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Surviving The First Holiday Without Santa

December 21st, 2015     By Boys Town Contributor,  Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

Family, Parenting Skills

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.

The majority of parents dread the year that their kids finally outgrow Santa. Well, in our home, that year is this year. Our oldest is nearly 10, and the 2015 Holiday Season comes with a slightly different feel. The excitement of going to see Santa Claus is a little more subdued, and the magic and wonder of the night before Christmas is much less, well, magical. Yet, I find myself not in a sad state (probably because I’m experiencing this with my first child and not my last) but in a state of wonder and magic.

Our discussion regarding mythical beings began a few months back when my son lost yet another tooth. “You’re the tooth fairy, right, Mom?” he asked. Like any good parent in this situation I would typically think up a really good lie as to why his question was so entirely absurd… but in my heart I knew it was time.

“Yes, I am,” I said.

Even though he was expecting that answer, I could tell he was a little deflated. So I immediately dialed up the excitement. “Now that you know, you get to be on our team!” I said. “Your sisters still believe, so its up to you to help them believe as long as possible and make it really exciting for them.” He responded really well to this answer and has since been the biggest tooth fairy advocate in our home. Watching him in this role is where the magic and wonder comes in for me. It’s rewarding to see my child in the new role of the older, wiser sibling. I love seeing him get so excited for his sisters when they lose a tooth. I like to think that how they behave in these roles is a reflection of how they see their parents. After all, “monkey see, monkey do.” And my son is wonderful at it, so it makes me feel as if I’ve actually done something right for a change.

But as Christmas nears, I worry that his excitement about being on the older, wiser team will start to fade. After all, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are on two very different levels. I’ve read many a parenting article on the best ways to handle this, but a particular letter holds a special place in my heart regarding how I plan to approach this delicate situation with my son.

If you don’t read the full letter, here is what you should take from it:

“Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others. What he does is teach children to believe in the something they can’t see or touch. Throughout your life you will need this capacity to believe…”

“You’ll need to be able to believe in things you can’t measure or hold in your hands.”

“So no, we are not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. We are on his team, and now you are too.”

For me, this is the perfect way to sum up what we all should be learning from the holidays.

For more information on parenting, check out boystown.org/parenting

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