Well, once a year, there’s this fat guy with a big beard and red pajamas that slides his way down your chimney and enters your house while you sleep. If you don’t have a chimney, he still finds a way in. This is after he parks his super heavy sleigh on the roof, letting his animals that pull it just chill and possibly poop right above your bedroom window. He eats your food, leaves some wrapped stuff for you, and shimmies his way back out.
But that’s not all. Apparently, he sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, all year long. So you better be good.
Good job—you’ve now managed to thoroughly freak out your children.
Let’s try that again.
Believing in Santa is an incredibly fun, magical Christmas tradition. As your children grow, you can begin teaching them about him step by step. A two year old isn’t going to be able to understand and remember everything about Santa Claus, so start small. Teach her what Santa looks like, how he brings toys and love to everyone around the world, and that he’s special. As she gets older, you can add more details.
Since my oldest isn’t even three yet, I’m at the very beginning of this process. I’ve got a lot to learn myself, and I hope my husband and I can bring the same whimsical hope and magic that our parents brought for us when we learned about Santa. Some explanations and traditions are easy, such as leaving cookies out for him and where he lives. Other explanations take a little more thought. We haven’t worked out all the kinks yet, but listed below is how we are planning to explain a few aspects of Santa to our kids, and you’re welcome to use them, too:
Who he is: Santa is a cool, magical guy who gets to deliver toys and goodies to people all around the world. He’s kind of old, so he’s got white hair and a soft, white beard. It’s cold in some places he goes so he needs to wear his big, red jacket, hat and pants to keep him warm. Santa is someone who has been given the job to bring happiness to many people, in lots of different ways. He might bring toys, candy, money, acts of kind service, or whatever the person needs, to brighten their day and spread love during this Christmas season. We can all be like him!
How he gets around/inside to leave presents: Santa flies a magic sleigh with reindeer, and needs to park it somewhere that dogs and people can’t get to it when he’s delivering presents. So he parks it on the roof of the house and uses the chimney to get inside quickly. People leave the vents in their chimneys open because he’s welcome in their homes. But when a house or apartment doesn’t have a chimney, like ours, we want him to know he’s still welcome here. So we’ve made this special key for Santa to use to come in the front door. We’ll leave it on the door, since it only works for him, and only on Christmas Eve!
Why he brings us only one present, but other kids might get more: We never know what someone else is going through, or what he or she really need. Santa has a special list that helps him know everyone’s names and what presents they need. We are lucky that we don’t need a lot of things, because family and friends have been really nice and given us presents already. So we’ve asked Santa to only give us each one present from him. That way, we can make sure that he will have enough presents to deliver to boys and girls that need them more than we do. Christmas is more about giving, than getting.
What he stands for: Christmas isn’t all about Santa Claus. The reason our family celebrates this time of year is because of Jesus Christ’s birth. (This is where I’d explain our family’s specific beliefs about Christ and His life, ending with clarifying that Santa is doing’s Christ’s work on the earth for him, spreading love and joy.) Some people may not believe the same things we do, or may not believe there was a Christ child at all, but this season is still special to them. This Christmas month, we all focus on our families and friends and service to others. Santa is a person who does this too. So yes, he brings toys and goodies for the good kids, but he’s someone we can love and respect, just like we love and respect the people around us.
How have you explained Santa to your kids? Give us some tips!