Planning Christmas for the little ones means you’ll need to do a fair bit of sneaking about and telling little white lies.

“I have some shopping to do, see you later!”

“What are you shopping for, Mum?”

“Oh nothing, just boring stuff. You know, kitchen towels and soap and such. You have fun now!”

Later, to Hubby: “Psst! Remember to not let the boys see our basement unit right now, it’s full of presents.”

And: “Mum, did you remember to send the letters to Santa?”

“Yes, dear, of course I did!” I say while slyly checking they are still safely tucked away for future nostalgia.

On Christmas Eve: “Hey look, the cookies and milk we left for Santa and his reindeer are gone! They must’ve arrived!”

It isn’t over when Christmas has passed, either.

Six months later: “Boys, do you remember that book I got you for Christmas? Err, I mean, the book Santa got you for Christmas?”

The lies snowball into more and more lies, spreading throughout the year. Even three years later, you’ll still need to be alert in casual conversation and remember that this shirt came from Santa and not grandma, and it becomes a mind game, and endless puzzle for the baffled parent.

And then there’s Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, offering even more chances to surprise your offspring with happy lies. Why do we do this?

I don’t have the answer. Would it be so terrible if the presents simply came from the kids’ loving family, instead of a strange old man who is spying on them to judge their behaviour? Santa is like God for kids: clearly dividing the good from the bad, and everpresent with his watchful eye and white beard.

Though it must take quite a parent to actually go through with it and not give any gifts to a child who has been acting up!

And what about those kids whose family can’t afford any gifts and who then must feel they haven’t deserved them? They must think Santa doesn’t like them!

I love Christmas, but what good are the white lies – isn’t it possible to create magic otherwise? How many of you remember the let-down feeling of discovering Santa isn’t real? You wouldn’t lie to your friends or colleagues, so why lie to your kids who trust you to tell them about the world?

For some reason, Santa is a socially acceptable, innocent fib.

Imagine if we lied about other things, like:

“Oh yes, sweetie! Dinosaurs really exist and they live in the jungle!”

“No dear, of course the lion isn’t eating that cute zebra. They’re just playing.”

“Oh, that man sleeping on the street? He’s just tired, he’ll go home soon. Don’t worry, he’s fine. He has a nice home and kids your age waiting for him.”

Childrens’ heads would be spinning by the time they started school. Just like mine is.

I slipped up last weekend and mentioned that Santa is a fairy tale character. My kid promptly corrected me, “No, he’s not! He’s real.” Dear sweetheart.

46 replies on “After Christmas”

You raise a good point about white lies, parenting, and how remembering them steamrolls. Maybe white lies are valued by their ability to add magic to a someone’s life? Of course I like Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, considering them real [enough], so I may be biased in favor of them. 😉

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I remember when I realized Santa couldn’t be true. I waited another year before I said anything, thinking that the Christmas presents might stop. I never once blamed my parents or wondered why they had lied to me. I think you’re safe 🙂

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True! We told our kids we were giving their dummies to bunny babies when it was time to give it up. They never even questioned it, believing that the bunnies came and fetched the discarded dummies and are now somewhere out there in the forest sucking on them! 😋

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I questioned the duplicity of the Santa lie when my first child was old enough. I need not have worried. Some little horror ruined it for him at pre-school. He was only 4! But still we tried hard to get around that statement. Were children that bad that we had to bribe them, with Santa’s whims, to be good?
Don’t feel bad. I always forgot the tooth fairy. We abandoned that lie early on.

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4 is very early to learn about Santa!!! And as for the tooth fairy, I don’t think my parents did that for me.
Btw, I almost deleted my blog today after spending the entire evening trying to fix my blog’s appearance: all the widgets just disppeared without warning!!!! Now the widgets are ”block widgets” and it’s just blank white space in my admin, can’t seem to fix it. I can’t even add a follow button!!! I gueas they really want us freeloaders to upgrade to paying sites but how can I trust that it’ll work if I pay?! Argh. If blogging isn’t fun anymore, I really don’t have time for this 😣

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Hi Snow, It is a shame that the widgets are gone. What happens if you click on the plus sign – do they come up then? If not, it is probably your theme. I had to change themes a couple of times as updates by WordPress meant things were all messed up and the only way to fix it was to change themes. (still have a free plan) and no further problems. I use Dara theme – try it. The text on the Widget function says this: “Widget Areas are global parts in your site’s layout that can accept blocks. These vary by theme, but are typically parts like your Sidebar or Footer.”
I suspect it is the theme that they have not updated. Changing themes is pretty simple. Try that.

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Thanks very much for this, Amanda! 🥰 Maybe I’ll try that – hopefully changing themes will magically fix all these problems. I quite like my theme because it is a magizine-like layout and I haven’t seen a similar one in the new ones. I don’t want a blogroll because I’d like for old stuff to be discoverable. But on the other hand, I’ve had the same theme for 7 years!!!! So I think you are probably right: that must be what the problem is.

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I already did it, swapped yesterday. It’s not the layout I want, but it’s supposed to be compatible with the blocks so it’ll have to do 🤷‍♀️ The widgets still keep disappearing, though, so I’m avoiding touching them!

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Wait! Are you telling me Santa isn’t real? I mean, for sure? *sound of a breaking heart*. Here in the Netherlands we have Saint Nicholas, or, in Dutch, Sinterklaas. The very old man with a long white beard lives in Spain and in the end of november arrives on his steamship, packed with gifts. He rides the roofs on his white horse and dumps sweets into the chimney right into your shoe. Until abour five years old I was convinced this was true. I do remember when my mum had to admit this was all made up and that she and my dad had been lying all those years, I felt kind of conned and for the first time I questioned my parents cincerity. They always told me not to lie, and now they had been lying theirselves. Maybe it’s a way of preparing for the big and dirty world that was lying afhead of me. 🙂 Still, being about as old as Sinterklaas myself now, I feel a kind of childish joy when in december I hear Sinterklaas songs.

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Oh no, that sound of a breaking heart sounds haunting!! Does St Nich really live in Spain and ride a horse – whaaaat?!!!? He sounds very similar to Santa, what is it with that chimney?! I do live Xmas songs and everything about it.
You know, I almost quit blogging today because of the block widgets. All my site’s widgets just disappeared without warning and I can’t get them back. I spent too much time already trying 😟

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Don’t stop blogging please. I like your posts far to much. You are not the only one struggling with WordPress, in any case after they ‘updated’ the interface. It sucks. I wish I could help you, but the only thing I know is how to place some pictures in a grid. I hope you will find your widgets back.! I almost don’t dare talking about St. Nicholas anymore, but the story about him was made up by an Amsterdam teacher in the end of the eighteenhundreds. Funny thing is: the steam boat St. N arrives with was then a very modern way of travelling, like he would appear in a space shuttle in our times! He does look similar to Santa, in fact I believe Santa is more or less derived from St. N. The chimney with everyone using central heating is now negligent. But in my youth it made perfectly sense to drop presents in the chimney (when the child brain didn’t notice the risk of the whole lot being burned. 🙂 )

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Hah! I don’t even know how to place pics in a grid anymore. My last post was a photo post, and there’s a thick white line of empty space randomly sitting there that I just couldn’t get rid of! I even tried editing the html code, that’s how much I wanted to clean it up! But it was unfixable, and with a sigh, I pressed publish, unhappy with the way it looked. WP used to work SO WELL. I really dislike these forced changes. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?!
Now that I really dig in my memories, maybe I do remember hearing about St Nicholas as a kid, but I’m not sure. And then there’s Father Christmas, too, which technically isn’t the exact same as Santa either… I like the steamboat, it’s a nice touch!

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As a child, Santa was a strange & foreign entity for me- along with snow, reindeers and fireplaces. When I had my own children in Canada, I disliked the excesses of Christmas and didn’t care for the masses of gifts magically appearing. To keep to the spirit of the season, we did have Santa gifts but normally these were small stocking stuffer treats. The big stuff came from the people who gifted it. I don’t think the kids suffered any. Now that everyone is adult, all presents come from Santa.

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Hah, I like the twist at the end! ”Now that everyone is adult, all presents come from Santa.” 😁 I have nothing against Santa or gifts, but I dislike lying. Consumerism bothers me more during Halloween, which over here has become more of a thing each year.

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Once, by accident (I was going to say something else I think, I sometimes struggle with communication), I said “Santa doesn’t exist”. It was at work, and everyone around me was an adult. From people’s reaction, you’d have thought I insulted not only their mothers, but their whole family clans ten generations back. Later that day, I remarked that I’ve not had a very productive day and a Christmas-crazy colleague told me–with a straight face–that it was because I didn’t believe in Santa. Since then I’ve hated that creepy old bastard. I don’t have kids, I don’t buy presents (I live on my own, my family is in a different country), I don’t participate in office secret santa. (I mean, if he’s that real he should get the presents?). I celebrate Christmas in my own way. Mariah Carey sang “all I want for christmas is you” (I interpret that “you” as also something you can’t buy with money, like peace of mind, or health) and she should know–it’s the most popular Christmas pop song.

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It wasn’t that random–it was on topic, more or less (sorry if that makes it less funny!). I still feel angry, as they would not be like that towards someone from a culture that they perceive not to celebrate christmas. I could have actually complained to the management, now that I think of it–absence of faith must surely be as protected as its existence?
Anyway, about the finding out Santa isn’t real, I remember thinking that it was only logical–where I’m from, we live in blocks of flats, we have no chimneys, so I questioned how he could have got in in the first place. It just made sense to me that it was the parents.

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Yes, but it’s not normally like that–it’s a HUGE corporation and our department is like 200 people, luckily not everyone is that annoying. Only one of those people still works here. I’m working from home now so I don’t have to deal with anyone’s stupidity, thank the gods.

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Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, et al, are ways of preparing children for the real world. Kids, people will lie and cheat and double-cross you. Trust no one. This is why I would have made a terrible father!
I don’t recall being scarred by discovering Santa Claus wasn’t real, but perhaps that’s at the root of all my issues. Regardless, I reckon kids come out of childhood with issues whether it’s Santa related or something else. Life is all about how they deal with those issues.
Regrading your widget disappearance, I had issues with my blog because the theme wasn’t supported any more and it developed more and more glitches. So I switched to one that allegedly supported the new block editor format and I haven’t had any problems since. It’s still a free site though for the longest time WordPress was plunking ‘sponsored posts’ after my my recent post. They’ve disappeared lately, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come back.

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Hah, good point: who knows what kind of trust issues Santa might lead to! I don’t remember finding out, either. It just somehow stopped. Maybe I discovered presents or heard from some other kid that it was all a lie. No recollection!
Thanks for the widget/theme comment – I think I might try changing themes. It’s true that I’ve had this theme for 7 years now so it’s practically antique!!
I have ads on my blog, too. I wouldn’t mind paying for my blog, but then you’re in a loop, aren’t you? What happens if you don’t pay, does it disappear? How can I know it’ll work better if I pay?
You see, I have trust issues with WordPress. It must be due to Santa!!

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And change your theme you did! Looks good, though I wondered if I was in the wrong place at first. I’d have been willing to pay for an ad free plan, but I was so pissed off with WordPress and their ad, which was for one of their courses with an expired special offer, and calling it a sponsored post, like I endorsed it or something. The ‘sponsored post’ was there for ages, but then disappeared and I’d got so used to tuning it out, I didn’t even notice it’s absence until you posted this.

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I used to have ads break my text, WP had placed them in the middle of my post!! And they were photo ads so they looked like photos that were part of my post. It was ao annoying and I was quite stressed because they were about some stupid product and really interefered with reading my post in a coherent way. Anyway, at some point they luckily moved to the ens of my post, before the like button, again annoying but better.

I’m not super happy with thenew theme because it doesn’t look like I want it to look, but I did what you said you did: as criteria, I used compatibility with the new blocks because I don’t have time to be fixing issues here. So, voilà. Maybe I need to do a little blog post about my new theme because after 7 years of the old one, you might ot be the only one who wonders if they are in the wrong place!

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I didn’t like blocks at first, but once I used them for a while and got comfortable, I found I could do more or less everything I wanted. My biggest gripe currently is that I can’t preview posts. I don’t know why that is, but it was handy to make sure everything looked how I wanted it to before going live.

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Well said!
I do believe in Christmas magic quite a lot! I love Christmas. But to me, Santa isn’t what brings the magic. It’s the whole thing together. I don’t dislike Santa either, I’m just wondering whether it would be so bad if he was just a fictional character…
Anyway, thanks for reading and pondering magic with me!

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Thank you for this thoughtful post! I’m glad to see parents who are being intentional about this decision instead of just accepting that this is how Christmas must be done. I grew up knowing Santa wasn’t real, and my childhood Christmases were still magical. My parents didn’t want to lie about Santa and create confusion related to God being real but unseen by us. (We did celebrate the tooth fairy, but it was clearly my mom in costume.) When we were newlyweds, my husband and I discussed how to handle Santa with our future kids. We have a 9 month old now, and we don’t intend to tell her Santa is real. But we do want her to know that things as wonderful as Santa are real; the fact that Santa isn’t real doesn’t mean he’s too good to be true.

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