Friday, December 3, 2010

pondering life's big questions

First and foremost let me introduce our very own toilet paper roll Santa. He is adored at our house and was lovingly made by Vince's grandmother. Every year he can be found in odd places in strange poses all over the house, all season long. What can I say, we are easily amused over here.
Anyway, I thought he would make a good model for my blog post.

I'm seeking a little holiday advice today. Last year Peter (then age 6) would cautiously explain to me that he just was not sure if there really was a Santa Claus. He would end his statement with a questioning look and not usually stick around for a response. Fine by me. This year, however, the questioning look is long gone and there is more of a "gotcha!" tone to his announcement that he no longer believes in Santa Claus.

We all knew this day would come, right? I'm okay with it BUT we also have a family member who is PRIME Santa age (3!) so the last thing I want is for his big brother to squash all his Christmas dreams, right? So my question is, what do I say to Peter so that everyone can have a happy holiday?

I'm leaning toward A) "That's fine, but how about we all pretend he's real anyway, okay?"

considering B) "Are you SURE you want to go down that path?"

would rather not, but would say if I had to C) "If you ruin Christmas for your brother I swear you will get nothing, that's right, nothing." Okay, I promise I won't say that, really!

or I could just stick with my usual response D) "Really? Hmmm, interesting." But seriously, how much longer is that going to fly?
help!

16 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh no! Are you telling me Santa isn't real???? He is. He is! He is!!!! xxx

Sally said...

In that spot, I said (very sincerely and with a little bit of surprise in my voice like I really didn't know for sure myself), "Really?!? Are you sure? Because don't you have to believe in order to get stuff?" That way, if they didn't believe, they just kept it to themselves. ;)

Meaghan said...

There are some movies with slightly older kids (and adults) that touch on the "Santa isn't real!" stuff. My favorite is Home Alone, because when put in a tough spot, Kevin can't help but believe despite his youthful cynicism. It's his only hope! Elf is also a really excellent affirmation for kids of all ages. I realize there might be some unsavory content in both of these films, though, for certain parents and kids.

I told my mom that I didn't believe in Santa when I was seven or eight years old because, "Santa has the same handwriting as you do, Mom!" It's still a hilarious family story. She keeps the Santa spirit alive to this day, though, hiding presents at neighbor's houses and making the entire experience fun and surprising. There is part of me that still believes in the big guy because of her joyous commitment to keeping the spirit of Christmas alive.

I don't have the best answer for a kid, but just believe that Christmas spirit is worth the effort, no matter whether you believe or not, and that it's his (your son) truth to keep in his heart and share with no one else.

Glenda said...

My mom handled it much like Sally's suggested and none of us three kids ever suggested to her that Santa was not real =). For as long as we lived at home, there was Santa loot on Christmas morning.

My own son, who's 12, hasn't questioned Santa's reality. I think he either is borderline about believing, or he knows and is quite content to play along. But if he was to come right out and ask, I'd handle it like my mom did and reinforce that, for us, it's the fun of Santa and all that that encompasses.

Kelly said...

You're assuming that by not believing in Santa, Christmas is somehow not as special. Santa has not existed at our house for a very long time and all the wonder and magic and joy of the holidays is still there.

Kate said...

I teach elementary school, so I know what you mean... Some kids believe, some don't, and it's tough. If he were MY child, I'd be tempted to say, "Okay, well, children who don't believe in Santa don't get presents from Santa!!!" ;D But the other side of me says, "Santa is one of the ways we represent the spirit of giving. That makes him real to me."

Good luck! I don't envy your situation!

Melissa Crowe said...

Or you could do what Mark (my husband does) and INSIST there is a Santa Claus and that people who don't believe don't get presents. ;-)

corinne said...

If he's really ready to not believe, I would tell him quietly and gently that when a child stops believing in Santa, s/he is then given the gift of being responsible for carrying the magic of Santa to all the children who do believe. That's why so many big kids still sit on Santa's lap, still love to read Santa books, swarm to the new Santa movies. So in your family, when you talk about Santa with your youngest or younger house guests, Peter is now part of the team to make sure that they hear all of the good and positive and wonderful things about believing in Santa. You could even tell Peter that he has to keep this secret all the time for years, but when your youngest is ready to know the truth, you'd like Peter to help you explain all this to him too, because he'll be so good at keeping the spirit alive by then. Good luck! Love your blog! (And we have the same name - fun!) xo

corinne said...

P.S. Sorry to write so much - and the Santa Claus movies with Tim Allen are so great for this age! xo

Corinne said...

I'm so glad I asked about this because all of your answers to this question are so much better than the lame responses I came up with. I'm still getting a feel for what I think Peter REALLY wants to hear. Last night he asked the popular "If we don't have a chimney, how will Santa get into our house?" question so I'm thinking he might still be on the fence about it. I suppose I'll have to just wait and see what the season brings.

The Scone Gunman said...

I've got 3 kids, so I've been there. Bigger siblings are usually surprisingly gracious about these things. What I did when it came up was ask my oldest to think about how excited he got at Christmas thinking about Santa and all the holiday magic he brings. I then explained that we didn't want to ruin all that magic for his little sister. He was very understanding, and to this day he's still very involved in helping create that "magic" for his 2 younger siblings.

Marie said...

I am a big fan of asking why do you think that or what makes you wonder -- this may give you insight into if they are hearing something on the playground or bus -- or if they are just putting all the pieces together. If it seems that it's a slippery slope to "the truth" ask what was their favorite part of Christmas when they were "babies" ;) and ask for their help to help make it special for the little members of the family. You could give him special things to do for the little one. My brother's name is Nick - so we named him St. Nick on my phone - so I told my son Santa is on speedy dial -- and whenever he has a question about the North Pole or anything - we text it to Santa - who when he isn't busy with rowdy elves, answers. Perhaps you have someone who might be willing to play along this holiday season.

My 1st Bambina ! said...

I know of a child that cried because he felt betrayed by his parents ... (kind of like I trusted you but you lied to me). So perhaps he is ready to know the truth and perhaps to him knowing that he can trust you and count on you is more important.

Anonymous said...

I have three girls and I have never encouraged Santa one way or the other. For me it's more about logistics. I am a single mom and alot of times the oldest is with me with shopping for the younger two or vice versa. However there are always little surprises and so it keeps them wondering I think. This year the questions from my 11 year old are really coming. I just answer her by saying "Just believe what is in your heart." She asked me what I believe and I told her that I go back and forth. Then the really hard questions came....well last year for St. Nick I got candy and a card in my shoe and Loel at school got an iPod. Does St. Nick like some kids more than others? I mean geesh, what do you say to that?? I just told her that I bet Loel's parents snuck that in his shoe because St. Nick loves everyone the same. The Santa question can be so tricky! I hope you find a way to work through it.

Rory said...

I don't think I will ever acknowledge (to myself or to my daughters) that there isn't a Santa. It's a slippery slope I think...teaching them about Faith and believing in things they can't see or understand and then going back and saying they believed in something that wasn't real. As far as I'm concerned, there is a Santa and I'm just his elf!!

Croaking Crown said...

When my niece decided that Santa wasn't "real" my sister turned knowing that into a "special privilege for being so grown up" and sat her down and told her the big secret about the story of the REAL St Nicholas and how it is his spirit that we "keep real" by our behavior. And that now that she was old enough and more importantly "mature" enough to handle the responsibility they were going to start needing her help to get ready for Christmas. After all it was ALOT of work for parents to (for example) stay up later than everyone else to stuff stockings *wink* and make sure that Santa's cookies were eaten so she was going to have to handle some of the extra "work" of making Christmas for her younger siblings. For them at least it actually resulted in more Santa enthusiasm because what older sibling doesn't like to have a "special secret" that's just for "big kids" and parents and extra responsibility/privilege that comes along with being big?