To believe or not to believe

When I was a kid, I was told about Santa. I believed in him, for a little while anyway. My grandpa would take us to see him on Christmas Eve at the local Eagles club, and he’d give us a candy cane, an orange and some walnuts along with a small present to hold us over one more day. I guess I always knew he wasn’t real. I mean, Santa didn’t always look the same, and he sometimes smelled of brandy and rigatoni.

I learned, though, that I must be careful around other people’s children and that the same goes for other parents. A friend of mine doesn’t tell her kids about Santa. She happily takes all the credit for the goodies her kids receive and makes sure they are grateful. “I work too hard to let some fat b*!#@$^ take credit,” she said. “I want my kids to know that their mom made their Christmas as nice as it is.” Amen, sistah.

Another mom friend tells her 2-year-old that Santa is just pretend and for fun. Yes, the truth. I applaud that idea too.

Now that I have a kid who is old enough to really get into Christmas, and one baking nicely at the moment, I’ve wondered what we would do about Santa, or not. Do we play into the whole Santa game? I say, yes. But don’t overdo it. If your kid asks if Santa is real, maybe then that’s the time you come clean. My husband loves to dress up. He was so excited to buy a Santa suit and likes entertaining the kids. Is it going to shatter their world and make them socially awkward when they find out that the big guy in the red suit isn’t the magical man who brings them whatever they want or deserve for being good all year, and that he’s just plain ’ol dad or some drunk dude who needs a job at the mall? I don’t think so. It’s nice for kids to have imagination, hope and innocent excitement. Is there real harm in Santa? Kids are smarter than some people want to believe, and they do figure it out eventually. I mean, it seems kind of like a “no duh” at some point. And if your kid is 14 and still believes in Santa, maybe he probably also has other delusions of the world and is a bit naive. Just saying.

A girl cries Sunday during a picture with a man disguised as Santa Claus in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

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    Christine Teldeschi

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