As parents, we teach our children the importance of telling the truth. And then at Christmas we tell them that a fat bloke in a red suit squeezes down the chimney to leave us presents that he and his elves knocked up in their Lapland workshop. And when that first tooth falls out, we explain how a fairy collects them (who knows what for – a giant necklace?) and leaves money as a thank you.
Kids love it! And, truth be told, so do we. As adults, we get to enjoy the magic all over again. Most of us grew up believing this nonsense, and weren’t permanently scarred when we discovered our parents’ deception. Let children enjoy the make-believe world while they can – real life is waiting just around the corner!
It gets harder to keep the faith as children grow and start looking for rational answers:
- ‘We don’t have a chimney, how will Santa get in?’ (‘We leave a window open.’)
- ‘Why is this gift labelled “love from Granny”? Doesn’t Father Christmas bring the presents?’ (‘He brings your stocking presents; friends and family give the rest.’)
- ‘How come Santa has the same wrapping paper as you, Mum?’ (Make sure you have a stash just for stocking presents.)
- ‘Why is there a Santa in every shop?’ (‘The grotto Santas are pretend. The real one is busy getting ready for the big night.’)
- ‘Why does the Tooth Fairy leave more money for my friend?’ (‘It depends how big the tooth is. And sometimes, if she’s had a busy time of it, she runs short of money. It’s the thought that counts…’)
But for some questions (‘How does Santa visit every child on one night?’) there are no answers. You’ll just have to resort to that great parental stand-by: ‘No one knows – it’s all part of the magic!’
Breaking the news
Most children stop believing in all things magical at around eight. They might have had their suspicions for a while, but many are happy to play along with the conspiracy.
Be guided by your child. If she asks questions, you could begin by saying that, yes, it is far-fetched, as no one has ever seen these characters, but let her draw her own conclusions.
What do you think?
Should you tell your children the truth, or are you happy to buy into the fantasy? What did you do?