There are many different views on the issue of Santa Claus. I have a friend that explained to her child since the age of 2 that Santa is a mythical character and a symbol of love and generosity during the holidays. But clearly explained that Santa Claus, the reindeer and the North Pole were nothing more than a make believe story. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I know someone whose daughter believed in Santa Claus until she was in seventh grade and her parent did nothing to spoil the fantasy. They figured that you’re only a kid once and you need to hold on to the fantasy as long as possible. You have your whole adult life to deal with reality.
Keep the dream alive, even when they begin to question Santa’s existence. Here’s how:
- Make sure Santa personally answers their letter. Try to put something in the letter that your child thinks no one knows about them.
- At bed time, have your child put a special toy request in a note on the mantle. Tell them that if Santa has an extra one in his sack he’ll give it to you. This works if you have access to a 24 hour store like a Wal-Mart and you don’t mind running out late at night (and spending some extra cash). If you are unable to find the exact item then get something similar and leave a note from Santa explaining why.
- Wrap presents from Santa in their own unique wrapping paper so they stand out from the other presents under the tree.
- Always eat the cookies and milk.
- Always leave carrots for the reindeer and make sure they are gone in the morning.
- I remember the sounds of reindeer landing on the roof and hiding under the covers so Santa would think I was sleeping. The reindeer sounds were my mom and dad tossing stones on the roof.
- Leave boot prints leading from the fireplace to the carpet. Before bed, vacuum the area from the fireplace to the tree, then put on snow boots and walk the area back and forth the boot prints will be visible. If you have hardwood or tile, a dirty boot print or two will do.
- Have Santa call the house. Recruit a friend or relative to call the house as Santa. Before they call, let them know what’s on your child’s Christmas list and let them know a naughty and nice thing your child has done recently. Put their telephone number in your phone’s address book as Santa Claus so it will appear on your caller ID. Have Santa mention the naughty and nice stuff (he’s been watching) and that he has seen your child’s letter/list and is calling to double check it.
- Wear a Santa suit and get caught. Have mom wake the kids saying, “Santa’s here, come look, but don’t let him see you.” Lead them to safe distance and have Santa be lit by only the light of the tree. Some kids can easily spot dad in a Santa Suit so be careful that Santa is well covered with a Santa wig and beard. Quickly usher the kids back to their room so Santa can go back up the chimney or out the door.
- If you are confident they your child no longer believes then tell them that Santa’s spirit lives in all of us during the holidays. It reminds us to be kind, generous and joyful. Even though Santa is not a living person, he is very much alive in our hearts and our actions.
Help keep the dream alive. Some of these tips seem like a bit of effort but it’s worth it to see the wonder and amazement on your children’s faces. When their time comes to no longer believe they will have cherished memories of how their parents loved them so much that they went to such lengths to make them happy.