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Holidays Unwrapped

Right around the age of eight or nine or sometimes a bit earlier, we all have to have that talk with the kids about Santa. Is he real? How does he fit into the chimney? How the heck can he visit every house in just one night? It’s the “non-truth” that seems okay to tell our kids, but when it’s time to tell the truth on the matter it can be a bit tricky.

Good Housekeeping has some sound advice for parents who have to have the Santa talk with kids and here’s what they recommended. Parent coach MegAnne Ford told GH, “Sometimes, it’s less about when your child is ready and more about when you are ready. We as adults started the story, and it’s our job as adults to finish the story. However, I think as soon as your child starts questioning, it’s time to start the planning process. Think of this as an invitation to decide how your family will view the story of Santa, in your unique way.”

Emily Edlynn, Ph.D. says, “When a child starts asking if Santa Claus is real, most parents I know either say ‘of course,’ or redirect the question to not quite answer it. When a child is satisfied with this, even if they start to have doubts, they may not be ready to stop believing. When a child says something along the lines of, ‘Santa isn’t real, is he?’ it can be useful to reflect the question back to them to figure out why they think that.”

It’s also recommended that instead of believing in Santa, teach your child to be Santa.

Edlynn says, “We then have the child choose someone they know — a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it — and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.”

One good thing to remember when having the Santa talk is this: Christmas is about helping others, giving selflessly and being thankful for what you do have and not what you don’t.