When my 9 year old daughter wanted to know the truth about the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. I was a bit taken aback, but she started her question with, “Daddy and I were talking and he said I should ask you….” You see, my husband wanted to let her know the truth at 3…he would ask, “why are you lying to her? Are we really going to pretend like these things exist.” My answer, a resounding “YES”. I want her to believe in herself, in others, the power of nature, and in love. I wanted her to experience that magic and I’ll be honest, I loved experiencing that magic and belief through her. She would wake me all wide-eyed at 5am exclaiming that Santa had come or the Tooth Fairy left her a note and money or the Easter Bunny left eggs! When I told her the truth, she did not flinch, she simply said, “oh” and shook her head as if it was something she thought all along. I however, felt a bit sad that this tradition of putting out cookies and writing a note was now over. We talked a bit more about it and then, I found a letter that another mom wrote to her child when he/she had found out the truth and I revised a bit and gave it to Sydney. After she read the letter, she gave me a huge hug and said, “I am keeping this letter in my “do not throw away folder””. I am sure she will still wake me up early to see what is under the tree this year, but it will have a different meaning…..
You asked a very good question: “Is there a Santa?”
When you asked me I was not as prepared as I had hoped to be. I’ve had to give it careful thought and while I said that I was Santa…really I am not.
There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the hall on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.