Christmas, Christmas traditions, Santa, believing in Santa

I used to have some doubts about whether or not letting my children believe in Santa was a good idea. Was it lying? Were they going to be disappointed when they found out he wasn’t real? It turned out we didn’t get a choice. My son was petrified of Santa when he was little and I put a lot of effort into dispelling the myth – to no avail. I couldn’t possibly convince him that Santa was just a normal person in a costume and, no, he wasn’t going to sneak into our home at night while we were sleeping.

My son needed to believe in Christmas magic, even if it scared him. Once I realised that, I relaxed into the myth of Santa. I still have a problem with Santa watching your every move and rewarding you depending on whether you’ve been good bad… It would feel like living in a Big Brother house! But the letters, the secret presents and the anticipation of Santa have become a part of our Christmas.

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Santa engages children’s imagination

Pretend play, magical creatures and imaginary worlds all contribute to developing your child’s creative thinking. There’ll be plenty of time for kids to get grounded in reality and even then being able to imagine something that doesn’t exist is a vital skill to help them come up with creative solutions.

Santa creates memories

Santa is a topic for lively discussions at home long after Christmas is over. The kids discuss where they met Santa, what he looked like and what he gave them, and what they’re going to ask next year. I still have fond memories of Santa from my own childhood (even though he wasn’t called Santa where I grew up).

Santa gives kids magic

Even when kids are scared, they can still experience happiness and excitement, counting down the days, writing their lists and unwrapping their presents. And when everyone else around them is equally thrilled about Santa coming to town, it makes them a part of something bigger.

As for the Santa myth coming to an end, parents are often more disappointed than kids. For kids it’s like a rite of passage – they’ve got it, they’ve figured something out! Often they continue to play along and pretend that they believe in Santa, and magic still happens.

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