Thursday, December 4, 2008

How detailed must one get when describing Santa's magic to kids?

My girls have started asking questions about Santa. They're good, appropriate questions, and I find myself woefully unprepared to answer. To be honest, I feel guilty about lying to my girls about Santa all together. I have a good friend who grew up with parents who told them the truth about Santa from the start. Their reasoning was sound, because they figured lieing to young children, especially during the Christmas season when we're supposed to be celebrating Christ''s birth, makes liers of us all and could possibly taint a child from believing in Christ as they get older. I used to think that was silly, but now that I'm a parent, I really respect that logic.

But still ... it's Christmas! I love Santa and the Santa-visit tradition. I just don't know how to answer their questions. And it's not like you're telling one lie; you find yourself making up a whole bunch of stories to explain Santa. And I am perhaps the world's worst lier. It's pretty easy to tell when I lie, because my face turns red, my lips curl up into a smile, and I break down with the truth. Nevertheless, I am persevering the best I can.

Lilia: "How does Santa know when we're naughty or nice?"
Me: "He's got a naughty-or-nice meter for all the kids in the world, and when you do good things, it tips to good, and when you do bad, it tips to bad."

Lissy: "Is Santa magic, and so he can make the reindeer fly?"
Me: "Oh yes."

Lissy: "How will Santa come to our house? We don't have a chimney."
Me: "I just keep the door unlocked that night."

And then you have competing renditions of Santa in television and movies. Lilia has asked me which one is the true-true story. Honey, you have to pray to find out for yourself which one is true.



Hannah Christenson said...

When I was a kid, my mom at first would tell us about Santa, that he delivered presents, ate our cookies, filled our stockings, and all that jazz. Santa was like my hero, he seamed like a pretty neat guy, mostly because he gave me gifts. I would always try to stay up on Christmas Eve to see how Santa would get into our house, we didn't have a chimney and that concerned me a great deal, but I always fell asleep.
As I got a bit older, my mom changed her story gradually. She now told us that they (my parents) were like Santa's helpers, and that's why they bought us presents and knew if we were good or not. That was a little confusing, because I learned on the T.V. that Santa's helpers were very small and wore red and green 24/7. But my mom told me that anyone could be Santa's helpers, even regular people, because Santa has a hard time getting to everyone in the whole world in one night, so he needs helpers all over the world to help, not just in the North Pole.
My mom changed her story a little here and there, and eventually, the story was that at Christmas time, everyone is like Santa in that we give, help and care about each other, which also made us like Christ.
So then it wasn't about presents anymore, it wasn't about greedy kids fighting over stocking candy, or disappointment because you got underwear instead of a barbie. It was now about giving. About being kinda like Santa, or the Idea of Santa. But more importantly, we were behaving more Christlike.
So anyways, I hope that wasn't just an awesome story, hopefully it helped you a bit. Somehow.

Morkthefied said...

Hannah, you helped set my mind at ease. Your story helps me view Santa as a Christ-type. He is helping lead children to understand about giving and receiving and loving others, which will eventually lead them to the Savior, the giver of all. Good thoughts this holiday season.

MarySquare said...

Hannah, (if you're still reading the comments) I like that idea, gradually shifting the focus of Santa as the child's understanding grows.

We had the ward Christmas party tonight and Minnie was so excited to see Santa -- but when he showed up she freaked out and hid on my and Hans' shoulders the whole time. She wouldn't even shake his hand.

Hannah Christenson said...

Thanks ya'll, sorry my first comment was super long! Have a wonderful Christmas time!! Love you guys!