Sophie continued to ask and ask. Our policy was always to respond with, "What do you think?" We did that. She replied, "I think he is. What do you think?" I would say, "Go ask your Dad." Josh would say, "Go ask your Mom." It didn't exactly work the way I thought. So, after her asking and asking, I looked at Josh and whispered, "I think it's time. I'll do it." I waited for just the right moment and followed her up to her room. I sat down with her on her floor and started playing baby dolls with her. I played for several minutes (I could feel myself getting nervous) and then said, "Sophie, Santa Claus was a real man - St. Nicholas. He loved children and he was a Christian man." She immediately said, "I know he WAS real, but is he alive NOW." I said, "No, he's not. Mommy and Daddy give you your presents." Her face immediately turned a shade of red and she smiled a big smile. She look relieved! I felt so relieved.
"St. Nicholas was a wonderful man who cared about the poor and children. All of the Santas you see dressed up are trying to carry on the legacy of St. Nicholas - loving children and giving gifts. Mommies and Daddies are doing that too! That's why we played Santa with you."
I've heard people express concern - if you lie about Santa, then what will they think about Jesus. I really tried to make that connection with her.
"We believe in Jesus - period. He is our God. Christmas is about Jesus. We worship Him. He was alive, He died and now He's in Heaven preparing a place for us. We worship Him each day and try to be like Him."
There were absolutely NO questions about that.
Then she asked - "What about elves? Reindeer? Who eats the cookies? Reindeer food?"
I replied, "I eat the cookies." She lost it - belly laughing!
I said, "But, I've never eaten the reindeer food!"
"Of course, reindeer are real. But, do you think they fly around the world pulling Santa?" She said, "No." And elves... "No."
I went on to say, "I need your help now. It will be great to have another helper!" She was totally pumped to be my little helper and help me eat the cookies! She's so excited to help me wrap and stuff stockings.
I made sure to include, "You must never tell your brother or sister or any other child in the world. That is the responsibility of their parents!" She understood.
The next morning Sophie woke up and said, "Mom, so if you and Dad buy everything - that must cost a lot of money!" "Yes, Honey, it's a lot of work," I replied.
I'm ALL ABOUT working hard, setting out cookies, sprinkling reindeer food, stuffing stockings and waiting to put all the presents out until the night before Christmas and having the kids walk down the stairs and have that big WOW moment on Christmas morning!!
But... a peace comes from telling my children the truth and the season becomes way more simple all of a sudden. I was amazed to see the peace and joy fill Sophie as she was told the truth - and I was filled with peace and joy. It was a beautiful moment together.
What about you? Do you have a story?