by Lisa Fogarty
If it were up to my husband, my 2-year-old would never hear the name "Santa Claus." Look, I think it's as strange as you probably do, given the fact that the object of his anger is an old man who seems pretty nice and wants nothing more out of life than to give your child lots of cool things in exchange for good behavior.
Before we had our daughter, I never thought much about Santa, but assumed we'd use him to our advantage to get our child to behave like an angel for at least one month prior to the big day. And, of course, I looked forward to showing her all of the holiday movie classics that I loved growing up -- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Miracle on 34th Street, etc. -- none of which would exist if not for St. Nick.
Then I learned from my husband that Santa is a source of evil. And I had no choice but to find a compromise that works for both of us.
So here's his side of the story. He feels that we work extremely hard for our money and that our daughter should grow up understanding the value of that work and appreciating that the things she gets -- especially at Christmas time -- are a result of our strong work ethic. I admire his attitude and definitely agree.
But. And this is a BIG "but." I don't want her to be the only child in her preschool or kindergarten class who doesn't believe in Santa. It strikes me as sad -- like we've already deflated the air from her young creative mind before she's had a chance to explore it fully. I remember that thrilling feeling on Christmas Eve when my mom tucked me into bed and I just knew magic was going to happen overnight. Santa wasn't just about presents. He represented something good in the world that existed for no other reason than because it existed.
Though he can put on a good, crotchety front, my husband loves holiday films and cheesy Christmas tunes as much as the next person and was able to see my point about Santa, as well. So here's how we've compromised: we will give a couple of presents to our daughter and tell her they are "from Santa," but will label the majority of them from mom and dad. If she ever asks questions that lead us to believe she is skeptical about his existence, we will drop the act and tell her the truth.
I can't promise I'll want to live up to that last part of the bargain when she's 4 and questioning how Santa brings us presents when we don't even have a chimney. But I'll try.
Do your young children believe in Santa Claus? Do you ever have second thoughts about telling them about Santa?