When my Son Asked, Mom, Does Santa Exist?

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Anca Deaconu on Special Time

While I was shopping with my son the other day he saw Christmas decorations for sale. He wanted some bells and, to be completely honest, I wanted them too, so we got them right away.

ask-santaOnce we got home, he asked me for the Special Time that we do every afternoon and I happily agreed. So, for the following 30 minutes, he chose to play a new game, “The Christmas Eve.”

– It’s Christmas Eve, he said. You are a little girl and I am your father. And (pointing to his table) this is the Christmas Tree. Now go into your room, it is bed time!

(He shows me the couch; I follow instructions.) Now you hear the bells! (He rings the bells we bought.) And a big noise! Boom! Something fell through the chimney! (I excitedly run to the Christmas Tree). Ha! It is a sheep! Exactly what you wanted! Now call your dad and tell him what happened!

“Daddy, daddy, come quickly! Santa has arrived! And look what I got! A sheep, exactly what I wanted!”

Ovidiu gets closer, looks at the sheep and answers:

“That was not Santa, my little girl. Your mommy bought this for you.”

For a second, I totally froze, not knowing how to respond. And then I remembered that this was Special Time and he was in charge, so my role was not to provide answers and explanations, or to launch into never ending discussions about Santa’s existence, but rather provide space for him to think through play. I decided to stay in my character and go with the flow.

He repeated this scenario a couple of times. He – still in the role of my father – asked me to go back into my room, while ‘Santa' kept returning, ringing his bells and delivering various toys through the chimney. Me – as the little girl who heard the bells – kept calling my ‘dad' who, in return, told me who bought each and every toy.

This time we got to spend together made me wonder: has my son given me the signal that he knows the truth about the jolly man with a beard? Most probably yes.

Yet, the little girl that I was playing was definitely still able to hear the bells ringing. So, with or without Santa, the magic wasn’t spoiled.

I'll end this anecdote with a quote from one of Ovidiu’s favorite stories, The Polar Express:

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

Read ‘Tis the Season to be…Disappointed to find out what your child really wants most from the holidays

Special Time is one of Hand in Hand's five listening tools. Get this guide to find out how they can stop your parenting stress

Certified Instructor Anca Deaconu
Certified Instructor Anca Deaconu

Anca Deaconu is a Certified Hand in Hand Instructor and a playful mother to one son

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