We are a Santa family. So there you go. I think I've finally given up the battle in my own head about how to talk to Levi about the whole thing. I dabbled with coming clean about it all, looking up ways to explain it in connection to different folktales etc but generally speaking, we have just decided to let him lead the conversation about it and often just ask his own questions back to him when he ponders the reality of it all - allow him to come to his own conclusions (How do YOU think he get's down the chimney, Levi?). The thing is, he is only four, and already he can sniff that the whole thing isn't totally real.
No doubt he's our child.
I guess I just remember the magical stuff about Santa and Christmas as a child - the excitement, the wonder and the anticipation. With all the rubbish stuff going on in the world today, I'm happy to let the magic win over ethics on this one - there will be plenty of time for hard truths and dispelling myths, so on this one, the magic stays. In saying that, we do have a couple of guidelines around the whole topic to help ground things down and not get carried away:
+ We don't ever use Santa as a threat - he is not watching, he doesn't take gifts away, he is not a demi-god.
+ There is no naughty/bad or nice/good list. Santa doesn't have favourites and he thinks every child is amazing. Levi took a lot of convincing about this one because his favourite song right now is 'Santa Claus is coming to town' and IT SAYS HE'S GONNA FIND OUT WHO'S NAUGHTY OR NICE. What a weirdo song if you really listen... (if you're gonna listen despite the promise that he sees you when you're sleeping, Bruce Springsteen's version is actually pretty great).
+ We don't conflate the Santa story with the Christmas story - There are no elves at the manger, and Santa did not bring the baby Jesus presents. You may laugh, but I have heard otherwise very sensible parents get into a right mess with this one!
+ Following on from that - no big elaborate stories about Santa from us. The story comes alive how he sees it, and we stay out of embellishing and hyping things up.
+ Santa only gives a small gift to each child. I read this thing online about how detrimental it can be to have 'Santa' give these extravagant gifts to some children (from well-off families) and very little to others (from families who struggle), and we don't want to contribute to anyone feeling less-than or excluded so Santa gives small realistic presents in our house - anything else is clearly from us or other family members.
It's a minefield isn't it?
Tell me then - what does the Santa/Father Christmas story go like with your kids? Have you had any tricky questions or felt uneasy about the whole thing at all? Leave a comment here or on the facebook page and let's chat more!