Hubs was the one who insisted on answering questions traditionally. He wanted them to get into it full force. I went along with it as much as I could without lying.
When the questions came I would tell them that it was all done in Santa’s ‘spirit’ of love and giving.
This was the magic of the story in our house. It opened up very long dialogues on how Santa represents the entire point of taking time to give to others. If Santa has helpers, it is because we all learn the lesson and pass it on. When the children became old enough to start questioning things, that meant they were old enough to accept this responsibility. We made it a big deal.
So gifts from Santa were not from a stranger who gave stuff to my kids randomly. The majority of gifts came from the parents, with only a few items from Santa. We agreed that if they thought gifts came from us, they would appreciate them more.
From then on I had them very involved in the charitable activities we engaged in.
- shovelling other people’s driveways,
- filling up the bird feeders,
- picking up garbage,
- donating needed items to the local shelter and animal shelter,
- food drives,
- saying thank you to any veterans they identify,
- picking out their own toys to donate so other kids could enjoy them too.
They accepted that because they were responsible enough, they must deal with these important tasks. From a very young age this made more sense to my kids than the myth.
Plus, they didn’t have to hear that Santa was not real so their parents couldn’t be trusted, and neither could any adults for that matter. They didn’t feel that sadness that I felt.
In a way, it was more of a game for my kids. They didn’t miss out on the cookies, stories, suspense and surprise Christmas morning. They loved every part of it.
I think this is one of the reasons my kids are such responsible, helpful and considerate people. They began giving of themselves very early.
As big kids, they still enjoy playing up the part about stockings and leaving cookies out.
And my conscience is clear.