"Don't tell me there's no such thing as Santa Claus," my eight year old daughter said and quickly covered her ears.
"Why is that such a bad thing?" I responded.
"I'm not listening... I can't hear you."
Rather than get angry by her response, I chose to view it much like an adults behavior, when we are sometimes given the truth and then refuse an answer that is anything other than what we'd like to hear.
"What are you going to tell me next? That there's no sych thing as the Easter bunny?"
Not a bad idea I thought, but chose to save that for another time.
I tried a different approach....
"Well let's just say you believed me, why would it be so bad if Santa truly doesn't exist?"
"Who would bring me presents then?"
"Well I could assure you that me and daddy would give you gifts, but what if we couldn't? Would you be so dissappointed that you'd want to spend Christmas with another family?"
"Well....no.....I would still want to spend it with you," she said with a hesitant reply.
I knew that 'Santa' without presents held no bearing on her so I proposed another question.
"Well what if there is a Santa, but he shows up without gifts every year, would he still be so important to you?"
"ummmm," she hesitated, "no".
"What if there were no gifts on Christmas at all, would you still celebrate it?"
"Why is that?"
"Because it's Jesus' birthday. You should know that mom."
Finally we were getting somewhere.
"So you meant to tell me that since there's no such thing as Santa, and if I never got another Christmas gift, I should still be happy on Christmas?"
"I thought you knew that mom. We don't celebrate Christmas because of Santa or gifts... We celebrate it because of Jesus."
"Oh so you mean I shouldn't be upset?"
"No mom, you don't need Santa to have Christmas. You need Jesus to have Christmas," she said while stroking my hair.
"But please," she continued, " let's not tell daddy that we know Santa is not real yet, he might get upset that we knew it was him all along. Let's wait until after Christmas."
I laughed, and thought how too many times we really underestimate how smart children are.
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