santa clausThis Christmas I have a 9-year-old fourth grader, and as such, I have to wonder if she still believes in Santa Claus. Her 4-year-old sister is solidly on Team Santa, and it was just last year or two that she really started to understand the whole concept.

This Christmas season, I broached the subject peripherally by asking my big girl if she would like to write a letter to mail to the North Pole. Her response was, “Of course! How else will Santa know what I want?”

Touché.

Recently I was chatting with some of my mom friends who also have fourth graders about the whole Santa thing -- specifically whether or not we will keep up the rouse, and for how long.

There seem to be several schools of thought. A lot of these older kids have already figured it out and their parents have come clean. Other moms and dads dread the day when they will have to make the decision to break their kids’ hearts with the truth, or lie to their faces about the existence of Kris Kringle and his merry elves and flying reindeer.

Personally, I’m of the thought that there’s no reason to ever admit The Truth About Santa to my kids. Of course there will come a day when they realize that it’s really mommy and daddy wrapping the gifts and leaving them under the tree, but I’ll never admit it.

Belief in Santa has never scarred someone for life. Prisons aren’t filled with people lamenting that it all went wrong when they found out their parents had been lying about Santa. It’s a harmless, time-honored tradition that can even be used to represent what true giving is: A gift given without need for recognition. Maybe that’s a stretch, but I’ll take it.

I’m sure that someday soon, my daughter will know the truth, and we may even share a wink and a nudge as we work together to keep the Santa magic alive for her little sister. Meanwhile, we have some North Pole-bound letters to write.

Do your kids believe in Santa?


Photo via USACE Europe District/Flickr