The Truth About Santa Claus. It’s something I struggled with a lot when my kids were very young, especially because, being Muslim, we don’t celebrate Christmas. (However, there are other Muslim families that do.)
For us, my parents came to Canada from East Africa in the 70’s. Even though I was born in Canada, we never grew up celebrating Christmas. We never put up a tree and I don’t ever remember believing in Santa. My parents told me the truth about Santa when I was young and that was it.
As we got older, we incorporated some of the fun traditions of Christmas like a big family turkey dinner, probably with a bit of a desi twist on the turkey. And we even exchanged gifts. But that was about it.
Fast forward many years to me having children. While they were young and at home, the question of Santa Claus and Christmas didn’t arise much. And when it did, I could address it with, “Well, we don’t celebrate Christmas.”
But then came preschool and the questions got more frequent and intense around the holidays:
“How does Santa go to all the kids’ houses in one day?”
“Why doesn’t Santa come to our house?”
“Can we go look out the window to see if he can see Santa flying home?”
“We’re having a Christmas concert at school and Santa’s going to come and give me a present there.”
“Where does Santa go after he leaves the mall?”
At that point, I didn’t know what to do. The simple “We don’t celebrate Christmas” wasn’t working. And I really didn’t want to lie to them. Especially because I was lying to them not for their benefit, but for the benefit of the kid’s they would meet or go to school with. Was that okay? After I have always taught my kids not to lie and that I would NEVER lie to them, is it okay to lie for someone else’s benefit?
I grappled with it for awhile. But in the end. I decided to tell them, the truth about Santa. I knew there was a risk involved but I also couldn’t live with myself if I continually lied to them year after year.
And it turned out okay. After I sat them down and explained that Santa wasn’t real, but a made up story, I also explained to them that lots of other kids really believed in Santa. So we had to keep this little secret to ourselves as to not ruin the fun for the other kids who did believe.
Four years later, the kids are both in grade school and yet, neither of them has spilled the beans on the truth about Santa. I know it could have gone either way but in the end, this decision worked for me.
Of course, telling them the truth about Santa also means they won’t believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Switch Witch, but I’m okay with that too.
Would you have done the same thing or would you have done it differently?