Renovating Your House to Keep Kids Believing in Santa Is Extreme

santa chimneyWith all the Justin Bieber-inspired talk about Santa Claus and what it means to encourage your kid to believe in old St. Nick and how your worth as a parent is determined by your choice (let's take another completely benign topic of conversation and turn it into a political minefield for kicks, shall we?),  I guess it's not surprising that the latest news involves a family waaaaay on the other end of the Santa spectrum from Bieber Mama.

6-year-old Leo Park is really into the idea of Santa, bless his little heart. He also seems to be developing an interest in architecture, or possibly physics, because one day he looked at the plans for the house his parents were building and saw a major design flaw.

So when he was writing his letter to Santa, he decided he'd drop a line to Jeremy Paxton, the owner of the estate on which his parents were building said house.

This is what he wrote:


Dear Mr Paxton, I am worried that my mummy's house does not have a big enough chimney. I think Santa Claus will get stuck. Please can you help. Love Leo Park

(The Parks live in England, by the way.)

Sweet, right? Here's the interesting part: Mr. Paxton custom-built a Santa-sized chimney for Leo's new house. With the help of a mathematician. And a Santa stand-in wearing a padded suit and a harness.

Now, I'm not sure if Leo's parents had to part with a large sum of money to make Leo's dream come true, or if Paxton just went along with the idea out of the kindness of his heart.

I'm also not sure why the adults in this scenario didn't just invoke the standard "Santa can do anything because he's magic," explanation. (Which would seem apparent, anyway, on account of the flying reindeer and such.) But they didn't. Huh.

Part of me thinks this is really sweet. Because, as it turns out, I have something very much in common with Justin Bieber (believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are). My mother's philosophy on Santa was identical to that of Bieber's mother: She didn't tell me to believe in Santa because she was afraid that when I found out he wasn't real, I would feel like she'd been lying to me and then I would never believe her again.

I don't know if I would have felt "lied to" or not. I do know that I felt robbed of a really fun childhood experience that everybody else seemed to get to have except me.

But renovating your home for the sake of childhood fantasy? That seems a bit much. There's got to be some kind of middle ground between Santa-at-all-costs parenting and Santa's-not-worth-your-trouble parenting.

That's what I aspire to, anyway.

Do you think building a special chimney to accomodate Santa is a bit extreme?

Image via Daniel Orth/Flickr

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