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THE BIG FAT LIE

Advice from a 12-year-old: What to tell your kids about Santa

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Most kids who celebrate Christmas believe in that jolly old fat man named Santa Claus. Santa Claus is the one they all cherish and appreciate when it comes to gifts. But what about their parents? Don’t they want to hear a “thank you” too? I understand Santa Claus puts the magic in Christmas for kids, but Christmas is about more than magic. Christmas is about giving thanks, gratitude, sharing and caring. That’s the real magic of Christmas we should be taught.

I am sure as a parent, you tell everyone something like: “As long as I see the smile on their face, I am happy.” Well, I think it’s OK to want them to say thank you. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to hide it. It’s okay to feel a little jealous of Santa.

You are actually not alone in your feelings. I decided to interview a parent named Francisco, who happens to have a daughter who is 12, on how he felt when she opened her gifts and didn’t thank him but thanked Santa Claus for the gift.

Me: How did you feel when your daughter thought Santa got her the gift and not you and was happy Santa existed and was able to get her the gift she wanted?

Francisco:At first I was okay with it. But then as she got older, it was kind of upsetting because I would work hard for her gift but she didn’t know that. She just thought Santa came into our house and dropped her gift off.

Me: What word would you use to describe how you felt about her not thanking you but Santa and why?

Francisco: Jealous, because I was putting in all the work and Santa was getting all the credit.

Me: What would you recommend to parents to tell their kid(s) about Santa?

Francisco: I think each parent should make their own decision.

Okay, I confess that Francisco is my father. And I feel bad that he was jealous all those years. I don’t want other parents to go through the same thing.

I feel it’s more important to educate your child on the true story of Santa Claus who, while based on many myths, is mostly based on St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas’ parents died while he was still a boy and all of their wealth was passed on to him and he used it for good. The story of St. Nicholas is a great Christmas story for the family or to put your child to sleep at night.

And another idea for parents: You should get your kids the most expensive thing on their list with a little something extra and unexpected. I say this because other family members are going to get them clothes and other unwanted items so it’s the parents/guardian’s responsibility to give the child an amazing Christmas.

So now it is all up to you. You can tell your children whatever you want about Santa—but if I were you, I would tell them the truth. They’ll love you more for it. And for those gifts, too.

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