Here’s An Idea For Breaking The Santa News Without Breaking Your Kid’s Heart

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock

Viral post gives parents the perfect way to tell kids the truth about Santa

It’s that time of year where some parents find themselves in the heartbreaking position of telling their kids there’s no such thing as Santa. Whether it’s a jerky fifth grader on the bus ruining the fun or a child old enough to put it all together on their own, it’s sad and the end of an era. There’s also the worry that you’ll do it “wrong” and traumatize your child by telling them the truth.

Enter a mom who shared a wonderful idea for breaking the news that you’ll want to save for when the time comes at your house.

Christy Hutchison posted on Facebook about the method she came across online to tell kids there’s no Santa (gulp.) And it’s pretty much perfect.

“In our family, we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit,” opens the most genius idea ever for breaking the Santa news. The writer says if the child is six or seven and showing doubt, they’re ready. To which I say through tears, no thank you, please. My youngest is seven and I will hide him in a cave this year if it means preserving his Santa spirit, but I digress.

The writer suggests taking the child out for “coffee” to share the secret. Tell them something like, “You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [ Point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.”

Oh, neato. We’re also ready to become a sobbing mom, but no big deal. It’s fine.

“You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.”

The idea is to let the child in on the secret of “being” Santa. You lead them to discuss the best parts of being Santa and then, help them become one themselves.

“We then have the child choose someone they know–a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it–and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.”

It’s easy to see why a kid would go crazy for this idea; I know mine would absolutely love not only being treated like a “big” kid, but getting to surprise someone with a special gift would thrill them. I’m slowly drying my tears and warming up to this whole situation.

The author explains her oldest child’s first “target,” a grouchy neighbor woman he decided should have new slippers since he’d observed her getting the paper in her bare feet. He purchased and wrapped them, leaving the gift anonymously under her driveway gate. He delighted when he saw her a day later actually using them, but was swiftly reminded that his role as her “Santa” must remain a secret or he wouldn’t be a “good” Santa.

Over the years, the child and his younger brother chose new targets for their secret gift-giving and the author says they never felt lied to about Santa because they felt they’d simply grown into the role themselves. It wasn’t a big conspiracy; it was simply part of growing up.

My kids are nine and seven, so I love this with every fiber of my being. I have the feeling this or next year might be the end of the line for both, as they tend to discuss concerns with each other and the oldest is skeptical, for sure. It broke my heart imagining a holiday season without kids that believe, but this makes me feel a thousand times better. We will replace the tradition of little ones in footed sleepers padding into the living room on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought with thoughtful conversations about who we know that could use a little Santa themselves.

Kudos to whoever came up with this idea, because it’s a wonderful example of the true meaning of the season while also helping dry our mommy tears.

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