I wrote this post last year – and for the record, I still hold to it… BUT, I will add, that my youngest son is named after Saint Nicholas Day, and we have always told the kids the actual truth about who the man really was – a wonderful saint of a man, that loved and cared for children, in the name of Christ… you can keep your traditions, with out lying or trying to convince your children to believe in the lie… the truth really is fun… I swear.
* Spoiler Alert (if you believe the above are real, do not read this post)
There are many “acceptable” lies that some parents tell their children. The 3 biggies are: Santa, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
I honestly never gave these things much thought, except the Easter Bunny… As a Christian, I always had trouble making the leap from Christ’s resurrection to a giant egg- leaving rabbit, but that’s not my point today.
It seems that many parents in America don’t have a problem telling their kids that a big fat man, a giant bunny, and a fairy, will sneak into their homes, in the dark of night, and leave surprises. Some parents even drag their kids to the mall, stand in line, and put them on a strange person’s lap for a picture…. When I put it that way, it sounds kinda creepy, doesn’t it? I’ve had parents tell me that it’s fun! It’s tradition! It’s harmless and kids love it. Seriously?
I used to leave reindeer snacks, cookies, and carrots out for our annual intruders. I never even really minded that my kids didn’t have to thank me for their gifts cause they were from Santa, and he wasn’t there on Christmas morning. If you are a parent that has had your kids write thank you letters to Santa – kudos! I tried… but then forgot, and my kids didn’t remind me. Those dang kids.
It all changed one day back in 1997, when my darling daughter had just turned 5. My second child told her that all of these American icons, where not real. She came to me, and asked if it was true. I sat down and confirmed what her stinker brother had said. She looked right at me, with big blue, tear filled eyes, and said, “Mommy, why did you lie to me?” Really. My heart broke. I told her all of those great reasons, and she said, “but mommy, it’s not fun. it always scared me”. After that, we had a family meeting and we found out that all of our kids found it a little scary, and they never really understood the connections… Santa/Birth of Christ, Bunny/Christ resurrection or Teeth/Fairies… At the time, I was expecting my fourth child and the kids informed me that, if we planned on “lying” to the baby, they would not participate.
That was the end of the mystical characters in our home.
It has served us well, even though some of my friends have been annoyed with us. Especially when my kids told their kids the “truth”…(sorry) Through all of that though, it was probably one of the best changes for our family. Christmas is now 3 gifts, a “myrrh” is something for their bodies, a “frankincense” is for their minds and a “gold” is a treasure that they have wanted. We still do the stocking for our country tradition, and we fill them with small fun things. Easter is focused just on Christ, but we still will participate in a good egg hunt on occasion, and we have had a photo or 2 with the Bunny…just for fun. When the kids lost a tooth, they just handed to me…and I handed them some cash…lame. I know. You can judge me all you want next time you are waiting for your kid to fall asleep, and then spend 15 minutes digging under their pillow looking for a tooth…
We are always honest with our kids, even in the name of fun. We leave the make-believe to their imaginations…. If you are a die hard traditionalist, good for you. But if you ever want to come over to the less stressful side.. I’ll be waiting. 😀
I have also written a post about the, “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”… if your interested, read it HERE.
I would love to hear how YOU handle the holiday!