My sister faced a dilemma so she did what we both do when there is a dilemma, she texted me.
“What did you do when your kids started asking questions about Santa Claus?” Hmm.
“Why?” I responded.
“Because I’m getting questions and I want to be honest but not traumatizing.”
“Why?” I responded.
“Because I don’t want them to be confused,” my sister responded.
“Why?” I responded. I'm so helpful.
“Life is confusing enough.” She answered.
“Honesty is traumatizing, I’d lie.” I replied. Yep that was my advice, lying.
“I like your hair.” She texted me back.
“Hilarious.” The conversation went downhill from there.
But I understood what she was saying, in a crazy world, when we can help our children through things that are puzzling, we want to do it. We also don’t want to crush their little spirits. Life does that on its own soon enough.
I thought back to when my oldest was young and asked me if there was a Santa. What did I do?
Honestly I ignored him.
Yep. I ignored him and went about my business.
But he got persistent with his pestering for “the truth.” So I threw a menacing, “What do you want?” at him. This usually sent both kids running. Especially if I added an evil eye, any mother worth her salt knows how to throw an evil eye at the kids. I recommend you develop one immediately if it isn’t in your arsenal.
Eventually the oldest could withstand my evil eye and insisted on bugging me, so I moved from ignoring him to threats.
“If you don’t believe, he doesn’t come. You good with that?” This did the trick. It’s been over a decade since anyone around here has darkened my day with such a question. It worked so well that I still haven’t gotten the Santa question from the younger one and he’s away in college.
But then my sister texted me with her children’s questions and my plan of threats and avoidance did not suit her parenting style.
Luckily there’s a better solution for today’s families. Santa can send the kids a personalized video message from the North Pole, easy as Skype. Can you imagine Virginia? Take a look.
As promised Santa addressed my niece, Anna, and said, “Anna I hear you’ve been told to keep your room clean this year.”
Anna eyes widened. Was this a renewed faith in the magic of Christmas we saw in her eyes? How magical that Santa Claus, from the actual North Pole, could confirm via video that he indeed knows if Anna was bad or good! Problems solved right?
All should be right with the world.
But Anna stepped back and with a quivering lower lip, said with dread, “I’m screwed.” Wait. What? Shouldn’t she be filled with wonder and joy?
Actually it was just the opposite.
The idea that Santa really knows wound up being that old school style threat. He sees you when your bad or good!
The video drove the point home.
And just like most turning points in life wonder and joy can come packaged with sheer terror.
So the good news is that there really is a Santa. The bad news is he really keeps a list.