TFW you’re not sure your kids are still on board pic.twitter.com/kV4xXaloM1
— DadCAMP (@dadcamp) December 7, 2016
“George didn’t move,” Zacharie pouted when he came downstairs one morning this week.
He was talking about George, our Elf on the Shelf. The one my wife and I had forgotten to move during the night. “Did you touch him?,” my son continued.
Zacharie is 9 and a half. He should have had this figured out by now. We had an Easter Bunny talk 18 months ago, I know he knows. At least, I think he knows.
“You know. .. Right?,” I asked him trying to subtly reference the Elf in our conversation.
“Know what?,” he asked, as honestly as I’ve ever seen.
I dropped it right then and there. ‘He has to know,’ my mind tells me. ‘He absolutely still believes,’ his words and actions say.
It’s a tough dance, this Santa thing, isn’t it? Do you make a pre-emptive strike when you think they’re old enough? Do you let them figure it out on their own, risking they blurt ‘the secret’ out at the wrong time? Do you allay their worries when kids at school provide spoilers?
How do you tell your kids the truth about Santa?
Do you need to? Eventually it clicks. I mean, the physics, the math, the stories, they eventually just all add up in the mind of a child that sometimes leads to heartbreak that a story they have put faith in their entire life is not real.
In the past, when pointedly asked by our boys we have offered the political non-answer of “Santa is real if you believe he’s real.” The question slides by and they don’t pay it a second thought. Still, I don’t want my nearly 10 yr old to be ridiculed by peers should he stand on the playground and proselytize as to the veracity of the jolly old elf.
So, do I burst the bubble on my own or let him approach me when he’s ready? We spend so much time weaving the story, how do you pull the loose thread to unravel it all without crushing them?
There are many letters floating around online people have written their kids upon the occasion of discovering the truth about Santa. All of them very sweet, and well thought out so as to celebrate the spirit of the season and explaining how that spirit lives inside all of us.
It’s really no different than the answer we’ve been giving our kids all along. “If you believe in Santa, he’s real. And that’s all that matters.”