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Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Stress - Part 5 - Who is Santa?

How do parents tell their kids that Santa isn't real?  I think this is a case where it's possible to worry a little too much.  Of course Santa isn't real.  Neither is Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer or the Grinch.  To a very small child, these characters probably seem real.  This is normal.  Developmentally, they haven't yet learned how to distinguish between imaginary and real.  Just wait a few years and they'll figure it out for themselves just like they figured out that Spiderman and Big Bird aren't real.  They won't be scarred for life.  It's part of the growing up process. 

Something you can do is treat Santa like the holiday figure that he represents.  When you are at the mall with your kids, you can point to him and say, "Oh, look, there's a Santa" (emphasis on the a) just like you might say, "Look, there's a Christmas tree!"  Make Santa part of the holiday experience if you wish but don't overpersonalize him. 

A couple of my kids had a different problem when it came to Santa.  They were really bothered by the idea that a strange man with a white beard and red suit would watch them while they were sleeping and would (basically) break into our home.  Never mind that Santa was supposed to bring them presents, they didn't want anything to do with him.  I had no problem reassuring them that Santa was not a real person and that he wouldn't be coming down our chimney or peek in on their sleep.

All children are different.   Take your cues from them.  If they're afraid of Santa, don't push them.  If they ask if he's real, they're old enough to be answered truthfully.  Remind them though that Santa Claus represents kindness and giving and those are some of the things we should be focusing on during the Christmas season.  They'll be ok.

PS...My mom still signs her Christmas gifts to me as From Santa  :)


  1. Yet another awesome post! I've just gotta say your mom is so awesome! :-)

    1. I hope I didn't shatter your dreams by telling you that Santa isn't real! :)

  2. I guess I can say that I'm the only white-shirted Santa Claus in history...

    1. and the only one without a belly and without a beard and without reindeer and...