Creative Child

Explaining Santa

by Rebecca Eanes


Even though we love our Santa tradition, I admit that I was concerned with how my children might handle the truth, particularly my highly sensitive child. Only this year do they readily admit that there is no magical man in a sleigh, though our belief in Santa (the spirit of giving) is still very strong. They began questioning if Santa was real a couple of years ago, and I let them take the lead. They finally let it go when they were ready. There was no upset whatsoever, and they are excited to be “in on the secret” and to play Santa for others this year. Here’s a few gentle steps for explaining Santa to your children.

1. Let them take the lead. My children would ask, “Mom, is Santa really real?” I would reply, “What do you think?” or “Do you want to believe?” When they replied yes, I let them know it was just fine to keep believing. You will know if your children are ready to let Santa go, or if they need to hold on a little longer. Through thoughtful conversations and active listening, you can let your child decide whether or not to keep believing.


2. Provide empathy. If your child becomes upset, it’s important to empathize. I’d caution against blowing off their upset as “ridiculous” or telling them to not be upset. They feel how they feel, and that’s okay. Our job is to help them manage and work through those emotions. Validate them by showing empathy and listening to what they have to say. Explain why you felt that Santa was important. There are several letters available online to use as a script to explain Santa to your child which may help make easier for both of you.


3. Empower your child to take on the role of giver. You might say, “There’s no one Santa because it’s a job too big for one person. The real Santa is the spirit of giving, and lots of us need to step up and do the job. So, yes, I am Santa, and so are many others. And now, you can be Santa for someone, too.” Let your child choose an angel off the angel tree to buy for or a friend to play Secret Santa to, and encourage them to spread hope and joy this Christmas season and always.


Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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