I’m really torn about Santa and my kid. On one hand, you’ve got a method of keeping you child good all year with threats of diminishing toys from the man up North. The finale of Christmas morning with excited children tearing into gifts and screams of delight because you gave in and bought them the light saber they asked Santa to please, please bring them. On the other hand, you are setting up your kid for the greatest disappointment of their lives. Well, the first of many ever increasing disappointments, but still, you are the reason for the first and most memorable.
So what is a parent to do? Do you sit your kid down at four years of age and tell them that there is no Santa? Do you keep up the façade until they are 18 and then pretend that you just found out for yourself the harsh truth?
I say, let your kid find out about Santa the way they find out about sex.
The first step is to always not answer their questions. Avoidance is key here. Answer their questions with questions of your own. Make their question seem like an intrusion and that there will be punishment involved with further queries. Just like with sex, if you frustrate them, they’ll quit asking.
Q. Is there a Santa?
A. What do you mean is there a Santa?
Q. Is Santa real?
A. Where did you get that from?
Another sure method is to let them walk in on you. With sex, you leave the door open while grunting and screaming. With Santa, leave the door cracked while you are wrapping gifts and saying things like “This X-Box with faulty ventilation is making me so hot!” When they walk in, scream and pull the wrapping paper over your chest. Shriek at them to get out. Later, go to their room and sit on the bed next to them and ask them if they have any questions about what they saw. Answer their questions with, “Well, when you are older, you will understand.”
Friends are the best form of misinformation available. Usually it starts off with the atheist kid blabbering his mouth in the second grade. The atheist kid always changes schools, so you’ve got two/three years to let the information sink in a ferment. Some other kid will come to school with a story about their older sibling not sitting on Santa’s lap anymore and making out in the food court instead. If your kid comes home with a black eye after defending Santa’s existence, you might want to console them with some ice cream and talk to them about imaginary things like the Easter Bunny and Peace in the Middle East.
Finally, it’s time to sit down and pull out the diagrams. Diagrams scare kids and they will go into a waking coma. When discussing sex with your kid, the illustrations of the ovaries alone will hold them off for a few years. When you get the charts out with the numbers of how fast Santa would have to travel, the cultural differences about good and sin, heavy petting reindeer, and the sheer mass to lift ratio necessary to lift a sleigh filled with toys; you will find you child susceptible to any suggestion. At this point, say that Santa does exist right here, and touch their heart with your wallet. Then lay them over on the floor and let them sleep it off. They will awaken the next morning refreshed and appeased.
They will know the answers and know enough not to talk to you about it. Just like sex.