"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph." - Shirley Temple
I wish it had been this simple for my girls to find out the truth about Santa. Unfortunately, it was not. Up until a week ago, my girls firmly believed in Santa and the Elf on the Shelf that visited our house throughout the month of December until Christmas Eve. For it was on Christmas Eve that the Elf, lovingly named Buttons, flew back to the North Pole to help Santa get ready for delivering presents. I knew my girls were getting to an age that it was time to tell them the truth. Questions were asked liked "Why does Santa look different every time we see him at the mall?" The girls were getting teased by their peers about their belief in Santa and received many puzzled looks when they told their friends about the elf that was living at our house. However, it wasn't until last week when Kendall said, "Mom, please tell me the truth. Is Santa and Buttons for real? I don't want to be made a fool of." My heart sank and I soon realized the day had come. After much discussion, Jason and I knew it was time to tell the girls the truth. It broke our hearts to know the magic that Santa and Buttons created in our girls lives would soon be taken away.
The morning after Thanksgiving, we were sitting at the breakfast table and it was time to spill the beans. Mackenzie handled the news very well. She said, "Oh" and that was that. Kendall on the other hand was very angry with us and was broken hearted. Tears streamed down her face as we also broke the news to them that the Tooth Fairy and Eater Bunny were not real as well. Thus the conversation began about what Christmas is really all about.
In an unsigned editorial of the New York's Sun issue on September 21, 1897, an anonymous writer responded to a letter written by Virginia O'Hanlon to the newspaper. As many of you recall this letter said, "Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in THE SUN it's so. Please tell the truth; is there a Santa Clause?" The anonymous writer's response is as follows:
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
It is for this very reason, I do not regret encouraging the belief in Santa and Buttons. It did teach the girls about the love, generosity and devotion that the anonymous writer mentioned in his response. It taught them to have faith in things not seen. It provided the foundation for their faith and belief in God. Yes, I was afraid by telling them there was no Santa it would then cause them to question the existence of God. Thankfully, there was never a doubt. Thus, I believe encouraging your kids to believe in Santa is not a bad thing to do.
"If you can't believe, if you can't accept anything on faith, then you are doomed for a life dominated by doubt." - Miracle on 34th Street
This Christmas I will be focusing more on the magic that the Birth of Jesus brings to our family, friends and to the world. I hope to teach the girls more about the love God showed to mankind by sending his Son to earth to eventually die for our sins. I changed our advent calendar this year to include activities that will give the girls opportunities to share this love with others. Even though Santa is no longer real in their minds, I am hoping this Christmas will be better than ever and that the girls will experience a magic more powerful than Santa. Yes, there is a God. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no God.
This week I received one of the greatest Christmas gifts. I am happy to report my MRI has shown that I am still cancer free!!!! I have officially been in remission for two years. I have overcome the odds that were given to me when I was diagnosed. I was given a 50/50 chance to live. After my surgeon saw how extensive the tumor had invaded my face, he was unsure that this cancer would not return. He was happy to see the results of my MRI…in his experience he rarely sees this cancer return after two years. I am so thankful and happy. Tears of joy have streamed down my face several times these past couple of days. I now feel like I can truly experience the joy of Christmas.
Thanks to all of your wonderful messages and support on this blog and Facebook. I am so thankful to reconnect with all of you. I am blessed by each and every one of you. This year, I hope all you experience the magic of Christmas!