<< Just rip it off.
Now that I’m a famous writer – people often come to me for advice about their lives. As they should. I am, after all, their Mother.
A fan sent me this question last week:
Hello there! Question for you? My 8yo son still believes in Santa but he is starting to doubt. He said today that those people in Malls are wearing costumes and lying to kids (they don't really have reindeers parked on the roof of the mall). My dilemma is that I don't want to lie to him but I fell into the lie without my will (like most of us are). What do I do? With only a few weeks away, do I ruin this last xmas for him or do I hold off until after the holidays to burst his bubble? Help!!
Dear Big Fat Liar,
You did not fall into this without your will. It’s always been in your power to tell your son that Santa isn’t real. Some kids grow up from birth knowing Santa isn’t real because their parents are probably religious weirdos – but weirdos or not – those parents didn’t feel like they were forced to lie to their kids. And let's not forget other non-weirdo religions that don't celebrate Christmas. You made the choice to lie to your son about Santa so take responsibility for it and stop blaming the mall.
Now – here’s what I think about Santa:
1. It’s fun to lie to kids.
2. It’s more for the parents than the kids.
3. Kids don’t care when they find out because they still get gifts.
4. WE ARE LETTING OUR KIDS BELIEVE IN SANTA WAAAAAAAAAAAAY TOOOOOOOOO LOOOOOOOONG. It’s ridiculous. Anyone over the age of 10 should know that Santa isn’t real. Disagree, readers? Tell me exactly why it’s good for a 5th grader to believe in that it’s appropriate to sit on a stranger’s lap and ask him for presents. That’s just weird, y’all.
Alright let me also say that I love the holidays. Especially Christmas. I decorate the house inside and out. I love the music and the traditions of the season. I even like Santa and, like you, lie to my kids all the time about it. But my oldest knows. He needed to know – I already had waited too long to tell him. I kept it simple. I told him that I like all of the fun things about Christmas. He said he did too. I said that fun stuff happens because we let little kids believe in Santa - that Santa isn’t real – but the spirit is. And to keep the spirit alive – we help others younger than us believe.
He determined that without Christmas spirit, the stores wouldn’t make any money – and that would be bad for the economy.
Anyway, you said this: “do I ruin this last xmas for him or do I hold off until after the holidays to burst his bubble?”
Stop with words like “ruin” and “burst his bubble.” He still gets presents. Christmas still happens. He’s still going to spend time with family and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Telling him Santa isn’t real doesn’t mean Christmas is dead for goodness sakes. Dial back on the drama and tell him the truth. I think if he’s asking you specific questions and he’s feeling lied to – you owe it to him. Tell him his instincts were correct – that this is a story we tell to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in the world. And tell him that now that he knows – it’s his job to be the one who carries the spirit to others through letting them believe. Congratulate him for now being on the other side – with the grown-ups. It’s a rite of passage, not a Christmas killer.
There’s still a tree, a man in a red suit and plenty of toys under the tree with three very Christmasy words printed on them, you know the ones...nope not deck the halls, nope not merry christmas baby, not even we three kings but...
“Made in China.”