Would you lie to your children? At Christmas?

7 PM January 19, 2005

Karen and I are finding it really hard to ‘do’ Santa Claus with Mitchell and Connor.

For the last few years Mitchell has been somewhat suspicious about Santa Claus. Two years ago we dismissed his concern, telling him, “If you don’t believe in Santa Claus, Santa Claus won’t believe in you” and if Santa doesn’t believe in you, he can’t bring you presents, can he? One year ago, he wanted to build an alarm to attach to the door on Christmas Eve, so he could catch Santa Claus, and verify it for himself. But this year, Mitchell boldly and proudly declared – within earshot of younger brother Connor – that there is no Santa Claus.

We admonished Mitchell that he should let his brother go on believing in Santa Claus, and Mitchell agreed. But Mitchell can’t keep a secret.

On Christmas morning Mitchell and Connor woke up, grabbed their Santa sacks and openned them on the family room floor, showing off each one as it was pulled from the sack. Being a polite boy, Mitchell couldn’t help himself, “Wow! Thanks Mum!” Karen replied with a meaningful stare, and Mitchell figured out what he’d done wrong. “I mean… thanks mum for all the presents you gave me… before… for my birthday…”

Since Christmas, I’d been wondering whether it was OK to keep “lying” to Connor about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. There are pros and cons, but then Connor made it clear that ongoing deception costs.

Being six, Connor is losing his baby teeth. They go into a glass of water, and the tooth fairy takes the tooth, leaving fifty cents. Always fifty cents. In the form of a single fifty cent coin. That’s the way it works at our house, and I’m pretty sure Connor has appraised his mouth, maybe even taken out a mortgage against it. So last week, when Connor lost a tooth while staying at his grandmother’s, and Grandma asked how much the tooth fairy left for a tooth, Connor said, “four dollars.”

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(Posted to Stuff, Christian Life and Tall Tales)
© 2003-2006 Alan Green