As Xmas is quickly approaching, I’ve noticed a lot of conversations regarding ways to reduce holiday stress, i.e decorations, hosting parties/ dinners, gifts, gifts, and more gifts. Among these discussions, I have also seen mentions of parents who have ruined Xmas for their children by revealing that “Santa Claus is not real!”
Some parents choose to build and maintain the ruse of Santa to stick with the norms of society, only breaking the ‘traiditon’ when it is no longer socially acceptable for their children to believe in him. For the parents that choose to tell the truth early on, they receive backlash and criticism from every corner of the internet.
From an early age, I was taught that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc. were just tools to create excitement around holidays and hold onto childhood innocence. This is not a bad thing. I am all for keeping our children innocent for as long as humanly possible; because in this day and age, they are growing up way to fast and being exposed to the harsh realities of life before they are old enough to properly handle it. But on the other hand, why is it okay to continue lying to our children on such a grand scale?
I read an article from mindful.org titled The Holiday Lies We Tell Our Children (12/6/2016) and it explained that these ‘characters’ aren’t lies because communication isn’t black and white. I agree with this statement to a certain extent. Parents don’t intend to lie to their children by passing down traditions and stories that were passed down to them. We also don’t see them as lies because society keeps up the ruse for us. I mean, there are hardworking individuals dressed as Santa in every mall to take pictures with; dressed as the Easter Bunny for parties & egg hunts; and how many parents sneak teeth from under their kid(s) pillow to replace it with money or small toys to keep up the charade?
The article goes on to say that allowing kids to come to the conclusion that Santa, the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny aren’t real on their own is a right of passage; which means that they’ve now stepped into the adult realm of thinking and can now assist with keeping the ruse alive for younger siblings, etc. This idea is great in theory, but what happens if your kid finds out these ‘holiday heroes’ aren’t real and it completely shatters their sense of identity? How do you help them work through that?
And for the families who can’t purchase tons of gifts — do they explain why Santa couldn’t get everything/anything on their list (another lie to cover up the original lie) or do they skip bills, borrow money from others, steal, etc. to ensure their kid(s) get the same Xmas as all the other kids at school — who will inevitably share and compare gifts when school resumes?
Continuing this ‘scam’ just makes thing worse in the end, for all parties involved (in my opinion). The children grow up to be fragile adults with trust issues who become estranged from their parents. An extreme example, I know; but why risk the possibility? Not to mention that you’re giving credit to someone else for your hardwork.
I’m the one who worked my ass off to buy these gifts; I’m the one who stayed up until you were in a deep enough sleep to trade your teeny-tiny baby tooth for a dollar coin or some other little trinket; I’m the one who painstakingly filled the little eggs with candy and toys and then carefully placed said eggs in just-out-of-sight spots to make the hunt fun but not obvious. If that makes me a bad mom, then I embrace that title with all my heart. My kids will not fall for the hype, but I promise to keep my kids from shattering your kids fake reality.
Until next time,