I grew up completely sold on the idea that Santa and his magical powers gave every child exactly what their hearts desired every year on Christmas. My husband didn't believe. As a child he knew Santa was a lie.
When we had children this became quite the debate considering one of us wanted to raise believers and one of us wanted to be honest. Neither approach is necessarily wrong, but what about the fact that one of these routes is based on perpetuating a lie and eventually coming clean only to disappoint a child?
As I grew up, I wholeheartlessly believed in Santa Claus and was crushed come fourth grade when bright-eyed Kim said "you know since Santa isn't real I just ask for money!" She crushed me. My heart stopped. My mind raced and I stood there trying to hide this feeling of complete and utter disappointment.
Santa was a big fat lie!
And yet I'm grateful for the years of joy this lie provided. My mother and older siblings truly outdid themselves year after year so I'd believe in Christmas magic courtesy of the North Pole, Santa Claus and a bunch of jolly old elves. Every year this childhood fairytale was thoughtful and heartfelt from the writing and mailing of "Dear Santa" letters to visiting Santa at the mall and eventually hearing his sleigh bells at the stroke of midnight when gifts arrived every Christmas Eve.
So crushing Kim dropped a bomb and I was sad to hear Santa Claus was a fake, but I was also a 4th grader who suddenly looked back on the years of magic created not by Santa but by a loving and imaginative family.
My husband (and even his family) have decided to enlist in the idea of Santa Claus "existing" for our children. Sure, at first they acted awkward and tentative, but a few Christmases in and "Santa" leaving gifts for three adorably ecstatic children has really grown to mean so much to everyone involved. Soon enough our children will grow up and we'll come clean as gently as possible, but until then, jolly St. Nick is a part of our family's Christmas tradition.
Do your children believe in Santa? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section below!