Spoiling Santa Clause


Photo Credit: Lilly Dunn

Christmas time has always been referred to as the most magical time of the year. This proves especially for children who thrive during the holiday season. Children get the opportunity to stuff their faces with holiday goodies and to open the presents on Christmas morning they they have been waiting all year for. One of the most exciting things for young children on Christmas is the anticipation of Santa Claus arriving Christmas Eve. They wait anxiously for him to arrive, some laying awake in their beds and some will bravely venture downstairs to see Santa, only to find disappointment or surprise when they find not Santa, but their parents placing presents beneath the tree. Christmas for children is magical, so parents have to be careful when they break the silence and tell their kids that Santa is only a fantasy.

For first-time, parents the first Christmas is exciting as they get the opportunity to introduce their kids to the story of Santa. For the first time, they’re not just kids on Christmas or partners, they are parents. This first year is in many ways, exciting and underwhelming at the same time. AP US History Teacher, Leigh Ann Smith, remembers the first Christmas with her only son well. For her son’s first Christmas entertaining him was easy. He seemed satisfied to play with leftover wrapping than the actual presents themselves.

“On his first Christmas he was 10 months old, so he was just starting to walk. A lot of his first Christmas he would rather play with the boxes than his presents and he was just tearing things up. It was interesting and fun,” stated Smith.

As times go on parents are able to see their children gradually grow into preteens, teenagers, and then, eventually, adults. As time passes and children grow, up their interests change and so does their perspective on Christmas. Holidays are still magical; however, kids at some point will realize that one of their biggest childhood fantasies is false. Spoiler alert: Santa isn’t real. As many know from their friends, finding this out is a big step in growing up. Many find out in different ways, some ask their parents, and some find out unexpectedly by spying on their parents. Smith knew that this would be a big learning moment for her, son but she wasn’t afraid of telling him. Growing up, her son always knew that if he asked a question his parents would give a straight and honest answer, so when he pressed the question, “Is Santa real?” she gave answered him with honesty.

“Our family has always had the honesty, don’t ask a question unless you want the honest answer. So he came up to us in bed one night and said, ‘I have a question.’ We kind of knew what question was coming. And so I told him, ‘Remember, I’m going to be honest with you, if you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question.’ And so he asked and we told him the physical Santa is not real, but the spirit of Santa is very real. We explained the spirit of Christmas is in the spirit of giving.” stated Smith.

For some parents there is still that anticipation of telling their oldest about Santa. History teacher, Ryan White, has two sons, ages seven and five. White is still waiting until his kids find out about Santa and he wants them to find out in the exact same way that he found out as a kid.

“My dad was putting out all the Christmas presents and he was being way too loud, I’m pretty sure he had too much to drink. And so I just peeked through the door and saw him sitting up and I realized what he was doing. I just thought, ‘Awe that sucks.’ So that’s how my kids are going to find out. I’m not going to tell them, I’m going to let them find out on their own like I did, and I’m also never going to talk about it ever again like my parents did with me.” stated White.

And unlike most, there is a rare group of believers who choose to continue to stay faithful to Christmas tradition. Lake Ridge science teacher, Katrina Covington likes to keep her family in the Christmas spirit by “believing and receiving.”

“Well, as far as we’re all concerned, Santa is real. Because, the minute you don’t believe, you don’t receive. So as a parent, we still believe that Santa still comes. And that’s what my kids better believe too. And also when I go to see my parents, that’s how it is there. So Santa comes and sees me when I go see my parents and visit during Christmas, because I still believe. And so Santa still gives me presents,” stated Covington.

Covington loves to believe partly for her faith, but also because it keeps Christmas fun. By believing the Covingtons can stay young and enjoy the holiday spirit to the fullest.

“The reason for this reason is for our Christianity. We still go to church and we still celebrate that part of it. But, I think that Santa is just a way to bring back a time when they were younger and it was all about giving and fun,” stated Covington.

Santa is a big part of growing up during the holidays. As a child waiting to get gifts from Santa, and the idea of seeing him, is joyful and magical. Whichever way parents choose to tell their kids is up to them, but they often have to be careful so that they keep the spirit of Christmas going, even though the fantasy of Santa may be gone. Though their children are growing up, each one of these teachers hopes that their children can keep the spirit of the holidays alive as they get older and that they can enjoy Christmas as a family.