kids

This is how you answer the question, "Is Santa real?".

Because the moment will eventually come when you will have to.

My daughter Lucy and I have been exchanging notes since the school year started. We’ve talked about all sorts of things – sports, books we’d like to read, adventures we’d like to have, even stories from when I was in year three. For the most part, though, it’s been light, casual stuff.

Until last week.

I NEED TO KNOW, she wrote, using capital letters for emphasis. ARE YOU SANTA? TELL ME THE TRUTH.

What do you do when your kid asks for the truth? You tell it, of course, doing your best to figure out a way that keeps at least some of the magic intact.

"I NEED TO KNOW, she wrote, using capital letters for emphasis. ARE YOU SANTA? TELL ME THE TRUTH."

Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”

I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mum did for me, and the same way her mum did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)

I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.

"I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights."
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This won’t make you Santa, though.

Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.

I love you and I always will.

Mama

Have your children asked you about Santa? How have you answered? 

This article originally appeared on Cozi and has been republished here with full permission.

Want more? Try:

Presents to buy your kid’s teacher (that won’t end up getting binned).

How to wrap a present in under 15 seconds. It can be done.

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