December Daily Blog Challenge · Pop Up Posts

Pop-Up Post: To Believe

{December Daily Blog Challenge, Day #3: How/when did you find out Santa wasn’t real?}

I never had the “what do you MEAN Santa isn’t real?? My whole life is a lie!” moment that many people recount from their childhood. I just sort of grew out of it. I remember working to hold on to the feeling of believing in Santa, because that delicious sensation of believing something kind of magical and beyond yourself is exciting. But I didn’t have one defining experience where it all crashed around me.

As best as I can tell, this is because my parents never treated Santa like he was literally real. They didn’t do any of the elaborate things many parents do to continue convincing their kids beyond a shadow of a doubt that Santa was a real live person who physically came into our house and left us actual presents. He was always more of an idea, a fun game we played. As teenagers, we were warned that if we said we didn’t believe in Santa we wouldn’t get gifts. This was probably said at least half jokingly, but we didn’t test it either. I’ve sort of taken the same tack  (though possibly pushing even more toward the realism side of the spectrum) with my own children. They know about Santa, and the true story of Saint Nicholas that it comes from. But they also know the presents under the tree are from me and, if they ask whether he exists, I am honest with them.

Tonight my youngest declared that she believes that Santa is real but just doesn’t know where our house is and that’s why he doesn’t leave us presents.

So I guess what I’m saying is no matter what your intentions are, it’s pretty likely you’re going to do a lot of things to mess your kids up. Just try to mess them up in the most well-meaning way you can. They may not thank you for it, but they will probably have slightly fewer therapy bills.

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