Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 25 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. John the Spaniard
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

A brilliant way to tell your kids there’s no Santa

Children with Props

Chelsea Victoria | Stocksy United

Leigh Anderson - published on 12/13/17

And it may teach your kids to be more generous at the same time.

Let’s say you decided, when your child was one or two, to tell him or her the Santa Claus story: The chimney, the North Pole, naughty and nice, the whole nine yards.

But now your kid is six or seven and the jig is nearly up, and you may be feeling a little uneasy, like your child might be about to accuse you of, well, tricking him for these many years. What are you supposed to say? “I lied, sweetie, sorry, there’s no Santa“?

Luckily, a perfect, graceful solution has been circulating online for years on how to break the no Santa news gently — and still preserve the spirit of Santa at the same time. (Thanks, Good Housekeeping, for bringing this oldie but goodie back.)

First, take your child out for “coffee.” (Or hot cocoa.) This is a grown-up date in which you’re going to divulge some grown-up information — an induction ceremony of sorts. Next, tell him that he’s too old to receive presents from Santa anymore, but — here’s the kicker — he’s now old enough (and his heart has grown big enough) to become Santa.

Yes, you frame it as if the “role” of Santa is passed down to kids once they reach a certain age, and your child has now become old enough to bring joy to other people in a generous, totally anonymous, fashion. Have your child choose someone, like a neighbor, to “be Santa to.” Your kid should try to figure out what that neighbor or friend wants for Christmas and then get it for him, delivering the gift totally anonymously. And so on, for years to come.

Not only is it an elegant way out of the Santa bind, it introduces the idea of Santa as a generous secret gift-giver that any one of us can be. It also inculcates in them the values of noticing, of empathizing, and of helping. These are values that are easiest to practice at Christmas, when we’re already primed to be considering gifts and charity, but with enough guidance, our kids will internalize this sense of kindness and generosity, and it will become part of their spiritual DNA, so to speak.

The Santa story you told six or seven years ago? It wasn’t a deception. Even if you hadn’t totally thought it through in the beginning, here’s your graceful way out. And you might even end up with a more generous kid because of it.


MYRA TURKEY

Read more:
Santa Claus’ real hometown isn’t the North Pole

Tags:
ChristmasParenting
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
Prayers to be said at the elevation of the host at Mass
3
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
4
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
5
PARTY
Theresa Civantos Barber
Celebrate “summer Christmas” with these 5 traditions ...
6
Cecilia Zinicola
The best method for transforming annoyance and frustration
7
JEFF BEZOS' FATHER
John Burger
Parents of Amazon CEO donate $12 million to Catholic school
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.