As parents, there is no greater joy than seeing our children when they wake up Christmas morning. The house becomes so alive with the excitement of hearing our children scream “Santa has been here”.
But as our kids grow we know that the day will come when they start to question whether Santa is real. It’s a challenge parents of every generation have had to face. Making this transition is emotional for our kids and for us! So, it’s worth thinking about what we’ll say when the questions start.
When To Expect the Question – “Are you Santa?”
Of course, there is no set age when a child will start to question the existence of Santa, but here are some signs when you might expect them to start doubting…
- They have older siblings who might be less excited about Santa.
- As they advance into higher grades in primary school.
- They question how Santa can do what he does…all on one night.
- When some of their friends stop believing.
First, Be Honest
Coming to understand that Santa Claus isn’t real can be crushing news for a child to hear. Expect some tears or quiet reflection. Still, there’s a lot you can do to provide comfort and demonstrate that it’s the love we give each other that is most important, and not the presents wrapped under the tree.
A Beautiful Letter Explaining Santa
If you are looking for one way to answer your child’s question “IS SANTA REAL?” this letter from acclaimed American author Martha Brockenbrough may just be the trick. She wrote this letter back in 2009 in reply to her daughter’s note to her where she wrote (in caps to emphasize her point): “I NEED TO KNOW, ARE YOU SANTA? TELL ME THE TRUTH.”
Can you imagine Martha’s reaction after receiving this note from her daughter? A note like the one Martha’s daughter wrote deserves a thoughtful reply. It’s our great fortune that Martha Brockenbrough was up to the challenge.
Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?” I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.
Taking Our Cues from our Kids
I hope, like me, you love this letter and reflect on its message. I love it for so many reasons. So let’s take cues from our children. And, let’s stay honest as we help them understand the magic of Santa and the holiday season.