I have a 10-year-old son who still very much believes that Santa is the real deal. Still.
Up to this point, Boy Wonder’s belief in Santa has been sort of cute, not to mention super convenient. Since this kid is the absolute last person I’d trust with a secret (notorious bean-spiller), his belief in jolly old Saint Nicholas has helped keep the Santa magic alive for his 5-year-old brother. But let me ask you this, how old is too old to believe in Santa?
A few years back when Boy Wonder came to me in tears over rumors that Santa wasn’t real, I said, “Look, not every kid believes in Santa. Santa’s only real if you believe in him.” Good answer, right? I thought so. I wasn’t lying. Santa would be real as long as he believed. As parents we’d continue to play the charade and preserve the magic as long as he’d allow us to.
With each year that followed, my husband and I became increasingly convinced that each Christmas would mark his last as a believer. He started asking questions. Detailed questions. Logistical questions. How can Santa make it all around the world in one night? Who pays for all of the toys? Why doesn’t Santa make our home alarm go off? All legitimate questions right on schedule for a child who was beginning to have doubts, but then the unthinkable happened.
We answered the questions a little too well. So well in fact that Boy Wonder began to believe harder than ever before. Friends, in a poll conducted by his 5th grade classroom, my son stood alone as the only believer in Santa Claus. For those of you keeping score, this is indeed the same kid who believes in the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot.
I only hope my son doesn’t believe his way into becoming a 5th grade joke. Do we have a parental obligation to tell him the truth? Is it really so bad for a kid to believe in magic? I certainly hope not.
I can think of worse things.