I love the magic of Christmas. I love the way it changes people and they think about others much more. Charities often make more money in December than the rest of the year and children sing carols and cheerful songs at school.
Although it is very commercial it can be a real time for families to come together and children are so excited as they look forward to a special day.
So why would I ruin all that by telling my sweet blue-eyed daughter that there really is no such person as Santa?
Firstly, I am not advocating this is right for every child. My daughter has autism so I chose to explain there is no such person as Santa for the following reasons:
1. Her literal thinking was causing her so much distress about Santa.
Books, TV programmes and all her friends at school talked about Santa coming down the chimney. We don’t have a chimney and no made up story of magic keys or flying through windows could change the fact that even the song talks about Santa being stuck up the chimney!
She took Santa’s grotto as literal too, so became very distressed and confused that Santa could be in the middle of the shopping mall, at her school party AND in the North Pole making presents all at the same time?
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Why did some Santa’s wear glasses and others didn’t?
Why would some be tall and thin while others were short and tubby?
There is no enjoyment in the make believe of a story when your child sees everything in black and white and will not ‘play along’ just for the sake of it.
2. Her anxiety over all things Santa was stopping her sleeping.
The very thought that a stranger would enter her house while she was asleep utterly horrified her.
Even though the whole story of him leaving gifts for her should have eased that anxiety she was worrying over how Santa would carry everything, whether his reindeer would get too tired or even if she would be forgotten (cheers for that one Peppa Pig!)
The very mention of Santa was not exciting my child or making her suddenly want to be on the ‘nice list’, it was in fact causing her to stay awake at night worrying and making her jump every time the door bell rung.
I could not continue to see her so nervous and anxious over something that was meant to be a joyous and wonderful occasion.