In our house Santa Claus is very real.
I know a lot of parents struggle with what they should tell their children about Santa; for some it is a matter of why they celebrate Christmas, for others they worry about lying to their children. I do not have these concerns.
In our house Santa personifies the meaning of Christmas. Santa loves unconditionally, he accepts everyone, and is generous. We never tell our kids to be good or Santa won’t bring a gift, because Santa loves you no matter what. We never tell our children that Santa is only for certain children or certain people because Santa loves and accepts everyone. And Santa is generous. He doesn’t just bring gifts, but he gives his love and time to the whole world.
Some days I regret not being able to threaten a loss of gifts or Christmas events in exchange for good behavior, but it’s a fleeting thought. The other day my mom told my daughter to be good because Santa was watching, and her response was “Santa brings presents even if you aren’t good because Santa loves everyone no matter what.” My heart grew “three sizes that day” to hear her capture the spirit of the holiday so innocently.
It may not be a perfect system, but it works for us.
Someday, it will be time to tell our kids that Santa is not a real person. But in the meantime, Santa is someone who loves our children unconditionally, someone who brings our children joy, and hopefully, he’s someone who teaches them to love others unconditionally as well, a very real lesson we all need to learn over and over again. Even at Christmas.