When the older two kids were about three and four, we put some serious thought into how to handle the whole Santa thing. We spoke with families who had gone before us in this decision. We prayed. We discussed for what seems like ages.
We finally made the decision to just be up-front. We wanted to be truthful with them. In our hearts, it was huge to us to make sure that our kids believed us when we told them about Jesus and the Bible. We had a real fear that if we led them to believe in Santa and all the many books there are about him, they would mis-trust us on the bigger issue: Jesus the Savior.
This isn't an issue for every family. We know that. But we had to follow in obedience what God laid on our hearts.
Santa is just a very fun play-pretend. So is the Easter Bunny. And the Tooth-Fairy.
For a couple of years, I seriously think they doubted us. After all, Santa and the Easter Bunny were out there to be seen! How could you fight that kind of visual proof?
Eventually, they settled into acceptance. To our relief, they (so far) have kept this to themselves. They don't go touting to all the kids they know that Santa is make-believe. They rather encourage other children, stating how much fun Santa is. At some point, we did actually talk to them about how some families choose to play this fun game, and that they should respect that and not ruin it for others. Somehow, it clicked.
Despite their knowledge, we still play the Santa game in our own way. The kids look forward to seeing what Santa brought to them on Christmas morning. We tell them, as many other parents do, in the weeks leading up to Christmas that maybe they should ask Santa for this or that or the other.
While Santa remains mostly traditional in our home, the Tooth Fairy is a whole 'nother ball game. When Elizabeth had her teeth pulled due to her trauma back in March, she started a new fad in the Freeman Home. She requested that her Tooth Fairy be Thomas. And so Thomas was the one to replace her two front teeth with two crisp dollar bills. Now the children are all about making future plans as to who will be their Tooth Fairy for each tooth.
It's one of those little things that really makes my heart leap with a special kind of joy.
As for Santa, the kids are busily anticipating his arrival this weekend. I was so afraid of ruining this childhood pleasure for them by being truthful. To our knowledge, it hasn't phased them one little bit.
How does your family handle Santa?