Is Santa Real? What to Tell the Kids
I don't remember her reaction, but she remembers it well. She was devastated and cried. And now, more than three decades later, she still likes to remind me of how I destroyed her childhood innocence. It's become a joke between us, one of those enduring childhood tales that gets retold at family gatherings whenever my sister wants to tease me, but now that we both have children, I realize just how young she was when I broke the spell and just what I took from her that day.
My daughter is three and my son is eight at the time of this writing, so Santa's magic is still alive and well at our home. My son has starting making comments that indicate he might be starting to question Santa's existence, but he still believes. I'm glad. I'm sure that someday much too soon someone will let him in on the the same secret my brother shared with me and he'll come to us to ask the dreaded question: Is Santa real?
What will I say?
I know that sometimes the best response to sensitive questions is another question: What do YOU think? Often kids don't want or need a big explanation. A simple answer is sometimes all that's required. It reminds me of the joke about the boy who asked his mom where he came from and she lectured him about the birds and the bees. When she finished he said, "But where did I come from? My friend Johnny is from Chicago."