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Why the Santa Question Hurts So Much

Because it’s all about me.

My 9-year-old asked me the other day if I really bought the presents for Santa to put under the tree. It stopped me in my tracks. It literally gave me a hot flash and made me feel like someone had just punched me in the stomach.

It’s time. (long drawn out expletive in my head)

It’s not so much the issue about Santa. Nor the fact that we are all big fat liars. It’s more about the fact that somehow that one question is some kind of beacon for growing up. Some sort of slap in my face that he’s not a little boy anymore. That he’s fast heading into adolescence in the next few years. That 9 years has gone by way too fast and that time keeps speeding up. That I just want to freeze this little boy in time.

I asked him what he thought, and for now, he still wants to believe.

I’d like him to believe a little longer — for me. Because I still need the magic in his *little* eyes at Christmas.

More on TodaysMama:

Mom is Santa Real?

Using Santa as Leverage

Magic? Or Answered Prayers?

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Comments (16)

  1. becky jaine 02/15/2014 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for such a wonderful and creative site! A most wonderful response to Father Christmas’ existence, is that each of us hold the power to bring to us things which we love and enjoy and even want. When my older children were contemplating this Santa I asked them what they thought, instead of answering for them. (When I was a little girl I was very distraught when I was told and I wanted it to come over them, instead of me putting it on them.) I discovered this wonderful video where Ester Hicks answers an audience question about Santa, and it was (to me) as magical and loving and true as I have ever discovered. (They start by talking about Satan but then move to Santa.)

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  5. Cory 12/19/2011 at 1:58 pm

    So we have to wait till next year to find out the answer?

  6. Shannon Nelson 12/19/2011 at 12:09 pm

    I am dreading it. I’m a heavy Santa promoter. And I do remember my own crushing feeling of realizing that Santa isn’t real when I was a kid, so I am not looking forward to feeling it on the parent end when the day comes.

  7. Randy Tayler 12/16/2011 at 12:27 pm

    We tell our kids Santa is make-believe, but don’t tell their friends, etc. We still have presents marked “From Santa”, but I don’t want to ever have to tell my kids I *only* lied to them about Santa… and the Easter Bunny… but everything else I taught them is true…

    It’s a coming-of-age that never has to happen if you don’t start with the fiction in the first place. My kids love Christmas, love Santa, and know he’s just like Mickey Mouse. Also serves to distract them a bit less from the real meaning of the holiday.

    This choice may perhaps maybe stem from the fact that my Dad took it so poorly when I finally asked him the Santa Question straight up.

  8. Amy Allen Johnson 12/16/2011 at 11:17 am

    woah.. spitting image of #3, ’cause you two have a seriously good recipe going on..darlings!

  9. Belladune 12/16/2011 at 11:16 am

    oh, I felt this twinge of “how did he grow up so fast??” last night, but it was because my oldest lost his first tooth…. He was still excited that the tooth fairy came. I’m fearing the moment he say’s “Is Santa/The Easter Bunny/the Tooth fairy real mom?” hey get big to fast don’t they?

  10. Jeanie 12/16/2011 at 11:14 am

    We had fun with Santa when our 3 kids were little in the 1970’s but we never made it like he was somebody to believe in. We did not want them to confuse Jesus with Santa when they ultimately found out he was not a real person (although Santa was a real man many years ago). The kids grandfather dressed up one year as Santa Claus and came in with presents much to all the cousins’ delight, but my oldest son (about 6) said “that is Grampa Corbin” to which one uncle got mad a bit because of his kids. My kids still enjoy Christmas to this day.

  11. Kristen 12/16/2011 at 10:50 am

    Jacob (9) still hasn’t asked anything about Santa… I, for the same reasons as you, am not ready for that question and for the end of that magic to come to him.
    In the meantime, when he does ask, I love this blog post over at Cozi for a great answer

  12. Carina Wytiaz 12/16/2011 at 10:49 am

    A stranger on a flight jokingly told my 7 year old to behave himself because Santa was watching. He surprised me by saying, “There’s no Santa, your parents do it all.”

    I was like “WWWHhhhhAAAAAAA????”

    Tried to shut that business down.

    (We’d tell him the truth, but he couldn’t possibly keep the secret from his younger siblings.)

  13. Carly 12/16/2011 at 10:00 am

    My 8yr old is asking me as well. I did the same thing and asked her and I think she may know but also wants to still believe. I totally get what you mean about kids growing up! Why can’t they just stay little! 🙂

  14. Laura 12/16/2011 at 9:05 am

    my daughter flat out told me when she was 5 that it had to be a lie and didn’t make sense. I made it so she was in on the secret. She still finds magic in Christmas in the way an adult does. She loves making it seem magical for her brother and sister and it is fun in that way. I have raised my kids to question everything and maybe that was to a fault because she cannot and will not believe in magical things even religion is something that doesn’t work for her. She is 8 and like a teenager to me. Questions everything I tell her.

  15. Kathy 12/16/2011 at 8:47 am

    Sad. That brings a tear to my eye.

  16. Erica Fehrman 12/16/2011 at 8:15 am

    Oh my goodness, reading this and seeing his bright little baby face is like feeling the punch for you. Maybe his choosing to believe is the best part of all, out of his entire cycle of Santa.