Calvin and Hobbes and Santa Claus

I always get a bit nervous when I see my son’s teacher has sent me an email. I’ve gotten a bunch over the past few years. Some good, letting me know about something spectacular he had done that day (especially with writing, since that’s something he constantly struggles with), and a few that were not so good. Mostly about his behavior or a scuffle on the playground.

And this week? This week I got the email informing me that my child was telling everyone in his class that Santa didn’t exist and it was just their parents putting the gifts under the Christmas tree.

Oh shit.

A few months ago, I briefly mentioned in this blog, the evening my boy found out the truth about Santa Claus from a Calvin and Hobbes comic. He cried himself to sleep that night, and kept repeating, “I’ve lost a friend! I’ve lost a friend!” The day after this happened, he went into complete denial mode and I just let it go. It was in the summer and I didn’t feel the need to discuss it anymore at that time, and he definitely didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

I started thinking about this again a few weeks ago but was really unsure how to bring it up. I really, really wanted him to face the truth. I hate lying to him and I wanted to stop the charade. I don’t think he ever noticed the different wrapping paper or hand writing or any of the other tricks we implemented, so why even bother? I wanted him to figure this out himself, I guess. Although is it better to tell your child, “Hey, I’m sorry but I’ve been lying to you your entire life,” or is it better for them to figure it out (or read about it) and feel betrayed? It’s all just icky.


Instead of finding a way to bring this up, my son did it on his own. He mentioned Santa a few times last week, and I just looked at him and shrugged my shoulders. He knew the truth and I wasn’t going to flat out lie anymore, so I let him think about it. At that time, I had no idea he would say anything to his friends. NO IDEA! I thought he hadn’t completely admitted to what he really knew, so there was no sense saying anything about keeping it  a secret.

After getting the email from his teacher, I told my boy that he needed to keep the information about Santa to himself and he asked why. I told him that it might upset some kids and they didn’t need to know this right now and they didn’t need to hear it from him. He kept whispering, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know, I didn’t know. I’m really sorry.” I let him know that it wasn’t his fault. I was responsible for this. I never told him not to say anything. Apparently when my kid learns something new, everyone needs to know about it.

I asked my son why he told people about what he learned. “Some kids were talking about Santa and I thought they should know the truth. They don’t know, Mom!” I told my son if any of his friends asked him about Santa and the presents, that he needed to tell them to ask their parents about it and let those parents deal with it from there. (And if any of you are parents of children in my son’s class, I AM SO SORRY!)

In a weird way, I feel proud of the kid. Even though he hated the truth, he felt others shouldn’t be left in the dark. And maybe he didn’t want to feel so miserable by himself, which is exactly what I would have done. Misery loves company, right?

I thought I’d feel really sad when this little piece of Christmas magic died out, but I’m not. If you know me, you know that I *love* Christmastime. I love the music, the lights, the gifts, the movies, the stories, the whole shebang. And I love Santa Claus. I love the entire idea of him and what he stands for. Giving because it feels good is a fantastic thing. But I don’t like telling my child that this old man sneaks into our house once a year and leaves boxes in our living room while we’re sleeping, nor do I like telling my child that it’s ok to sit on that old guy’s lap. Seriously. All of that is really creepy.

Now my child will know that his parents stay up way too late on Christmas Eve and wrap and put things together and make everything appear picture perfect, all because we think he’s pretty darn great.

Star Wars figurines? $20

Video game?  $50

Knowing how awesome your parents are?




2 thoughts on “Calvin and Hobbes and Santa Claus

  1. You never tell your kid there isn’t a Santa! You let them figure it out on their own as they get older. I still believe in Santa Claus, and always will. There has to be food for the child still inside, or might as well forget those beliefs that made the magic of growing up special. If I wasn’t going 50 miles an hour across old man Perry’s, field, or rode my bike so fast that sparks flew in my wake, that the tree house wasn’t up near the clouds, or that when the half of the baseball bat that flew out of sight and was never found when Jimmy Cote hit the ball so hard he broke it, it didn’t really go out into space, then there would have been nothing special about being a kid. Imagination of how magical we made every event in our lives, was the integral part of being a kid. It gave us wide eyed wonder, and faith that anything was possible. We lose that when we become adults. I say let them believe in magical things for as long as they please, while they still have the chance. They’ll have the rest of their lives to feel cynical.

    • Pat, I used to say the same thing, until I had my kid. I *hate* lying to him. I hate it. There are other magical things in this world that are real–the first snowfall of the year, seeing a deer in the field across the road, having a kitten fall asleep in his arms. Those are all real and even more magical.

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