Our oldest is now 10 years old and is a really great kid. We knew it was only a matter of time until we had to sit her down for “The Santa Talk.” This was something we were really struggling with, both how to best do it and stuggling internally with the fact that she’s practically a teen. With her new braces she got a week ago, she looks like a pre-teen, not like some kid who should be believing in Mr. Claus.
So a few days ago, as we were setting up our tree, just relaxing and getting the house decorated we mentioned something about Santa. Birdsnest later pulled my wife aside and told her she knew the presents from Santa was really from her and me. She did it in a kidding, happy way, mostly sure but just a hair unsure, and Holly admitted that it was us. Whole thing took about 30 seconds.
That was a sad day.
I just saw Joe Rogan’s show and he said you don’t want your kid to be the first one to know Santa isn’t real, nor do you want them to be the last (since that means they’re retarded). Now in 5th grade and in “Intermediate School” (a separate school in our community between primary and middle school), she’s probably off the right side of the Santa bell curve but not on the tail.
I read a lot on how best to break the news. I remember being stunned (not sure how old – 4th grade maybe?) when my Mom sat me down in the Christmas season and told me Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy weren’t real. I played it cool, but it caught me off guard because I wanted to believe. For me, I didn’t want to have that responsibility of breaking my kids’ dreams of the magic of Santa Claus, and I don’t think Holly did either, so we kept kicking the can (and were hoping to have that tangible kid excitement from her for one more year – I wish you could bottle that stuff).
There is no “best” way I decided. However, I saw the following letter on the web, and thought it was pretty well thought out and seemed like a great way to break the news while still celebrating the spirit and magic of Christmas. This year, we’re going to enjoy the magic of our 8 year old who still believes, but continue to watch our favorite movies and shows (Grinch on tonight) and remember the spirit of Christmas. The Polar Express will always be one of our favorites because of that message. Good luck to those parents as you cross that threshold, it is one of the milestones of childhood that mark the passage of time – something we don’t like to deal with. So be sure to get those home movies and videos documenting the magic of the season, and actually watch them Clark Griswald style (up in the attic, freezing your balls off in your wife’s bathrobe, waiting for the family to come home from shopping). Enough to warm up even the coldest Grinch heart.