Georgia recently asked me this and I had to hesitate for a minute to contemplate. It was not that I did not want to disappoint her by telling her that Santa Claus did not exist, it was what I should tell her after I told her the TRUTH that Santa Claus is just a dressed up man.
Before you report me to Social Services for depriving my daughter a wondrous magical childhood, let me explain….
Georgia completely hates Santa Claus, any dressed up real life versions. She does not like the red suit or hat, the jelly belly and his Ho Ho Ho completely freaks her out. To the extent that she would rather not celebrate Christmas and rather not have presents than to have to face Santa Claus.
I must admit that I remember as a child her age, I too postively detested Christmas time for the same reason. Seeing a man with a face full of hair in a large red suit made my chest tight with fear and my heart beat so fast it felt like it would explode.
I was lucky in a sense, I grew up always knowing that Santa Claus was completely make-belief. For as long as I could remember, I always knew the presents came from my parents, although they did try on the Santa Claus story. Perhaps it’s because in Asia, houses don’t have chimneys, to add to the fact that Santa Claus would probably melt in his outfit in 35 degree Celsius temperatures, somehow the Santa story never really added up, but I think more importantly it was never really a big deal for parents to need for their children to believe in Santa.
This is the complete opposite of how Christmas and Santa Claus is portrayed here in the UK. There seems to be a huge need for parents to keep up this make-belief of Santa Claus, and this I don’t really understand. So obviously when I mentioned to some mum-friends that Georgia had asked if ‘Santa Claus was real’ I had everyone’s attention, they all wanted to know what I said.
And my response, I told her the truth (and I nearly got sat on by everyone present!).
The thing is, our parenting policy has always been to be as honest and as truthful as possible. Obviously with her actual disdain of Santa Claus, it was completely pointless to keep up the act that Santa Claus was real especially if it would only worry her more. I did very clearly explain to her that she was not to tell any of her friends as they would be so very disappointed and think that they might not get presents at all.
Did I do the right thing? I like to think so. She knows enough not to tell any of her 4 and 5 year old friends. She is now a little less worried that a strange man in a red suit will visit our house on Christmas eve. Even so, knowing that he is only a dressed up man does not make her any more comfortable about his presence in shopping malls and grottos ( which we obviously don’t go to!).
Will she get presents? Yes most definitely and she will know that the presents are from us and all the family to celebrate a time of giving and sharing, which is what I always think of as the reason for Christmas.
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