Is Santa Real?

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Dec 16, 2019

So recently I have had some really interesting discussions with other parents about ‘the magic’ of Christmas. 

Our girls are complete believers, from Santa to Easter Bunny, from the tooth fairy to our resident fairy Amber… our girls are total believers. 

Even this morning on the way to school we listened to a podcast from But Why? Answering the question, Are Unicorns Real? Not only were the girls both completely engrossed in the discussion, but they had their own opinions on what unicorns eat, where they live, and what they really look like! 

So when it comes to Santa… yep, they believe. Whole heartedly. Unquestionably. We even had a friend’s son try to explain to the girls exactly why Santa doesn’t and couldn’t exist. When we had some alone time after this visit, they shared this with me… uh oh…! But it’s ok, they were astounded that he could dream this up. “What is he thinking?” “Where does he think the letters go?” Phew! We are safe for another year!

Because of our global lives, the girls also understand that different friends have different belief systems, and only the families that celebrate Christmas could be visited by Santa. Other families will celebrate Diwali or Chinese New Year and they have gods and goddesses and other spirits that bless them. And there is no judgement from the girls, they know to ask a new friend if they celebrate Christmas or not, before they start talking about Santa letters. 

But then I was talking to another dad, “no, we have never participated in the belief system. My mum refused to allow us to, why would she (an African American woman) allow some fat white guy take all the credit for the hard work and effort she puts into Christmas each year!” And so, he went down the same path with his kids. I found it amazing, I had never thought of or reflected on the role of Santa in that way. 

Perhaps because as a family we don’t really make a big deal about the ‘gift’ part of Christmas? The girls write letters to Santa, and they have a wish list - which is my out all year long when they see something they REALLY WANT! “Put it on your Santa list, see what he brings you” is my standard response. A few weeks before Christmas, usually at the end of November, they sit and write their letters for Santa. A lot more colouring and drawing happens, than actual writing, but the list is always there. Then a few days before Christmas they start on their welcome letter, the one they leave out with the milk and cookies (often including a last minute special request for an extra special toy they have just learned about). And ‘Santa’ leaves them one item from their list, and some fun candy and bits and bobs in their stockings. 

So I have never felt that Santa is taking the credit for our hard work. I simply love sharing the magic with the girls, and discussing the possibilities of how he will find us (yes, we have moved every second year just before Christmas), how he manages to visit all the children who believe and so on.

For our family, Christmas has always been a really special time. Firstly, because it’s an opportunity to come together as an extended family, to relax together and catch up, sharing some beautiful food and wine. But also because it provides a time to stop, reflect and be grateful as a family for all that we have. To thank god for blessing us, and giving us these wonderful opportunities. 

This year, my parents are coming to join us from Australia. We will be celebrating not only Christmas, but my dad turning 70 a few weeks later (we will wrap it all up into one lovely celebration!)

And so, with this in mind I will be taking a break from posting for the next few weeks, I really want to focus on our family and be present with them.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas (if this is your festival) may it be a wonderful time creating some special memories... and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, a fantastic summer holiday ahead! 

Merry Christmas x

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