I Believe



I'll make this brief.  I wasn't going to post at all today, but today of all day's this needs to be said.

This is the first year our youngest son entered the holiday season conflicted.  Everywhere he turned, his schoolmates, the media, even his own innate intelligence was telling him that Santa Claus wasn't real.  But you could tell that deep down he didn't want it to be true.  He didn't want to face the fact that his parents had in fact been lying to him all these years, playing an elaborate shell game designed to pull the wool over his eyes.  I could tell he preferred to think that there was indeed magic in the world.

Things came to a head last week when we were discussing his present list and made mention that Santa might possibly bring him a couple of them.  His face turned all serious, he set his jaw, and then he said, "There's no such thing as Santa Claus.  Why don't you just admit you're Santa?"

My wife looked at me and I could tell she was psychically asking me, "Do you want to handle this one?"

I didn't miss a beat.  I looked him squarely in the eye and said, "Son, I think its time you learned something.  This world is filled with people who believe different things.  There are people who believe in ghosts...a lot who don't...and those who just don't know.  There are people who believe in little green men from outer space....those who don't...and those who aren't sure.  There are even people who believe in God....those who don't...and many who aren't sure what to believe.  You have to make up your own mind about what you believe in, and that includes Santa Claus.  And those beliefs are yours and yours alone, and you don't need to justify them to anybody.  I can only tell you two things...one, that I believe 100% in the spirit of Santa Claus...and two, that people who believe in Santa get more presents than those who don't.  Time to make up your own mind."

He went away satisfied, and more at ease.

What about you?  Do you believe?

Merry Christmas!
 

40 comments

  1. What a great way to handle that! I don't believe in Santa any more but I do believe in the spirit of Christmas, the idea of giving without any expectation of return.

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  2. This post brought tears to my eyes. Our ten year old sons are on the fence about this, and have asked more questions this year than any before. I know they want to believe.

    Hubby and I have prepared for the moment of truth, but I'm going to have him read your post. Why not let them believe as long as they're willing?

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. And don't forget to track Santa on Norad!

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  3. Not sure I'd do santa with my kiddos (when i have them). When I found out the truth I felt like someone died. Some friends of mine don't do santa with their kids, and seeing their 8 year old son's perspective on it really changed MY perspective. He's really upset that all of his friend's parents are lying to their kids, and he's confused that they pay money to have them sit on a strangers lap in the mall for pictures. hahaha.
    I certainly agree that the spirit of St. Nick is definitely one that needs to be taught and practiced. Well handled--I'm sure that's a toughy! (Though probably not quite as bad as "dad, where do babies come from?" ;)

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  4. people who believe in Santa get more presents than those who don't

    I'll be sure to tell Monster Baby you said so...

    Merry Merry Christmas, Don.

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  5. You gave him the perfect answer! My 9 year old is questioning, in subtle ways. I was in 1st grade when I figured it out. I thought I was brilliant for catching Dad in the act.

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  6. You handled that well, Dad!
    I was nine when I discovered the truth. I mentioned Santa's visit at school and my classmates teased me without mercy for still believing in Santa. I remember being angry with my parents for lying to me. Glad your son's experience was much more positive.
    Merry Christmas, DL!

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  7. Wow. What a great way to handle a tough question. I think your answer will stick with me for a long time. Sometimes it's more fun believing in magic.

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  8. I never had to go through this when I was a kid. My parents did the whole santa thing with my oldest sister, but it didn't turn out that great. After her, they decided they wanted the rest of us to focus on the real reason behind Christmas.

    I really appreciated the fact they did that for me. I know it's fun for parents and kids alike to do the santa thing, but it's not for me.

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  9. Oh, that's a sweet post. We decided to tell our kids that there wasn't a Santa, but were people who are selfless enough to help others. It worked well, except out youngest kid chooses to believe in Santa no matter what, lol!

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  10. Love it - the spirit of Santa is the most important part! :)

    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family! :)

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  11. I believe in Christmas magic, what else can bring families so close together when most of the year they spend it apart. great post DL

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  12. Absolutely I believe!!! Always have, always will. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  13. I still write "Love, Santa" on the tags of gifts to my wife.
    Merry Christmas!

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  14. I think it's wonderful what you told your son! Absolutely beautiful.

    I remember: The Christmas of 1952, I was twelve, and I still believed in the Santa Claus of the red suit. I have several friends who also believed this for a long time, too. I'm SO glad I did. It was fun. I have wonderful memories of Christmas Eves when I felt the "magic" of a man flying through the air with his reindeer, and of my younger sister and I putting cookies on a plate that we knew Santa ate when he came to our house because the cookies were gone in the morning!!!

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  15. I think you handled it perfectly! I don't think I ever really believed in Santa, but the spirit of Christmas: Yes, absolutely.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

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  16. Good answer! I'm filing that away for when I have kids!

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  17. I happen to be watching "Miracle on 34th Street" and am compelled to say YES, I believe!

    In second grade, Jimmy Connor declared that there was no Santa Claus. Several of us girls 'jumped' on him and let him have it.

    Life was never the same after that. Your son is lucky to have such a wonderful and understanding father.

    Merry Christmas, Olivia

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  18. I remember when my daughter started questioning Santa. I asked her "Don't you want to believe anymore? Santa doesn't come to non believers." She quickly told me she believed!

    I think Santa is probably just as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids. I was certainly into Christmas more when they believed in the fairy tale.

    Merry Christmas!!

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  19. My brother and sister ruined Santa by telling me the truth when I was just 6! Bummer. But I love the way you answered him, very nicely done!

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  20. Yesterday my 12 year old asked me when I stopped believing in Santa. I told him I didn't stop believing so much as I stopped waiting around for him to appear.

    I believe in magic and mystery. Who knows . .

    ......dhole

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  21. Oh I believe in the spirit of Santa and I believe you handled that beautifully with your son. Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  22. That was a great answer! I'll have to remember that to use with my middle child. My oldest knows the truth, but she's one who believes in the spirit of Santa so she hasn't told the little ones.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  23. I believe in Christmas. And God. And good people.

    Merry Christmas!

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  24. You are a rock star!!!!!You handled that beautifully. My daughter is 14 and Santa still comes to our house each year. He always brings everyone a box of cereal (sugary), a chocolate orange, and a stocking full of goodies...and a few surprises for everyone. She knows (me too) but we love the feeling that it takes us back too.

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  25. We decided to tell our kids that Santa was a Christmas clown. I didn't want to lie to my children about anything, and even though it's all in fun, etc, it's still a lie. I wanted my kids to believe me when I told them the truth, not go, yeah but what about that Santa lie... Still I didn't want to rob them of the joy of Santa in our cultural traditions. For our family, we do believe in God and that is the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

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  26. what a beautiful post! brought tears to my eyes! I love the magic, I love Christmas! I believe!

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  27. Awww....I love this! What beautiful words to share with your son. You gave him a beautiful gift. I hope he holds on to the magic!

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  28. Awww, great post and terrific answer to the thing that brings terror into the hearts of parents everywhere.

    My ten-year-old daughter stopped believing this year, and I'm so proud of my teenage son for never ruining the magic for her.

    Wishing you and yours a prosperous 2011!

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  29. Man, you answered that so well. where were you about 5 years ago? *sigh*

    Well done.

    And I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a radiant 2011.

    Love,
    Lola

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  30. You're a masterful dad, Don - well done! I think that was a really open-minded, diplomatic way to teach your son that no one has the right to tell you what to believe. I was never a Santa kid myself, but I'm very big on the spirit of Christmas and on karma. Love this post. Hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday :)

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  31. Beautiful post. I couldn't agree more about the spirit of Santa. After all, St. Nick was at one time a very real and very generous person. It's in honoring that tradition that the spirit of Santa lives on. Well handled. I remember breaking the news to my son a few years back...he took things quite well and understood our reasons for doing so.

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  32. Awww, I think THIS POST just made me tear up a little. Okay, I'll admit it, it really did!!!

    I believe, like you, 100% in the spirit of Santa Claus and that this tiny lesson for kids has big life-size impact! What a great family moment...thanks so much for sharing!

    Sending you holiday hugs from NC!

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  33. oh wow, how perfect! I feel 100% the same exact way and I don't think I could have said it any better. Thanks for this- I know I'll probably be having the same conversation at some point...three times over. i'd like to hold it off for as long as I can though...

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  34. I love this story! I had a similar situation with my son - he finally cornered me and said so seriously, "Mom, I have to know the truth because I can't go on believing if the kids at school are telling the truth and you are not!" I wish I could recall what I said in response, but I can't... Your answer is a real treasure.

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  35. I'm divided on the whole Santa thing. On one hand, when I was little, I believed in Santa. He used to come to the family Christmas Eve party and pass out presents everyone had brought. Even once I figured out it was just one of the relatives dressed up, I considered it a game to see how fast I could figure out who was missing. It was just something fun.

    On the other hand, Christmas is not my holiday (I'm not Christian); my gift giving holiday is in a couple months. My son wholly believes in Santa and Rudolph. I don't want to strip magic from him when it didn't harm me at his age, but it makes me uncomfortable that he's getting so sucked into it. And I don't know for sure how much of the discomfort is because of the holiday confusion and how much is that he's at an age when he doesn't quite comprehend the difference between reality and fiction. He knows cartoons are make believe, but he believes that the Imagination Movers and their warehouse are real. Sigh. And commercials.

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  36. Damn DL, that's effing GREAT parenting right there. I wish all dads in the world were like you. Incredibly beautiful lesson for the holidays, thanks for that!

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  37. the people who believe in Santa get more presents! AWESOME! Loved your inspired explanation.

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  38. I can really relate to your Santa Story. I have two young kids and and two daughters (13) & (14)who have basically ruined the Spirit of believing for the little ones. I handled it quite like you did. I also added that life is best when we believe in Santa and that once we stop (for whatever reason) the magic disappears. My little ones have chosen to continue with the magical feeling of Christmas

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  39. I totally believe! My son was at that same stage this year... my problem came when the one 'Santa' present I got was something he already had (my kid has way too many Legos). That was a little tricky to get out of, but I managed to pull it off with a little quick improv :~)

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