QUESTION:

How old is too old to believe in Santa? (Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Etc.) Do we tell them the truth before they hear it from other kids? My daughter is in 5th grade and still believes.

MY PERSPECTIVE:

Honestly, I still believe in Santa. In my mind, Santa is truly the Spirit of Fun and Giving at Christmastime.  In fact, once I had children, Christmas seemed even more exciting to me when they began to understand and believe in the story of Santa Claus. I mean the belief that this person generously gives to others expecting nothing in return except the hope that we will choose good behaviors…brilliant!

I want my children to believe in the Spirit of Giving and Fun, so is there ever a specific time to call it a belief and not an actual living, breathing person? I don’t think so.

I believe that is a personal decision for all parents that is determined by when it feels right for them and their situation. The reality is they will find out, at some point, so how do you want to structure your response for when they do, whether you are the one telling them or not?

Now is the time to determine what you want them to walk away understanding, including an explanation of why the “secret” of Santa’s (or the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, etc) non physical identity is kept in the spirit of fun…just like planning a surprise party.  The intent of the secret is meant to keep things interesting and exciting, not as a dishonesty where someone can get hurt.

Until then, enjoy living in the moments of their wonder and fun and embrace the truth that they won’t be little forever…why not hold on for as long as we can and enjoy the cookies and milk while they last?

Note: This is a repost from last year, but a timely one.  Since this was written, my own 10 year old accidentally discovered that the Easter Bunny hides excess chocolate in her closet.  Sometimes the Easter Bunny has a lot on her mind…

This prompted  a great discussion on all the special gift givers in our lives and why we keep the traditions alive.  Although my daughter was disappointed that the mystery was over, she was and is very excited to be Santa’s helper this year for her little brother and even got to play the Tooth Fairy for him a few weeks ago.  The Spirit of Giving lives on!

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