I have never really been very into Christmas, and although I’ve never perpetuated my children’s beliefs in Santa, I didn’t hinder them either.
A few years ago, when Gianna was 8, I remember asking her if she believed in Santa and she shrugged and said, “Not really,” but I could tell there was a glimmer of hope in her eye.
I replied, “Well, you know he’s not real.”
I’ve pretty much always told my children this. Not in a malicious way of course, but more matter-of-fact. I may be judged for this and that’s fine. I feel comfortable with my parenting.
Gianna was thoughtful for a moment and then posed a question that came from a very contemplative place, “How do you know he’s not real, Mom? Can you know for sure?”
She was challenging me and of course I had to say, “No, Gigi, I don’t know for sure that he’s not real.”
Now that she’s 11, Gianna still challenges me when I tell her Santa is not real.
However, even though I don’t talk about the mythical Santa Claus to her, I encourage her to entertain the fantastical through stories of other magical creatures in books and from my own imagination.
I don’t tell her that magic is real, but encourage her to take the same approach with these possibilities as she does with Santa. How do we know magic doesn’t exist? We don’t. I like to live my life imagining magic and miracles are real and encourage my children to do the same. I won’t ever tell them what to believe, but instead invite them to discern what they believe from their own experiences.
I’m proud for raising a child who is both realistic and inquisitive, who can entertain the magical and challenge the norm.