Santa. Inga Williams

No harm in letting kids believe in Santa

BEFORE I begin this week's column, I thought I'd add a little disclaimer.

This week the "S" word is used and discussed at length, so those with small children take warning - do not read out loud.

Santa! There I said it.

The fictional character in the big red suit with the sticky beard and bony legs has been spotted in shopping centres for weeks now.

Our tree has been up since mid- November and my kids couldn't be more excited.

But with children aged six and eight, I know the days of believing in Santa are coming to an end.

Are they going to hate me for lying to them when they find out the truth? How old is too old to still believe in Santa?

Do I tell them now that they are a bit older, or wait until they discover it on their own?

These are the big questions debated by parents everywhere this time of year.

For some people it does seem peculiar to tell children there is an old man living in another country watching their every movement and recording it on a "list".

A stranger, who has the ability to lets himself into every home across the world in one night, leaving gifts for everyone!

I personally don't see the harm in letting my children believe in Santa.

When out Christmas shopping this week, we had a close call.

The kids and I were in the toy section when a lady said to her partner that she'd much rather give their children money this year, "because they know Santa Claus isn't real!"

Old "big mouth" had no idea what she had done and continued wandering through the aisles, oblivious to the angry mob beginning to form.

Next to me, a shocked little face looked up at her mum who quickly ushered her to another section of the store, hoping she would forget what she heard.

Meanwhile, I looked around for my two, who had, as usual, taken off to another aisle only seconds before.

Distracted by noisy toys and flashing lights, they had missed the whole thing. Phew!

I was dumbfounded by her idiocy! And in a toy department of all places!

I remember when I found out about Santa.

I was six years old and sitting in my grade one classroom.

A boy named Steven (I even remember his last name, but I won't out him in public) announced the truth to the class.

"Everyone knows that Santa, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aren't real! They're just your mum and dad!"

I sat there mortified. Miss Kipling didn't even try to maintain the illusion by ignoring his comments. Oh no!

Instead her response was "Yes Steven, that's correct".

My mother confirmed it for me that night when I asked her.

Although I will never forget how I found out "the truth", I wasn't mad at my parents, it didn't ruin Christmas and I was not scarred for life.

I guess when my kiddies come right out and ask the question, I will be honest too.

But until then I'll do my best to keep them away from big-mouthed ladies at the shops and boys named Steven.

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