This is our kids’ third Christmas with us, and during the first one, BE asked us if Santa was real. We had already planned to downplay Santa, so I did the unthinkable. I said, “no, he’s not.” Ever since then, the kids have known the truth about Santa. (Don’t worry, I’ve strictly warned them not to tell the other kids!) Now, we haven’t completely killed Christmas, but we’re trying to find a balance between honesty and harshness. So it’s become clear to me that I’m just like Doris Walker.
Doris is the character played by Maureen O’Hara in “Miracle on 34th Street.” I’m sure everyone has seen it, but just in case you haven’t – Doris is the mother of 6-year-old Susan whom shehas raised on the absolute truth. Not only does Susan not believe in Santa Claus, but she’s older than her years. She rejects fairy tales and make believe – she has no faith in anything that can’t be proven.
Now, Doris and I differ in our reasons for “outing” Santa Claus. Doris’ husband (Susan’s father) left her and Doris never recovered. She lost her belief in love and anything else less than rational. And, she determined that her daughter would never have her heart broken in the same way.
I clearly don’t have Doris’ problem, and I don’t condemn anyone who chooses to make Santa a part of their holiday tradition. It’s not the only way, but it is my way to help the kids to understand the true meaning of Christmas. But, I also want them to have fun and enjoy being kids. That’s why, although I may have “outed” Santa, I do try to find a balance. I still encourage them to imagine, play, and have faith in things that can’t be seen. And unlike Doris, I try not to be limited by bitterness and anger.