**The following article comes via a guest contributor (and friend) David Workman. David is a marketing consultant for non-profit organizations by day, and Captain of the Crazy Ship by afternoons, nights, and weekends. Daddy to four children under 8, he enjoys sports, cars, ice cream, and herding the kids from this thing to that thing. His 1973 Corvette has a bumper sticker that says, “My other car is a minivan.”**
NEWSFLASH: Santa’s Not Real!
I got a note from a teacher the other day. Charlie, age 6, was telling kids in his class that Santa isn’t real. That doesn’t surprise me. We’ve never had the kids “believe” in Santa Claus, for a couple reasons. First, the idea of a fat old guy sneaking into your house in the middle of the night is audacious at best, and criminal at worst. And second, I worked hard for the money to buy those presents. My finger is still sore from clicking “buy now” on Amazon, and I nearly got a paper cut wrapping them. No way someone else is getting the credit. But most importantly, one day they would figure out the truth and I’d have to cop to lying to them about Santa. And that would cause them to wonder if I was lying when I told them about other stuff–like faith, that I would always love and protect them, or what happens if you talk to mommy in the morning before she’s had coffee.
What got me, though was the teacher said “It’s hard on the other children when they are told Santa doesn’t exist. I want to create an environment where we don’t tell others they are wrong, or that their beliefs aren’t true.”
That’s great—but just one problem. They are wrong, and those beliefs aren’t true. Because…
Santa’s Not Real!
I’m all for respecting beliefs. In fact, this particular school is a wonderful combination of ethnic, social, and faith backgrounds. But political, ethical, social, and religious truth forces us to operate in the gray area of faith. You can’t prove God exists any better than someone can prove he doesn’t. The right answer to solving the hunger crisis, climate change, homelessness and the rest of the world’s problems are a super-sized combo of “not quite right” answers. So yes, in these gray areas of life, let’s stand for our own beliefs while respecting the beliefs of others.
But when it comes to the unequivocal truth of a bearded fat guy in a red suit travelling the speed of light to deliver presents to all the children of the world, we all agree: Santa’s not real!
So I’m not here to debate that fact, but if I were, I’d point out that just the physics of visiting every household in the world are LITERALLY impossible. (And I don’t mean the millennial “literally”, the literal “literally.”) To quote Austin Powers, “The sheer mechanics of it are mind-boggling, baby!” The sleigh would weigh 350,000 tons and travel at 650 miles per second, erupting into a giant ball of fire, turning Kris Kringle into Crisp Kringle. So we aren’t here to debate if Santa is real, because NEWSFLASH: Santa’s Not Real!
But I say we “adults” should think about being OK with that, and <gasp>, even be OK with our kids knowing that. Harry Potter isn’t real. No parent tells their kid he is. But we all want to visit Universal Studios and participate in the magic of the Wizarding World, because we want to be a part of the story. Mickey Mouse isn’t real, but what parent doesn’t dream of taking their kids to Disneyland? We love the magic, the excitement, the imagination. And that’s a good thing.
And we can still do that for our kids with Santa. We can enjoy the story, participate in the fun, and imagine the impossible. Heck, we can even believe in Santa as part of the story while knowing it’s not true. (It’s called “pretend” and people have been doing it for centuries.)
There are some things worth lying to your kids about. Like how much ice cream is REALLY in the freezer, or the insane amount of TV you and the Mrs. watch after the kids go to bed. But I think we all have a little guilt on our conscience about lying to our kids about Santa, because we know one day we’ll have to pay the piper.
So maybe this is the year to face the music. If your kid asks you if Santa’s real, be honest. Rip off the band-aid, or do it gently, but you’ll feel better. And your kid will love you and respect you for telling the truth (eventually), not to mention realize who really stuffs the stockings around here. But most importantly, you’ll have a leg to stand on when the real questions start coming because…
NEWSFLASH: Santa’s Not Real