My son asked.
At ten years old, I had to look into his sweet big brown eyes and tell him the truth.
Except I got all teary eyed, and the words I’d planned to say when this moment finally came floated from my mind on gossamer wings. Then his brother needed a moment, he somehow managed to get himself tangled up in his soccer socks… I told my son as he sat, expectant, we had to “pause our conversation.” I rushed upstairs to untangle his brother and my mind. Once he and his socks were sorted-could they possibly be any longer? My mind was still a muddled emotional mess, so I did the only thing I can do in these situations… I wrote.
When we spoke earlier, you wondered why I started to cry, and it’s because I knew this day would come one day… I knew there would come a time when you’d ask about Santa, and I knew I would have to be absolutely honest with you.
I was pretty sure it would happen last Christmas, and somehow it didn’t. When you asked today, it took me off guard because Christmas is still a few months off and I thought I’d have some time to prepare the perfect answer. You see, that’s the thing with being a parent, your kids often surprise you, and sometimes we need a few moments to gather our wits in order to really explain things. I know we talked, but then Evan interrupted us, and I feel I didn’t really get to explain it to you, and since I can always express my thoughts better when I write them down, I thought I should write you and explain…
Here is the absolute whole truth about Santa Claus…
No, Santa isn’t real, like you and me are real, but that’s because Santa doesn’t need to be real because Santa is the symbol for something great. Santa is all that Christmas is made up of, Santa is the spirit of Christmas.
Over all the Christmases you’ve had, there have been many Santas in your life. Your father and I have lovingly picked out your presents, wrapped them on Christmas Eve, and filled your stockings. We’ve rang bells outside your window and made loud sounding footsteps outside your door. We’ve munched on cookies, and carrots leaving bits and crumbs on Santa’s plate; so that come Christmas morning, when you’d wake, we’d get to see the wonder and excitement in your eyes and our hearts would burst with joy.
We weren’t the only keepers of Christmas magic in your life; we had elves helping us too. Your aunts and uncles, grandparents, and other people who love you have all helped create Christmas magic for you. We wanted you to understand the real gift of Christmas. The magic that is Christmas, which is love, and giving from the heart. Simple moments like decorating our Christmas tree or writing Christmas letters to Santa.
Michael, Santa doesn’t need to be real. He doesn’t need to be something tangible you can see. I know you’re inquisitive mind has probably wondered about some of the logistics with Santa, but your imaginative side, the side that can create these awesome stories will see the importance of this secret. More importantly, I know in your heart you’ll get this. It may be hard to accept, I know it was for me when I learned the truth, but don’t let go of your belief in Santa. Keep him alive in your heart.
We, your father and I, and everyone who has ever given you a gift with “From Santa” written on it believes in Santa. We believe in the love and magic Santa is made up of and we want you to continue to believe. We want you to keep Christmas in your heart too. We gave you the gift of Santa, because we knew one day you’d also get the important job of keeping the spirit of Christmas and Santa alive in the hearts of younger kids (and even some bah-hum-bug grown ups) by helping create the magic of Christmas too.
Now that you know the truth, it is your job to help us keep that magic alive for your little brother and every other kid out there who isn’t yet old enough to handle this important responsibility. One day, you’ll be doing it for your own kids, and have Elves too, like we did to help keep Christmas magic alive.
You are now a keeper of Christmas magic.
Though this Christmas will be a little bit different for you, because you’ll be an elf too, helping keep the magic of Christmas alive for your little brother, you’ll see it won’t be any less magical, so please don’t stop believing in the magic of Christmas my darling sweet boy. Keep it alive in your heart, hold the true spirit and meaning of Christmas which above all else is love and giving alive in your heart for all the Christmases to come, and Santa will forever be real.
All my love,
P.S. You’re probably wondering about Peppermint our Elf too…It’s been tough coming up with all those mischievous things for him to get into, this Christmas I’m putting you in charge of making Elf mischief!
He was totally cool. He did get teary eyed, he said it was because, I’d never spoken to him that way… As though he “were grown up”. We spoke of Jesus and how God gave us the gift of his son on Christmas. We spoke of St. Nicholas, and how the spirit of Santa was born. He’s an amazing kid, and though I am a bit sad to see this part of his childhood come to an end, I know there will be more childhood lasts, and many new firsts. What an honor it will be it share them with him.
I’m off to cry a little.