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Sjogrens Topics => Living Life In Spite of Sjogren's => Topic started by: meow on November 19, 2014, 03:01:30 PM

Title: The Secret of Santa
Post by: meow on November 19, 2014, 03:01:30 PM
I don't know if I have ever posted this here, but for those of you with children of a certain age, this is the way we taught our sons about Santa:


In our family, we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa story is not a lie that gets discovered, but is instead an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit.

When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready.

I take them "out for coffee." We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made:

"You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [ point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people's feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.

"You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa.  A lot of children think that, because they aren't ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.

"Tell me the best things about Santa. What does Santa get for all of his trouble? [lead the child from "cookies" to the good feeling of having done something for someone else]. Well, now YOU are ready to do your first job as a Santa!"

Make sure you maintain the proper conspiratorial tone.

We then have the child choose someone they know--a neighbor, usually. The child's mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it--and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn't about getting credit, you see. It's about unselfish giving.

My oldest son chose the "witch lady" on the corner. She really was horrible--had a fence around the house and would never let the kids on Kirkcaldy Street go in and get a stray ball or frisbee. She'd yell at them to play quieter, etc--a real pill.  She came out to get her paper every morning at the exact same time, when we were driving to school. Adam noticed that she was always in bare feet or flip-flops, so he decided she needed slippers. He had to go spy and decide how big her feet were, so he hid in the bushes one Saturday, and decided she wore a Medium.

We went to Kmart and bought warm slippers. He wrapped them up, and tagged it "Merry Christmas from Santa." After dinner one evening, he slipped down to her house, and slid the package under her driveway gate. The next morning, we watched her waddle out to get the paper. She picked up the present, peered at it quizzically, and went inside. My son was all excited, and couldn't wait to see what would happen next. The next morning, as we drove off, there she was, out getting her paper--wearing the slippers. Adam was ecstatic. I had to remind him that NO ONE could ever know what he did, or he wouldn't be a Santa.

Over the years, he chose a new target every Christmas, always coming up with a unique present just for them. One year, he polished up his bike, put a new seat on it, and gave it to one of our friend's daughters, with the permission of her parents. This family was very poor. The look on her face, when she saw the bike on the patio with a big bow on it, was almost as good as the look on my son's face.

When it came time for Son #2 to join the ranks, my oldest came along, and helped with the induction speech. They are both excellent, creative gifters, by the way, and never felt that they had been lied to--because they were let in on the Secret of Being a Santa.

Happy Holidays to All!
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: Linda196 on November 20, 2014, 03:27:46 AM
This is the most delightful thing I've ever seen! Cringe at the usual "loss of innocence" revelations, but your's is revealing while being encouraging!

I have to share a wee bit of my early life here, and you will see why this struck me so deeply. My Dad played Santa on our local radio station every year, starting the year before I was born, and continuing for more than 30 years. He also visited certain Christmas parties, usually for people with varying disabilities (the CNIB-Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and the adults from the sheltered workshop that he sponsored), and was very, very convincing! Santa (and his surrounding mystery) was a pivotal part of my childhood, and stayed so until I was well into my teens, at which time I was "indoctrinated"as an Elf! Our family Christmas Eve was always highlighted by a phone call from the Jolly Elf himself, which unfortunately, Dad always missed, having just stepped out to the neighbours, or the store  ;) My cousins all got these calls too, and once I had my children, they started getting them! My daughter, 14 years old when she learned "the family secret" proudly refers to herself as a Grand Elf.

Your method touched me deeply, and I plan on sharing it with my daughter,who has an 11 year old, hovering at that point of "what if I say I don't believe, and he's really REAL and I lose him!" Thank you!
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: stephL on November 21, 2014, 08:41:50 PM
Linda196 and meow, awesome stories, thank you both  :)
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: P.Trish on November 22, 2014, 08:39:45 AM
Thanks for sharing the Santa stories!
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: SjoDry on November 23, 2014, 05:30:16 AM
Oh Meow!

What a precious story and approach to teaching a child how to be selfless. My kids are grown..but you make me want to be a secret Santa!

Thanks for sharing this lovely idea!!!

Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: Cassi307 on November 23, 2014, 06:05:52 AM
Meow what a beautiful way to teach the art of giving.
I taught my son in a different way and I am proud of the young man he has become. One year he had been saving for a long time and just about had enough to buy the bike that he had been talking about for ages. One day in church the Pastor talked about poor kids in other countries. The following Sunday he took all of his savings and handed it to Pastor for those children.
I think that when we teach our children at a young age it becomes part of their character for a lifetime.
Great job meow.
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: Bucky on November 24, 2014, 04:28:07 PM
Great post, meow.  I'm sure this has had a lasting impression on your boys.  Good for you!

I think that when we teach our children at a young age it becomes part of their character for a lifetime.

I wholeheartedly agree!

Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: wildforwater on December 08, 2014, 01:08:33 PM
That made my heart melt.

Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: meow on December 13, 2016, 08:08:10 AM

This ancient post that I wrote back in 2006 has suddenly gone viral, appearing in Upworthy, Huffington Post and several other sites---even the Today Show site.

For those of you who shared it, thank you so much for helping pay it forward!

My grandson gets initiated this week :)
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: irish on December 13, 2016, 07:50:01 PM
Meow, So Awesome. I have goosebumps. The whole world needs to know this. Maybe people would be kinder to each other. Irish
Title: Re: The Secret of Santa
Post by: Judie P on December 19, 2016, 06:29:24 PM
I am so glad you told us we could share it!  Meow, your tradition is so special it brings warm on a cold winter day.  Hugs!