See, it’s that time of year when kids are pumped up for Santa to come to their houses and bring lots of goodies. But like any faithful Christian, children sometimes have doubts about Santa’s existence.
Of course, other kids have become hard-bitten Santa atheists. And they come to school, passionate about their new beliefs, and like a new religious convert, make idiots of themselves as they try to convert their friends with zeal and half-truths and lots of bad information. And the believers will push back with righteous indignation. Once children get a taste for blood that comes from persecuting others’ beliefs, it’s hard to break them of it.
So can you give your kids a little prep this week? Tell them that, like their bodies or politics, we talk about Santa’s existence at home with Mom and Dad, not with the teacher, and not with other kids…
Because, I’m having trouble coming up with a good response to your kids when they ask if Santa is real. Here’s a few I’ve tried out. None have been ideal. Maybe you can help me.
“Is Santa Claus real?”
Wouldn’t you rather know where babies come from?
No…Also, you’re adopted.
He is real, but his heart exploded yesterday, so Christmas is cancelled. Also, Rudolph had to be put down.
Of course he’s real. And he really knows if you’re sleeping and when you’re awake because he’s spying on you for the communists.
Why would you even think to ask me if a flying fat man with an electric nosed horse who can eat cookies from every house in the world and not lose a foot to diabetes isn’t real?
Who else would give you all those presents? Your parents? They don’t love you that much.
I don’t know. How can I be sure that you are real?
Presents are only for children who believe adults unquestioningly. If you aren’t going to believe in Santa, then get a job.
He’s as real as global warming. You’re a Santa denier? The debate is over. Santa is real.
If Santa isn’t real, then whose been eating those cookies and scotch I leave out every year?
Why don’t you look on the top shelf of your parents’ closets and find out.
So far, none of those have gotten me a great response. So tell me your Santa stories. Did you raise your kids to be believers? How did you convince them even when some jerk kid at school was spreading rumors of Santa’s non-existence? How did you make the transition from the truth of Santa to the truth of Jesus?