There is nothing wrong with Santa Clause, but I sure am glad he is no longer an influence in our household. Earlier this year when confronted with the doubt of the Easter Bunny, my son questioned us about the validity of all of the typical childhood magical figures. I couldn’t lie, I had to tell him the truth.
I had always said that I would never lie to my son. Honesty has always been an important part of my life. One of the best things about always telling the truth is that you never have to remember what you had said. Living a life filled with lies only set you up for epic failure and drama. While the truth sometimes hurts, a lie always hurts more. So, raising my son in an honest home has been a very important part of my role as a father.
This honesty-first policy also applies to those harmless white lies, like the belief in Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Early on, I had warned my wife that if my son ever pressed me for the truth, I would be forced to tell him. While the fibbing about the existence of these mythical figures may seem minor, I never wanted my son to second guess anything I ever told him beyond the holiday mascots. If I could lie about something as important (to him) as Santa, then how can I expect him not to question other things that I have told him. He pressed me for an answer on the existence of Santa this past spring, and I spilled the beans. He didn’t really mind the response and took it in stride.
I didn’t know what to expect from my son this Christmas in terms of expectations. Without Santa, it would mean no more writing lists, expecting lavish gifts and perhaps even a lack of the holiday magic. What we got was a complete 360 degree turn around. Our son has caught the spirit and insisted on using his own saved-up allowance money to buy us gifts, his grandparents gifts and other special people in his life. He asked us to take him shopping and he patiently picked out thoughtful gifts that he knows each recipient will love. I was blown away.
Just the other night as we were settling him in for the night, he told me that he was more excited to give us our gifts than he was to receive his own gifts. I have never been so proud. I realize that this is a product of decent parenting, but I have to wonder if there is something else to this. Does Santa hold back children from feeling the generosity of the holiday season? Does the expectation of a gift-filled Christmas morning blind our kids from a true feeling of what it means to be kind? I dunno. But I have never been so happy to not have Santa in our house anymore, for the first time in his life, he is feeling the true meaning of the season and it is beautiful to see.