The Wonderful Truth About Santa (Episode 178)
It's the week of Christmas, I know Santa is on the minds of many children all over the world! How do you navigate the truth about Santa in your home? When do you actually tell your children the truth about Santa?
Not only do I share about a great little children's book I read with my children, but also some interesting facts and folklore about the history of Christmas below!
The truth about Santa is this...we all have the opportunity to be it...what?
The truth about Santa
Ah, Santa. That wonderful mythical creature full of all kinds of magic and mystery for children. He can be a source of delight, wonder and awe...and a source of gluttony, over-consumerism, or even terror with children imagining a stranger creeping into their homes at night!
You may have come into parenting believing you'll do it just like your parents did. Maybe you have your own new traditions. And maybe, you and your partner grew up with very different Christmas experiences and you're trying to navigate your own.
So what, really, is the truth about Santa Claus, and what do you want to create in your home?
The Folklore and Stories go way back
This was posted by Home Is Where The Heart Is, who has been sharing all kinds of great folklore and helpful tips in our Unschooling Families community on Facebook, and it was fascinating to learn more about:
When you start to look back in history and ancient mythology, it's always fascinating to me how many stories will overlap.
Kickin It Unschool
Our daughters (13, 11 and 8) were hanging out while we went on a walk, and the younger two were begging Clara, our oldest, to play Christmas music. In true "kickin it unschool" fashion, she didn't just say yes, but started asking the girls what they knew about Christmas.
Before we got back from our walk, they'd created two pages of interesting facts about Santa:
I love that they did this on their own and I definitely learned a few new things myself! No, the spelling isn't perfect, and no, I haven't fact-checked every detail on here. What was important to me was that they opted to learn on their own, work together, and were excited to teach us something!
Letting Santa slide
So getting back to the big guy. Yes, Santa can be magical. And yet. I hear the stories. The children who felt they had been lied to. The terror of being placed in some strange big man's lap. Not feeling too good about a guy creeping into your place at night.
While Santa can be magical...be careful to ensure it's truly magical for your kiddo and not just you. We can come into parenting with our own understanding of what is comfortable and safe - yet our children are not us. And they are not living in the same world you did.
For us, we both grew up having Santa as a part of Christmas. For me, it wasn't as much of the focus as the Christian Christmas story, and my parents were a bit lax by the time I came around, as my oldest brother is 10 1/2 years older than I am (my middle brother is 3 1/2 years older). I remember sleeping on my parent's floor (a Christmas tradition where my middle brother and I would crash on their floor on Christmas night for some reason). And I heard all the rustles of Christmas set-up as my father said "ho ho ho" from the living room. I cornered my mother the next day in the bathroom and had her fess up, as she encouraged me to not clue my middle brother in just yet!
My husband Nathan really got into Santa with a daddy who loved creating the reindeer footprints and really getting into the magic of it all. While it was wonderful, Nathan took it hard when he learned the truth about Santa, and felt he'd been lied to.
Now...neither of us have serious trauma around Santa. We don't look back and feel like our parents didn't do it right and we're scarred for it. Yes, there was dissapointment from Nathan and skepticism from me, but we also enjoyed plenty of wonder with it all. And that, my dears, is something I want to stress.
No matter what you've been doing about Santa, there are other ways you could have handled it.
And the way you did may or may not have been the best for you kids.
But if the spirit of love is there, and the desire to make something beautiful for your children...then don't beat yourself up about making it perfect.
And so...take a deep breath. Think about what Santa has been in your house. A positive? A negative? A bone of contention between you and your partner? Think about what you want it to be moving forward, and take these insights as you create the transition into what works for your family moving forward. The truth about Santa is just one of the many things that will change and morph every year as your children and your family grows and shifts through life.
The Wonderful Truth About Santa
Years ago, I stumbled upon this sweet little book that was such a perfect way to explain the biggest message I wanted my children to get out of the story - this was the truth about Santa that I would 100% stand by.
This is a wonderful little book to share with the girls about Santa when they start to question it all. I love that what it highlights is that yes, Santa is real, and it's a name for people who give in secret. The focus isn't in the person, but what being "Santa" is really about.
It's about being secretive because the real gift of giving is the joy it gives to others. It states "Saint Nicholas was the first Santa Clause, but anyone who shares the SPIRIT of the holiday through giving is a Santa".
Please note, we don't do "the talk" with our kids...on anything. Whether that's the birds and the bees (stay tuned in January for more on this subject), or Santa, we don't push for a sit-down formal conversation where we have to cover it all in one sitting and then we're done.
This is organic. This is life. Let your children lead the conversation and answer the questions that come up. Let it be natural and flow through your life. Don't put so much pressure on needing to make it "official", and simply be open with your children. This is one of the best ways to establish a solid trusting relationship with your children. Create space for them to be able to come to you and ask questions anytime - they don't need to make an appointment.
Some additional resources for you
- Check out what the original Saint Nicholas really looked like
- 50 Facts about Santa From Around The World
- Join the Unschooling Families community on Facebook
- Clara's RedBubble Store
- Here Come the Holidays...And Relationship Drama (Episode 27)
- Toxic Relationships...And What To Do About Them (Episode 57)
- Navigating toxic behavior (Episode 176)
- Letting Go Of The Agenda…and Managing Expectations (Episode 148)
- The Burden of Overwhelm – Moving Forward While Always Feeling Behind
- 5 Tips To Focus For Frazzled Families (Episode 160)
Your Weekly Challenge:
Take a moment this week to really stop and pay attention to what Christmas means to you, and what role Santa plays in that.
Maybe you focus in more on the aspects of your religion/faith that has its own story around this season, and you celebrate Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas Mass, Christmas, Kwanza or something else.
Maybe you are focused in on family and togetherness, and simply being together. This may be a time to hold tight to those cherished family traditions, or maybe this is the year to create some new ones, as so much has shifted for us. This may be simply the year of what is, and you're looking at what you want to create moving forward.
That's an amazing thing - you get the opportunity to create your future...today. You aren't stuck or obligated to hold on to what was, and this year has been a biggie for throwing a lot of that out of the window. And that doesn't have to be a bad thing! What do you want Christmas to look and feel like moving forward? You get the power to help create that!
Pull back. Slow down. Be in the present moment. Think long and hard about what you want 2021 to look like. Who are you grateful for this week? Who is in your path that encourages, motivates and challenges you? How can you celebrate them not just on Christmas, but often, whenever you are grateful for them? Recognize the beauty within you, and also how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.