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Parenting on the Plateau: How Do You Santa?

Santa is a big deal around here. Very big deal.

Parenting on the Plateau: How Do You Santa?

As with everything, there is a lot of talk and debate on the best way to go about the handling of Santa’s presence in the home. Whether you're looking at it from a religious standpoint or a secular one, this mythical tradition is bound to keep you on your toes. 

Santa is immense and has parents reciting details that are specific and crucial to keeping the perception of the big guy real.

For as long as possible. 

From counting reindeer to writing letters (complete with North Pole postmark) and baking cookies, great efforts are made to keep the magic alive.

In an unofficial online survey of friends, family and a random Twitter acquaintance, I’ve been inquiring how families approach the topic of Santa. My precocious and inquisitive daughter has me doing some research and collecting a pocket of answers to have ready for her never-ending questions. (FYI – Santa’s favorite cookies are chocolate chip and it takes exactly one hour to get from here to the North Pole. He told us so. On several occasions.)

Because of her questions and analytical nature, I don’t doubt that her “Santa story” will be a short-lived one through her childhood; and although I realize we can’t keep Santa’s mystery a secret forever, I would like to eke out another year or two, certainly for the benefit of my youngest. Call me old fashioned.

It’s a bit of a challenge when you confront the tedious tangle of fibs.  From a Christian viewpoint, many argue that if you fool your children into thinking Santa is real then they will begin to doubt your words when they realize the truth – and further doubt your teachings on Jesus, who is obviously based on faith.  Others argue that generations of children have been raised on the myth and few blame the tragic reality of Santa on their reasons for not choosing a Christian belief.  I can’t even remember when I found out the truth, but it certainly hasn’t harmed my feelings of Christmas or my religious preference.

It’s a tricky two-step and I’m not quite sure where it’s headed.

Society isn’t making it any easier on us parents as Santa pops up on every piece of advertising and is in every local grocery store.  We have Santa sitting in helicopters. Santa even walks through Petco (in a poor costume which prompted my son to loudly announce “that’s not Santa, that’s a girl”).  We have Santa at Windmill Gardens and Santa at the fire station – and often at the same time. 

How can this man literally be everywhere and how do we respond to our children when they see him acting in very life-like human ways (such as a friend and her child’s run in with the old man getting out of a beat-up Dodge pickup)?  Or turning up as a no-show to a Santa featured event?  Our kids are smart and they want some answers.

And how the heck are we also supposed to tackle the ever-growing additions to Santa’s circle?  A lot of the work seems to be getting outsourced to the elves and these critters might be even more unsettling as they are popping up on shelves (and in toilets and in windows and in closets…) while seemingly making a living out of sneaking around our homes.  I’ve seen Prep & Landing and Arthur Christmas thankyouverymuch.

After several weeks of Santa saturation, I’m not really any closer to my decision on how to combat the inevitable questions. Right now, I’m trying to be content in my children’s blissful naiveté as they unashamedly celebrate everything about the holiday season with wide eyes and open hearts. In my book, it’s OK to believe in Santa while still recognizing Jesus. Why can’t we embrace both? And yes, I also enjoy the brief window of time when I’m able to enforce chores and manners by those favorite parenting words: “Santa is watching.”  I’ll figure out how to untangle this web of deceit when I absolutely have to.

For now, embrace Santa, and check out the Portable North Pole (PNP) videos online where you can create personalized videos from Santa.  They are super cool and wildly effective. And on Christmas Eve night, if your little one refuses to bed down, track the big guy on the

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