Warning: Santa’s spoiler.
As we were wrapping the Holiday presents for the kids, I can’t help but feeling guilty lying to the kids. They were told to go to bed an hour early on the 24th, so Mom and Dad could do the wrapping. Of course we didn’t tell them that. Instead it was, “If you want Santa to give you presents, you need to go to bed early tonight.” I asked my husband if he feels the same way, but all I got was a long, “Well…”
His parents did the same thing to him and his sister when they were little, and he does not think they did anything bad by lying about Santa.
My guilt built up when I prepare the cookies and milk for ‘Santa’. I had to pour the milk only a little bit, so the kids would think that ‘Santa’ did drink it. Before we went to bed, hubby made sure that we throw away some cookies. Davi had made a card for ‘Santa’ and she also left some coins by the cookie container. We made sure all of those got taken away to illustrate that ‘Santa’ was here.
Me: “Geesh, I feel bad.”
Hubby: “Didn’t your parents do the same thing when you were a kid?”
Me: “Duh… we don’t celebrate Christmas.”
Hubby: “I know. I meant like the Tooth Fairy thing. Telling your kids that she’d give you money for an exchange for your tooth. It’s that kind of lie.”
Me: “Nope. We don’t have that kind of hope to hold on to in order to go through our difficult childhood.”
Felt even worse when the next morning my daughter checked the cookie container and pleased to see that they’re gone. Her face lit up when she says, “Mommy look! Santa ate the cookies and drank the milk. And he did take the card, the candy cane, and the money.” I almost blurted the laugh out loud, but her precious expression (a mix between amazement, excitement, and proud) kept me from it. For all seriousness, what would you do other than a lame, “Wow… honey… really?”
I feel like slapping my own face. Flat out lying to my daughter like that. If it’s considered as a white lie, will it be less harmful? She already figured out that Easter Bunny doesn’t exist. She doesn’t believe in Tooth Fairy neither, but will exchange her tooth with me for a dollar.
Is believing in some fictional characters really giving our children more comfort and happiness? Do you lie to your children about Heaven and Hell too? For some of us who are religious, it’d probably easier. Just refer them to the Holy Book (Bible or Koran), it will usually shut them up right away. But do you, yourself, believe in your lies? We taught our daughter that some people do believe in Heaven (like Mom), some don’t (like Dad). And it’s up to her to believe in it or not, not up to us the parents.
I have a feeling by next year, she’s not going to believe in Santa anymore. Because when we asked if she had a difficult time falling asleep that night ‘Santa’ was supposed to visit, she said yes. Curious if she was having problem because of excitement, she said, “Well, yes… and I also heard a lot of noise by the family room. Then I heard your cough. Did you see Santa last night?”