I've moved! Visit my new site.

Momsoap is movin' on up, to a real dot com! Visit my new site at: http://www.momsoap.com Please visit my new site and re-subscribe if you like my writing. I hope to see you all there!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas, lies, and Santa stories

I apparently hit some nerves with my recent post about changing my mind on the topic of Santa.

I posted this on the API Speaks website where I am a contributing blogger and I got a link back from another site talking about how she never lied to her daughter and is glad for it (even though her daughter told her she wished her parents had not told her the truth). I also got several comments that said they didn't agree with me. Not surprising. It wasn't long ago that one of those comments would have been written by me. 

I suppose I should have been more specific about what I plan to tell Annika. I wasn't specific purposely because I have only recently had this change of heart and I don't know exactly what I'll tell her.

Generally, (since I know myself and my propensity for research and details) I will likely tell her the historical viewpoint of Santa and Christmas. I will talk to her about  what other cultures believe. I will read varying Christmas books to her and find classic Christmas videos to watch with her.

And then with a sense of mystery that engages her creativity and magical spirit, I will tell her that Santa that is real but I will do so in a way that helps her realize that he is magical and that he is not real in the sense that we are real.

Many parenting booksI've read talk about how play and fantasy are important to childhood development. It makes sense. Play acting and fantasy are how children relieve stress and work through issues that are too complex to understand.

To me the Santa fantasy is a good idea because it encourages the childhood version of the idea that sometimes dreams do come true and even though something seems impossible, doesn't mean it isn't true.

I remember not only believing in Santa and loving the mystery, I also remember fantasizing about unicorns, witches, elves, and being able to fly.

One of the reasons I changed my mind about Santa is because I have read plenty of parenting books that have made me realize that adults too often treat children as small adults. Many parents I've run into seem to think that children should understand everything the way they do.

But children aren't small adults who have come to understand the world through mature and experienced eyes. Children are still learning about the world. Fantasy helps them understand and learn what the world is like without it being too harsh and practical.

For instance, what does the Santa fantasy help them understand?

A place where the possibilities they have been dreaming of can come to fruition. A deep and unconditional love for all human beings. Flying reindeer.... oh wait.

Maybe some kids don't need that particular fantasy. All parents have to make that decision for their families.

But fantasy and magic are a part of our world, even if some adults have forgotten it.

Hell, a little part of me still believes in unicorns.


  1. It's so sad that unicorns went extinct.

  2. No they haven't Pat, see the picture? LOL

  3. I agree with magic/fantasy take on Santa. I have awful memories of learning that Santa wasn't "real" but I've also never thought it was a good idea to forego Santa altogether. If Santa is "magic," then he is capable of things that are far-fetched and unexplainable and the fantasy factor of magic eventually becomes evident to kids without seeming like a cleverly crafted lie. I also like to think of Santa as a part of Christmas rather than the driving force behind Christmas. That way, when the truth comes out it doesn’t seem like Christmas has died.

  4. I agree Elizabeth. I don't want Santa to be the driving force behind Christmas either. I used to think I'd just play Santa down all the way. Now I think I'll just make him a side story. :)


Hey! Momsoap has moved. Please comment on http://www.momsoap.com. It'll help me transition and your comments will be forever linked to the post. Thanks for being a loyal reader. Psst, you're my favorite. Don't tell the others. ;)