Day 354 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012
“Grandma, is Santa real?” my granddaughter Violet (then 5) asked me before last Christmas. What a question to ask of a poor unsuspecting grandmother who was just doing a stint of child-minding for the day!
Please, no questions that are too hard for grandmothers to answer! As I remember the incident, I asked Violet: “Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?” to which she replied “yes Grandma.” So I went on: “well, Santa is a bit like that darling, you have to believe for him to come and give you gifts.”
This satisfied young Violet at the time and Santa happily came but not down the chimney! Maria & Steve had moved the family from Sydney and were staying on the 14th floor of a city apartment building in Brisbane at the time. Violet then became concerned about the logistics of this too. “Will Santa know where we are Grandma?” Oh no, not another question!
And so, another year has gone and I asked Maria how Violet feels about Santa now. It turns out that she is not sure he is real … but I sense doubt in that reply. Alice (11) on the other hand, knows there is no Santa but she is keeping quiet about it. Maybe she realises that she had to keep up appearances for the sake of her younger sister who should enjoy the ‘idea’ of Santa as long as she can.
And with all this in my head, I went shopping for Christmas groceries. You see, I had heard on the news that there is not only ‘road rage’ at the moment, there is also ‘Christmas shopping rage’ as well. I remarked on this to my new-found friends waiting with me at the supermarket check-out and we both laughed about it because we were feeling the spirit of the season and couldn’t understand it.
In the light of this levity I asked them (and the check-out operator) what they would answer to the question: “Grandma is Santa Real?” The Check-out operator said that she had told her children: “Well, if you don’t believe in Santa I don’t think there will be any presents for you this year.” They never mentioned Santa after that! It is not my way but then again each of us handles the question the best way we know how.
In fact, I have FRIENDS who do not believe in Santa Claus. He never factors in their Christmas talk and all the gifts come directly from Mum and Dad. Santa doesn’t get a mention. He doesn’t have a chance to be left beer or goodies to sustain him or even carrots for his reindeer. It’s a sad old business when adults don’t believe in Santa Claus isn’t it?
However, their kids have not been at all “Santa deprived” as we might think they would be! I suppose it just depends on different personality types and whether or not you allow the fantasy of Santa into your children’s lives, doesn’t it? For me, it has always been about fun, mystery and make-believe like something magical such as you find in story books.
As long as it does no harm, I have no problem with the idea of Santa for little children. Of course, I do believe that children should know that it is really the birth of the baby Jesus into the world and as long as that is made the priority, the idea of Santa doesn’t matter one jot.
I began writing on this topic because it was cause for discussion on the radio this morning. My Google search turned up plenty of blogs where the children were asking their mothers: “Mum, is Santa real?” don’t you just feel for the (mostly) mothers who are asked such a question? But they all had a different way of handling it however, one mother wrote:
“To me the true magic of Christmas disappears once you know Santa is not real, because until then you are breathless with excitement at the thought of his appearance, you can’t wait to leave out the beer and carrots, and each year you will try to stay awake to catch a glimpse of him …” www.mouthsofmums.com.au/is-santa-real-mum
This mother opted to keep the magic alive for a bit longer but a parenting website I visited said you might need to ‘fess up if your child is a “tween.” This may be a good opportunity to explain about St. Nicholas, the forerunner of Santa, and to explain how the legend grew. I like this idea and I liked how they concluded too: tweenparenting.about.com/SantaandTweens
“Even adults understand that there is some magic to the legend of Santa Clause and that magic can’t always be explained. How many sour hearts have been turned sweet by the inspiration of The Jolly Old Elf? Is that not magic? Is it not real?
How has his legend managed to survive from generation to generation? And for generations to come? Reality is often about perspective. If your child understands that belief and faith are choices we all make, she may choose to believe in something even greater and enduring.”
Therefore spare a thought this week for the parents (or grandparents) out there who are asked that dreaded question: “Is Santa real?” That question will be reverberating all around the world before Dec 15th comes upon us. Good luck with the answer. And in conclusion, consider this:
“Your child may no longer look for reindeer on Christmas Eve, but they might be ready to embrace the spirit of Santa Clause in a different way, and spread the joy of giving in their own special way. Helping them do so guarantees that in their hearts, Santa will live forever, and is, in fact, very real.”