When your kid doesn't believe in Santa anymore
A friend stopped by my desk today because he is facing a dilemma: He doesn't think his 9-year-old son believes in Santa Claus anymore. But he's hesitant to spill the beans unless his son comes right out and asks, and so far the little guy is keeping his doubts to himself.
I feel his pain. My 10-year-old won't come out and say it, but I can tell he has doubts too. When he was in kindergarten, a classmate with older siblings told everyone that there was no Santa. All the kids in the class told the little Grinch that he didn't know what he was talking about but my son still questioned me. I just told him that it was unfortunate that his classmate didn't believe -- after all, Santa brings the best gifts!
But when they get to be 9 or 10, what do you do? Do you wait for them to ask you point-blank if there is a Santa? Do you dive into the conversation without them asking, and just give them the news? Do you risk tears if your child overhears something that gives it away before you're ready? (That happened to a friend of mine, whose daughter ran to her bedroom crying.)
We need your help, Mommas! Do you go the "Yes, Virginia" route and talk about Santa as the spirit of love? Or do you 'fess up that it's a way for parents to shower their kids with toys without appearing to spoil them? How do you handle it? And how did your parents tell you?
-- Sherry Robinson
[A doubting Natalie Wood sizes up Edmund Gwenn as Santa in 1947's "Miracle on 34th Street"]