A lump formed in my throat as I handed him the letter. I watched as he took it outside and sat down to read it in the garden. A tear rolled down my cheek. This was the end of something special.
You have asked a really good question – “Is Santa real?”
I know that you want to know the answer, so I have given it some careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is yes — and no.
There is no one, single Santa.
Dad and I fill your stocking and choose and wrap the presents under the tree — just as our parents did for us, their parents did for them, and you will do for your kids one day.
This could never make any of us Santa though. Santa is lots and lots of people who keep the spirit of Christmas alive.
He lives in our hearts — not at the North Pole.
Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others. What he does is teach children to believe in something they can’t see or touch.
Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe in yourself, in your family, in your friends and in God.
You’ll need to be able to believe in things you can’t measure or hold in your hands.
Now you know the secret of how he gets to visit every house on Christmas Eve — he has help from all of those people whose hearts he has filled with joy.
With hearts full of love, people like Dad and I take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So there is no Santa who lives at the North Pole. Santa is love and magic, and hope and happiness.
We are on his team and now you are too!
But part of that important job is to keep the magic alive for people who think that Santa is one person who lives at the North Pole — like Laura.
It’s very important that you do not spoil it for her. Let her believe and have the same magic and wonder that you did — until she is ready to know the secret.
We are very proud of you and love you oh, so much. And we know you are going to make a great member of Santa’s team.
Love Mum xoxoxo
(Disclaimer: The above letter is a version of one that I saw posted on Facebook last year, which I kept and modified for my son. I thought it a lovely way to answer the tricky question of Santa, so thank you to whoever posted that last year!)
My son came in soon after with a knowing look and a smile.
“Right,” he said, with a wink.
“So what do you think?” I asked him, sure that he would be a little sad. He is quite a sensitive soul after all. “Are you okay?”
“Yep,” he said with a big grin.
Oh, so it was only me who was having difficulty with it all.
So while his sister was playing with her Barbies, I took him outside so we could talk more freely and not give the secret away.
“Do you have any questions?” I asked
“Well, the Tooth Fairy? What about her?”
“Same kind of concept.”
“I thought so,” he said.
“And all the letters that Santa left us, you just wrote those in different writing, didn’t you?”’
“And the crunched up carrot and reindeer food. Did you eat those carrots and spit them around the back patio?”
“Dad and I did.”
“That would have been hilarious,” he said. “Can I help this year, seeing as I am on the team now?”
So we sat for a while and he asked all kinds of questions ranging from how much we paid for the bike that Santa brought him, how does Santa bring back their Christmas letters every year (seeing as they have been posted in a letter box), and who eats the food we leave out for Santa.
After we had talked, as perceptive as always, he said to me: “I’m not sad about it, but I know you are, aren’t you?”
And yes, part of me was feeling sad because I had just farewelled my innocent, little boy who had been living with us for nearly 11 years. One of the last remnants of his ‘littleness’ was now gone.
There would be no more letters to Santa (except to keep the pretence up for his younger sister). There was no more ‘tricking him into bed’ because Santa was coming. No more gazing at the sky to look for a sleigh, and definitely no more entertaining theories on how Santa does what he does.
However, in front of me was a grown-up version of my son. He was wiser, stronger and happier for the knowing. Taking it all in his stride and already thinking about what he can do to make Christmas special for his 8-year old sister.
Since he has learned “Santa’s secret”, we have had many secret conversations about Christmas and Santa (often behind closed doors or while his sister is otherwise occupied), which has delighted him. He feels very grown up and is chuffed to be ‘in on it’. He even told me that I did “a pretty good job at being Santa” and that I “thought of everything!”
Thank you my darling. I tried to make it as magical as I could.
While it is sad for me to let my little boy go, it is also a wonderful privilege to be there with him as he grows into a gorgeous young man.
I would like to officially welcome him, as the newest member of Santa’s team.