It’s that time of the year, the time when children get all warm and cozy in their beds every night, yet lay awake because they simply can’t sleep with all of the built up anticipation of Christmas. It grows as Christmas arrives and children get less sleep and more impatient. Then one day, the kids ask the dreaded question that for some reason always seems to catch parents off guard. For some children (like myself) it’s at age four. For some children, it’s at age nine (or however old my sister was… I am three years younger than her and knew for probably four years before she found out).
“Is there really a Santa?”
Much like with the “Babies” question, you need to figure out how you are going to respond. Are you are going to answer this truthfully? Or risk losing your child’s trust at such a young age? Again, I am a firm believer that honesty is the best policy when handling situations with children. They are so impressionable and whatever you tell them now could last a lifetime.
When I was 17, I stood in Baskin Robbins looking over the various flavors trying to come to a good conclusion. Usually I am a peanut butter chocolate, or a chocolate chip mint guy, but this day was different. And I stood staring at the difference… my old friend rainbow sherbet. I wondered, “What the hell happened? Why did I stop loving you so much?” And my mind suddenly flashed back 10 years. Seven year-old Roy was asked what he wanted as he gazed upon the many flavors at his disposal. He replied “A scoop of rainbow sherbet please.” A tall man of about 30 with a fitted cap and a pony tail looked down at me from behind his sunglasses and said “Son, rainbow sherbet is for pussies.” A statement from my father that would scar me for the next 10 years. I hadn’t thought of that moment or had my ex-favorite flavor for 10 years, and that was largely the reason. Impressions upon anyone under 10 last a very long time, and you need to approach sensitive subjects like this Santa situation very tactfully.
With that said, here’s how I would handle the situation…
“Children, in a word, no. There is no Santa Claus. He doesn’t exist. There are no reindeer, there are no elves, there--- Oh who am I kidding?! Look, for the first time in your life, I am going to be 100% honest with you. But you can never, EVER tell anyone, or I will be in big trouble. Your mother will kill me. And if she doesn’t, I will go to a prison in Cuba for the rest of my life.
Gitmo? How did you know what that is? You’re seven. And no, it’s not closed. That’s just what the Government wants you to think. It’s very much open and harbors the people who get caught sharing this secret. I will be like Edmond Dantes in the Count of Monte Cristo without the Count of Monte Cristo part at all. There will be no comeback. As a matter of fact, maybe I shouldn’t tell you. The answer is no. He doesn’t exist…
Okay, fine! But… Don’t. Tell. Anyone.
The truth is that Santa does exist. Santa is very real. And he is very powerful. He has brought you all of the gifts you see under the tree every year. But long ago, he realized he couldn’t keep pace with the inflation of population and had to narrow down who he should bring presents to. Naughty and nice wasn’t cutting it anymore. There are too many boys trying to plant seeds and grow children that it’s ruining Santa for all of us. He now delivers to only the following: nice people who are believers, and people over 10 who try to reduce the amount of believers. That’s right. If anyone EVER tells you he is not real, it is because they either truly believe it, or are selfish and want more presents to themselves.
Every person over 10 on the planet will tell you he doesn’t exist. Some of those people honestly believe he is not real, and others are just lying to you. That is because once you turn 10, if you still believe, one of Santa’s elves comes to you and delivers a letter signed by Santa himself. The letter, in short, tells you that you can still get presents from him provided you try to convince as many believers to stop believing as possible. It also tells you about the horrors of Gitmo and how quickly you will be transported there if you ever get caught telling anyone about the letter. You never get Christmases again. You have to go to bed early every night, and without dinner or dessert. They make you watch sports and clean your room every day, Sponge Bob doesn’t exist. You also have to brush your teeth twice a day and everyone has cooties, and smell like feet, and they make you take naps. It’s horrible.
No, I can’t show you the letter. It self destructed Inspector Gadget style. True story.
The elf? Yeah, he self destructed too. Look, no more questions, just listen and listen well before someone catches me and sends me to this prison where it’s all clean and I have to sleep and watch sports all day.
Most adults are on drugs and believe the elf and the letter were a dream and pretend it never happened. This is great, because the fewer people he has to bring presents to, the more presents each person he delivers the presents to gets. Yeah, I never have any gifts from him under the tree, but that’s because he delivers them to me in person. With candy. One time he even brought me to the North Pole on his sleigh because I am awesome, but that’s beside the point.
The point of the story is this, children, don’t stop believing no matter what people tell you. Anyone over 10 is probably lying. And also don’t do drugs. Or you will miss out on gifts and candy.”
See? Was that so hard? Now you have a child that will forever believe in Santa. How can that possibly be bad? Oh, and that day I was in Baskin Robbins, I bought my old friend, and he was delicious. I asked my father about it a few years back and he didn’t remember it at all. He thought for a minute and claimed that it was probably largely due to the fact that I never finished it and he always had to eat my leftovers and hated rainbow sherbet. But the reality is, I still think my father tried to trick me into not liking rainbow sherbet because he wanted it all for himself. Who the hell would do such an awful thing? What an ass.