Home > Big Talks, parenting, Uncategorized > Yes, Tyler… there IS a Santa Claus

Yes, Tyler… there IS a Santa Claus

Two days after Christmas, Tyler and I stopped in Target to exchange Halle’s cute, pink MP3 player for one that was a little easier to operate. I discovered, after returning the one, the one I wanted to replace it with was out of stock. We went to the nearest Target that showed them in stock, but I had left the receipt in the car, thinking I wouldn’t need it since I’d already done the return at the other store. The item shelved was nothing like what I bought Tyler, even though the model number on the shelf matched. I sent Tyler out to the car for the receipt while I waited inside with Daija.

Tonight as I’m doing my quality check of Tyler’s bedroom cleaning efforts, Tyler says,

Mom, I want to tell you something.  You know when we were in Target and I went to the car to get those receipts for you?

Do you see what’s coming here?

Oh, yes… the dreaded “S” talk.  Not the one about sex… the one about Santa Claus. It was one I was dreading, as one of the most vividly painful experiences of my childhood was learning the truth about Santa Claus.  I was in 5th grade, I believe, the same age Tyler is now. 

In 1996 I made peace with Ol’ Saint Nick.  I decided to celebrate the kernel of truth the legend started with – the gift of anonymous giving.  I wouldn’t let it become a materialistic free for all where my child thought every thing from under the tree came from Santa… just  candy and small toys (for example, a Tomagotchi) in the stocking, and one frivolous gift for fun.  I would neither confirm or deny… I would give my child(ren) the power to choose when to take that step from childhood to adulthood.

~We interrupt this program for a flashback~


Over the years I’ve been asked by Tyler, then Halle, if Santa is real.  When I ask, “What do you think?” they always respond that they think he is real.  Occasionally they’ll relay that a friend or the older sibling of a classmate says Santa is real.  I just say that everyone has to decide for him or herself what they think about Santa. 

Now and then, one of them will ask me if I believe in Santa… and I look them straight in the eye and I say, “Absolutely.”

Well, one of them had two Tomagotchi’s on it.

I see. Well, what did you think about that?

Well, I was pretty upset.

Why were you upset?

Well, because I had really believed in Santa Claus and that meant it was just ruined and he’s not real. At first I thought, “Santa must have left the receipt for my mom,” but then I saw your name on it from your credit card.”

Damn… foiled by technology. I invited Tyler to sit down on the bed. He, of course, interrupted me several times with random thoughts, but this is the gist of it.

I guess you figured it out. That’s part of growing up. But just because Santa doesn’t exist as the legend you know, doesn’t mean that Santa isn’t real. All legends usually start with a small kernel of truth. Long ago there was a man who gave gifts to children who were very poor. The spirit that moved in him to do those things was real then and it’s still real now. I want you to think about that scene in Polar Express where the boy chooses the bell. Santa Claus tells him that the bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas, and says, “So am I.” What does that mean,and where does Santa Claus say the TRUE spirit of Christmas is?

It means that Santa IS real, because the true spirit of Christmas is in here.

And when you ask me if I believe in Santa, what do I always say?


Absolutely. That same spirit will still be with me next year… and you’ll still get a stocking and a Santa gift… this just means that I’ll have a Christmas elf.

I told Tyler how proud I was of him for handling it so maturely, and talking to me about it privately instead of saying anything to his sisters.

Yeah, well… I still want Halle to believe.

Tyler, that is Santa Claus right there. You’re giving her a gift by keeping the magic alive for her.

Tyler and I were both feeling pretty pleased with ourselves… but
Tyler did have some sage advice to offer me before I left his room.

But Mom… next year, don’t send Halle to the car to get a receipt right after Christmas.

Here’s an article I recently enjoyed… seemed appropriate to share.

THE GIFT OF BELIEF: Santa is real when your deeds make him real


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