Every family has different beliefs and traditions and there is never a time when those thoughts and ideas are more at the forefront than during the holidays. Some parents teach kids about Santa Claus and may even go through with the Elf on the Shelf lore. Some families associate these things to Christian beliefs, while others don’t. Other families celebrate Hanukkah or Festivus or Kwanzaa. It is important for kids to be open to all of these different beliefs and traditions without judgment – which only happens when parents treat these traditions the same way.
Deciding Upon Your Practice
Most parents form their holiday traditions from a mixture of what they grew up with, what they chose to believe in their adult lives, and what they saw those around them doing. There is nothing wrong with this pick-and-choose method and it can make for a fun-filled holiday season that always involves a little experimenting and trying of new traditions. Try not to stay too rigid in your traditions, as inflexibility can put a damper on the fun of the season.
When the Fantasy Ends
If you decide to indulge the fantasy of Santa, it can be tough when your child starts to get wise to the myth. There are usually a few conversations that a child will start that go something like “Jemma said there is no Santa, is that true?” or maybe a little less blunt. How you decide to handle the conversation is up to you, but allowing children to suspend their sense of wonder by introducing other options besides “real or fake” can be refreshing for everyone involved.
Introducing children to the true story of St. Nicholas can help to educate them about the past while providing them with a great moral story. St. Nicholas was a very generous man that was born wealthy but donated all of his wealth, along with his time and effort, to helping the needy. Instead of saying that Santa is “fake,” you may say something to the effect of “Perhaps St. Nicholas’s spirit still helps those in real need.”