaning of Santa and the reality that Santa is something that lives in us all. 

It's bothered me that as parents we create this "lie" to our kids and insist that Santa exists as a real man dressed in red that delivers presents with flying reindeer and sleigh, even when our kids question the feasibility. We answer the questions with the easy "he's magic" answer, and hope that our kids just buy it until their classmates on the playground are teasing them for still believing. Not a comfortable conversation follows that scenario, and the kiddo might question everything you say from then on! (Over dramatic? Maybe.. OR maybe not! 😜)

So, this year I found myself facing more of these questions from my oldest. He's a super bright 3rd grader. His questions got the attention of his 6 year old sister, so now things were serious! I decided to approach their questions with two of my own.

The first question I posed was to ask them what they thought or believed. Instead of answering with "he's magic" and walking away or replying with "yup, he doesn't exist", I decided to use a teaching skill and have them reflect on what they believed. For a topic like Santa, this reflection gets them thinking with their hearts; the place, I believe, the true Santa can be found. 

The question that followed was to ask, "what if I'm (daddy is) Santa?" This really got their eyes popping! "ARE you Santa?" they would ask. To which I replied, "what does your heart tell you?" Again, I wanted them to think about it and consider it. By at least placing the idea in their heads that I could be Santa, my hope is that they will be more comfortable transitioning to this reality. That and it's a great boost for me: "Daddy you can't be Santa! You're not old and fat!" ...sweet!! 😀

My goal in answering their questions with my own questions is to help them reflect on who Santa is to them. If my plan works, they will see that Santa is something that lives inside us all, and while there might not be a magical, jolly, fat man that lives in the North Pole, it doesn't mean that we all can't still make Christmas a magical day by embracing our inner Santas for the ones that we love. 

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and I would love to hear some of your stories on how you've handled the "Is Santa real" question.