I told my 3 year old that Santa isn’t real. Before I tell you why I want to share the story that inspired me to write this post.
I entered a popular department store at a major shopping centre. Naturally, when we were greeted by the staff member at the door Miss 3 took that as a perfect opportunity for a chat. After pleasantries were exchanged I attempted to encourage Maya to move along and come look at the toy section. When Maya didn’t take the hint the staff member said to her “if you don’t listen to your mummy Santa won’t come. Santa only visits good boys and girls that listen to their mummies”.
To my ABSOLUTE horror, Maya yelled “NOOOOOOO Santa is not real! He is just a story!”.
All I wanted in that moment was for the ground to open up and swallow me whole! To top off the whole event the staff member was clearly confused and uncomfortable then proceeded to give me the death stare of the century! I am talking – if looks could kill, I would most definitely be dead.
Once I was able to scuttle off with my tail between my legs we finally made it to the toy section. It was again that my darling Maya proceeded to make me look like THE WORST MOTHER ever! I was tending to the baby when I heard that relentless “muuum?” Her question went a little something like this. “Mummy you know how you told me Santa isn’t real? Should I tell other kids that Santa isn’t real?”. It would’ve looked like the girls and I had an infectious disease – the aisle we were shopping in literally cleared out in 5 seconds! All around me, parents were pushing their kids away from us.
To those parents, I am sorry. I know Santa is a huge part of the Christmas excitement for you and your kids. I grew up celebrating Christmas, I get it. As parents, you will also understand that children do not have a filter. My daughter had no idea what her innocent curiosity could do to your special day.
To the staff member at the store, I am Sorry. Sorry that my 3 year old blind-sided you with the Santa comment. However, I do not believe I deserved the reaction that you threw my way.
Maya needed to know Santa was not real because we don’t celebrate Christmas in our house, we are Muslim so we celebrate Eid. Also, Santa is not actually real. Was I the only child that was creeped out by the fact that a big fat man (other than my father) was creeping through my house in the middle of the night?
After the department store fiasco, I sat down and talked to her about what happened at the shop. I explained to her that there were so many different festivals and celebrations throughout the world that no one could possibly participate in all of them. I told her that some kids celebrate Christmas and believe in Santa, some kids celebrate Hanukkah and we celebrate Eid. In my opinion, this was the best explanation I could give a 3 year old with the attention span of a goldfish.
I know that we live in Australia, I understand that there will be Christmas celebrations. I am not offended by people celebrating their religious holidays. And I would never wish or expect any public religious celebrations to be altered because they are different to mine.
Just because my girls don’t believe in Santa doesn’t mean that they were raised to treat Christmas as an inferior celebration. I will continue to teach my girls about all different kinds of celebrations and who celebrates them. Education kills ignorance and encourages tolerance and acceptance.
What religious holidays (if any) do you and your family celebrate?