Daddy, Do You Believe In Santa?

9 Dec

do you believe

letter Last night during dinner our family snuggled down in the big comfy couches of our living room and watched “The Polar Express”. Like so many holiday stories, the major theme as revealed at the end of the story is “belief for belief’s sake”. In the epilogue we learn that as the boy’s friends grow up, one by one they lose the ability to hear the sleigh bell as they each eventually stop believing in Santa. But the little boy, he never stops believing. As the credits roll (and “The Polar Express” is no exception in the pantheon of Christmas movies) we are left with the notion that holding on to belief for belief’s sake is a virtue, and that those who have lost it are in some way diminished.


Teeth brushed, pajamas on, lights out, my 7 year old daughter crawled into her bed, fantastical images of the movie still swirling around in her head, and I laid down next to her for a little snuggle-time. A few minutes pass with the sweet, soft breathing of a child on her way to sleep. After a time she slowly rolled over and whispered quietly to me, “Daddy, do you believe in Santa?”


Now it should be said that this girl is a born skeptic. She is nobody’s fool, and she will be the last person bamboozled when the snake-oil salesman comes to town. When we watch “The Wizard of Oz” she sees the little guy behind the curtain more than the billowing, blustering fireball on the throne. This past spring, in a similar bedtime situation, she rolled over and confessed apologetically to my wife “Mommy, I’m sorry but I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny isn’t scientific and I just can’t believe in something that isn’t scientific.” But that said, I think everyone can appreciate how, compared to believing in the Easter Bunny, Santa is in a completely different league.

This being the holiday season, there are faith-centered images and messages everywhere. Children come to school talking about angels and miracles and the little baby Jesus. Relatives openly express their beliefs, different though they may be from your own, at family meals and on holiday cards in your mailbox. Kids are inundated by the notion of “belief” this time of year, and my kids are only just now old enough to listen to the things people say, think about those things to themselves, and then form their own opinions. What follows can be pretty profound.

SupermanRedemptionTPJust this Friday we had Christmas music playing in the house when out of nowhere, my daughter comes up to me and says, “Daddy, why do they say ‘god our heavenly father’? That doesn’t make any sense. God isn’t my father. You’re my father.” Then later in the weekend I overheard a very amusing discussion between my kids and their older cousins about whether or not Jesus actually had super powers. If nothing else these are moments to teach our children that everyone believes something different, and someone else’s beliefs are just as important to them as yours are to you. You have to respect that fact when you’re talking with other people.

That notion is applicable to Santa as much as it is to anything else.

I love that my daughter is a thinker. I’m proud of that fact and I want to celebrate it – to encourage it. But if belief for belief’s sake is the providence of children, then logic and reason are the hallmark of adulthood, and there is no clearer indication that my daughter is growing up more than the fact that she is thinking for herself.

So I found myself at that very uncomfortable crossroad. I’m proud of my daughter’s budding intellectualism and I want to encourage her to let it grow, but I also want her to stay my little girl for as long as humanly possible. I want her to think for herself, but I don’t want her to lose the magical naiveté of childhood belief any sooner than she has to. Meanwhile lying there next to me, my daughter’s heart really wanted to believe in Santa, even if her mind was telling her something else entirely.

My head and my heart are pulling me in two different directions, just as hers are.

So she looked to me, asking for permission… permission to let either her heart or her mind win out over the other. In so doing she was asking me to choose between encouraging her intellectual integrity and selling her snake oil. In that moment I had to decide.

Do I help her grow up, or hold desperately on to her fleeting childhood for one last moment?


“Daddy, do you believe in Santa?”

I laid there quietly for a moment not answering, afraid that my silence was enough of an answer for her.

On her bedroom floor against the wall was a little musical instrument her baby brother had toddled in and left earlier in the day – a Velcro wrist-strap with sleigh bells on it. Without answering I rose up from our snuggles, quietly made my way across her room, picked up the sleigh bells and brought them back to her bedside. Kneeling down I kissed her on the forehead and said, “Can you still hear the bells?”

“Yes,” she answered.

“So can I.”

That was enough for her.

Polar Express Bell

-Dork Dad

130 Responses to “Daddy, Do You Believe In Santa?”

  1. Beatrix Lamorgue December 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Beautiful post (:

    • dorkdad December 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      She’s a beautiful girl.

  2. Jeff Messer December 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    I’m fearing some of those same conversations with my nephews down the road, especially with Jess and I being the ones in the family who tend to “think differently” about those things. Nice post, Sam.

  3. my27stars December 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    What a sweet way to answer such a tough question. 🙂

  4. Anonymous December 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    You are a wise, wise man and father to a wise, wise girl.

    • dorkdad December 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

    • Alice December 9, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Oops, it’s Alice!

  5. DI December 10, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    Reblogged this on Children's Rights.

  6. larva225 December 10, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    I’ll have to remember that one. I’ve been wrestling with my feelings a whole lot on the topic of To Santa Or Not To Santa. I love it and am probably more excited about it than my kids. I understand other people think it’s somehow anti-god and a “lie” to their kids. I feel sad for their kids. I understand, logically, why they make those choices, but I still just get sad.

  7. readingwithafeather December 10, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    I think this is one of the best ways to let your child decide for herself. I don’t have any kids and am 21, but my mom has a one year old and I’m excited for all of these times with him. The way you did it really let her make her own decision. If she was going with what her head was saying, she would have asked more, but the heart won over. The belief makes Christmas feel real and I think a kid who holds onto that belief will learn a lot quicker to find their own “magic” of Christmas. Beautifully said. Your kids seem wonderful.

  8. Eric Hegwer December 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm #


  9. thedorkydaddy December 11, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Wonderful, wonderful post. With my little guy currently at 16 months, I know I’ve got some time, but admit that I am dreaded the moment someday when a similar question gets posed. Your response, as well as the way you relayed your torn nature, was brilliant! Thank you!

    • dorkdad December 11, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      You are very kind. Thank you.

  10. livewellbywendyruck December 13, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Reblogged this on livewellbywendyruck and commented:
    Love this x

  11. jamescole95 December 13, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Great post made me smile and feel all festive!

  12. sandysutioso December 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    is goods N hollyday

  13. Danielle Middleton December 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Really lovely post made me smile!

    • dorkdad December 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      She makes me smile every single day.

  14. VintageInk December 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    That was a beautiful post 🙂
    And she is a very wise little girl 🙂 Your answer was so .. poignant. Made me smile 🙂

    Merry Christmas. 🙂

  15. mitzeigreuenshaeden December 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    HURK!!! Oh… my heart has just been pierced. Your reply to her was incredibly beautiful, of course, but it’s going to break her heart. Same as it broke mine, it’s going to break her heart.

  16. arohulufastcash December 13, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    wow ??? Spectaculer

  17. Kylie December 14, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    This really is beautiful.
    My daughter and I had that same moment this week, but she’s 8 and it ended a little differently. I’d love it if you’d read it: Won’t You Ring a Bell with Me?

  18. Nicki Daniels December 14, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Wow. You’re a great writer. I was blinking away tears at the end. Your little girl sounds like one in a million.

  19. dadofknucklehead December 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Well done. I think my Knucklehead was afraid of the answer he’d get, so he never asked. I weaseled out of it by saying things like, “Let’s see what’s in the stockings!” rather than, “Let’s see what Santa brought!” In other words, don’t sake, don’t tell was the unspoken holiday mantra. But I had so much fun finding the cool little gifts to fill up the stockings that I wasn’t about to stop. Now, he and my wife have the job of filling up my stocking (he’s in college these days), so it’s even more fun to see what they come up with.

  20. Mary Ann Barton December 15, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Love your post, DorkDaddy! Yesterday I was cooking for a potluck and getting all worried about Christmas shopping that I haven’t done yet, but I took a break and read this post and cheered right up.

  21. drbibeall43 December 15, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Lovely story. It reminds me of the situation with our children. We had the problem of two children two years apart. We knew our son would hear about Santa at school, but we wanted our little daughter to experience Santa (and the Easter Bunny, etc.) as long as possible. Our son was in second grade and our daughter was in kindergarten. One day, Brian came home from school and announced, “Mommy! I know who the tooth fairy is! It’s YOU!” I hurried him into the bathroom and closed the door behind us. We had a full discussion on the matter there. Debbie knew something was going on but she didn’t comprehend the full situation. I could hear her asking Howard about the situation. He said, “That’s Mommy’s Counseling Center in there!” Of course, Brian couldn’t keep a secret. He told her about it Christmas morning. We were visiting my inlaws at the time. Debbie entered the kitchen and announced, “You got me this doll!” The best aid plans–

  22. Choosing December 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Great post! – So far I have always answered these kind of questions from my boys by asking back “do you?” to see which way they lean. 😉 At the moment we have 1 rather firm believer (5 years) and 1 older brother (9) who sorted things out by himself at one point this year… having read something in a book. He came to me afterwards and said in a low voice “You know mum, I know that Santa does not exist. Neither does the Easter Bunny (I think he deducted that one). He feels very grown-up know and smiles gently when his brother talks about Santa. He still loves Christmas and gets as excited about it as the little one.

  23. annelainec December 16, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    That was a wonderful story! I wish that my own father would have done something like that. When I was young, and a few days before Christmas, I was staring out the window and I said “I swear daddy I can see Santa!” His reply was, “You know he’s not real, right?”
    It broke my heart.
    I have already thought about how I will tell my future children, and after reading this post, I will have more confidence telling them!
    Thank you!

  24. stampwithtaylor December 16, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    awwww! all the feels!!!

  25. Stonehead December 16, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Youngest son, then aged nine: “Pa, you know Father Christmas?”

    Me: “Umm, I suppose so.”

    “Well, he’s a fat old man isn’t he?”


    “And he’s got a really bad beard?”


    “And he rations out stuff like toys so only nicey-picey kids get them?”

    “Erm, yes.”

    “Sounds a lot like you then…”

    “I’m not fat!”

    “I bet Father Christmas says that, too.”

    He flashed a cheeky grin and darted off before I could another word in.


  26. mirrorgirl December 16, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    I did appreciate your ability to think deeply about how your Child feels in different circumstances. That is a good dad. Psychologists honor

  27. Jeremy Podolski December 16, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    My 8-year-old daughter sounds a lot like your daughter. I like the very poignant way you answered her. I often tell my daughter that I choose to believe we live in a world where magical things can happen, something that is especially true at Christmas. It may be indirect, but it is also true in many respects.

  28. brian211young December 16, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Clever and quick thinking! Lol not sure how I would have answered that, but kudos to you. Another bullet dodged for now! Cheers

  29. babyandabirkin December 16, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Aww love this story and great job on the bell!! Quick thinking for sure!! Found some great ways to answer this on Pinterest (or even how to tell them that Santa doesn’t exist as an actual person but a festive spirit… Said better than that obviously lol) thanks for this!

  30. tomywonderland December 16, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Great response. Well done!

  31. countrygirl91 December 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Awwww! So sweet. Great response

  32. Anonymous December 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Questa è una prova.

  33. lebene13 December 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Reblogged this on chonu.

  34. pensitivity101 December 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Beautiful post, and a wonderful response so as not to destroy a child’s magical belief.

  35. karriebowen270 December 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Reblogged this on Musings From A Media Junkie.

  36. orthodoxmom3 December 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Awwwww…. I have to remember this answer! My older son believed until he was 11! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that…contrary to opinions of family members…lol

  37. Melba Christie at Poemattic December 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    I still believe in Santa for he is a symbol of so many things good and pure. I remember how heart broken I was when my children figured that Santa was not real. I guess it meant they had somehow lost their innocence. I collect Santa figures from all other the world. They do have to have a certain look. The look that makes me want to believe in him. Unfortunately, the whole concept has been made too commercialized. So, I understand a parent’s concern. Thanks for your thoughtful post. Enjoy the season and the time with your children. It goes so fast. The next thing you know is you are telling your grandchildren about Santa. Merry Christmas!

  38. Neighbor Nancy December 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I hope your daughter remembers that special moment. You make me miss my dad in a really good way. Thanks.

    • dorkdad December 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      That may be the nicest thing anyone has said to me on my blog all year. Thank you.

  39. flyinguineapig December 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    That was a really nice way to answer her question. This post was very well written, too; I appreciated that.

    I don’t plan to have kids, but for some reason I’ve thought about this issue; I guess because my brother does think he wants kids at some point. I personally don’t think I’d tell my kids about Santa, partly because I feel like Christmas has become very secularized, and I don’t want it to lose its original meaning, and partly because my thinking is that they’ll find out eventually anyway. I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about the story/concept in general, though, and they’d no doubt hear it from their friends, so maybe it ultimately wouldn’t matter.

    • dorkdad December 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      The secular parts of Xmas are the best parts. Those are the parts that are for EVERYONE.

      • flyinguineapig December 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

        I guess I’m not saying the secular parts are bad in themselves. We decorate the crap out of our house and exchange gifts and have parties and all that. It’s mostly the commercials and deals and all that which bother me. I just worry that corporations are taking too much advantage of a holiday that is ultimately meant to honor God. I agree that Christmas should be for everyone. It’s just important not to lose the true meaning of it. I’m not criticizing at all, and I apologize if I came of as obnoxious.

      • dorkdad December 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

        One of my core tenants of this blog is that I will not let it be used as a platform for discussion about religion or politics — by myself or anyone else. That is not to say that I don’t have very strong, well articulated thoughts on those subjects, particularly as they relate to my children, but this blog is not the place to discuss them.

        With respect to the “true,” origin of Christmas, let’s just say that there is legitimate room for debate on that subject and leave it at that.

      • flyinguineapig December 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

        Sure thing. Again, I’m sorry if I overstepped a boundary.

  40. maryanne28 December 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    My grandchildren are two and four. The two year old talks to the home made Mr Sock (puppet) even though he sees me speak for him. Then when it’s his turn to hold Mr Sock, he waves it at me and speaks for him too. He gets it, but on some level he still believes. The four year old isn’t interested. I know you’re agonising and having been there before you I empathise, but can I just say that I believe that when a child is ready to ask a question, he or she is ready for an answer. On the other hand, you say that ‘logic and reason [is] the hallmark of adulthood.’ Well yes, but then many of us do spend our adult lives trying to find our way back into the hundred acre woods. Welcome to the parenting world. You seem to be doing a fabulous job of it so far.

  41. spiceboy80 December 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Absolutely lovely.

  42. Jeff Harbeson December 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Well written…thank for sharing

  43. Taswegian1957 December 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Reblogged this on My Other Blog and commented:
    I really liked this post and wanted to share it with others.

  44. Taswegian1957 December 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Lovely post, reblogged to “My Other Blog”

  45. aFrankAngle December 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    I’m 60, almost 61, and I believe in Santa Claus.

  46. denealwilliamson December 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    I LOVE YOUR RESPONSE!!!!!!!!!!!

    • dorkdad December 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Thanks. It was a close one. Pulled it out of nowhere.

      • denealwilliamson December 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

        It is a bit thoughful really 🙂

        I saw this thing recently about parents explaining to a child that Santa is real as long as Christmas spirit is alive. As long as people want to believe in a day so happy the world smiles and everyone thinks that everyone else deserves a present and a family etc. So even though there is no fat man putting out the presents and mum and dad so that bit, that does not mean Santa isnt real.

  47. outlier00 December 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    This made me smile. You have a really smart daughter. Maybe she’ll grow up to do great things and change the world in the most wonderful ways.

  48. jmcapurso December 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Reblogged this on jennifercapurso.

  49. csmithMIHI December 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    This is such an amazing post. You handled that situation so well. Although I am not a parent, I have an amazing opportunity to be close with many families full of children. So I’ve been able to watch children grow into adults. Because I no longer live at home, most of the children I know still believed in things like Santa Claus before I left home. Now when I come back and visit, many of them no longer do so it’s crazy to think how much things have changed and this makes me wonder how those conversations happened.

    When I grew up.. I stopped believing when I accidentally knocked over a picture in my dads office that was hiding a poster I asked Santa for. On Christmas day, as I opened it, I smiled and said, “Thanks Mom and Dad!” When my mother replied with, “Your welcome”… it was all confirmed.


  50. The EnlightenOne1906 December 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Reblogged this on Cloudy With a Chance of… and commented:
    Lovely post & I still believe in Santa!!

  51. girlbwrittin December 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I was curious to see how you’d respond while reading your post. I was more than thrilled with how it ended. I think you gave her the best answer you could in that moment. It reminded me of a night long ago with my own father, tucking me into bed, only, reading your story, it was as though I was experiencing that night from his perspective. I love that you want to encourage your daughter to gain her own ability to think independently, that you foster her critical thinking rather than dampen it. I’m in college right now and it’s been a transition after spending my life in a private school. From the time I was five years old until the time I graduated, my teachers were presenting us with all kinds of thoughts and theories. They gave us the freedom to decide. They challenged us to find out what it is we believe and why. When I began attending a public college, everything changed. They preached “critical thinking,” but I quickly discovered that they enforce the exact opposite. They want to hear a particular mainstream form of thinking be parroted back from us. They don’t like being challenged, even respectfully challenged. Growing up, I had many nights similar to the one you described with your daughter. “Daddy, is Santa real?” he pointed out an evening similar to yours with the bells. A neighbor of ours (a grandfatherly type), after discovering I was beginning to have doubts, jingled bells behind our backyard wall one Christmas Eve and shouted, in his most convincing voice, “Ho, ho ho!” and left it up for me to decide about Santa. When I became an adult, long-since not believing in Santa Clause, I asked my parents for explanation for that evening which they were happy to provide with lots of chuckles. But besides the Santa questions, I also spent many growing up years asking my father other challenging questions, questions that, to be honest, might make my heart skip if I become a parent one day and my child unexpectedly poses them to me. I hope I have just as wise an answer as my father did for each of mine: “Daddy, why was I born?” “What is my purpose?” “Is God real?” “What happens when I die?” “What does it feel like to die?” “How did Jesus get inside of Mary?” “Can the Crocodile Hunter come to my birthday party?” “Do you think I can be the President someday?” “Why do I have to learn to write?” “What is the meaning of eternity?” I encourage you to keep training your daughter to think independently, to be safe coming to you with her thoughts and ponderings, and to not be afraid of what she might ask or challenge you with (intellectually speaking). I hope that one day, when she’s twenty years old reflecting back on how you supported her during her developmental years, she’ll think back on you with fondness and praise like I think back on my own daddy. You’re giving her a priceless gift right now. Keep it up!

  52. angelasmith7725 December 17, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    beautiful response…love the approach

  53. russymaini6 December 17, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    Reblogged this on russymaini6.

  54. TONY SEBASTIAN December 17, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    This really heart touching 😦

  55. Monica DiNatale December 17, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Good suggestion for everyone!

  56. helenjain21 December 17, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I love how you handled that. Even though I don’t have children (yet), I have plenty of nieces and nephews who have asked me some difficult questions.

  57. Crystal Lynn B. December 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    She’s so smart 🙂 I’m glad she still has some room for imagination too. Imagination and creativity push science, medicine, technology, etc. further than most realize. I have more faith in the younger generations when I see how smart some of them are. Wonderful post.

  58. girlswithproblems December 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm #


  59. Cookie Soul December 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    This is wonderful! It’s not about logic and reasoning all the time. Magical naiveté means a lot. I’m glad about the way you responded to your daughter.I still feel excited about Christmas & I got my BSc recently.

  60. Matt December 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Wonderful job, sir. The writing part. And the human part.

    • sdobie December 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

      Beautifully written, beautifully handled more importantly. I am a scientist and preserving magic is something of the human spirit. When my older son was 7 and the younger 4, the older’s santa gift was a bunk bed. This involved: moving him from his bed to mine, assembling the bunk in his room, his bed being moved to the younger’s, and the next morning he asked, “what am I in your bed for?” “I don’t know,” I answered. Then I had to get the little brother up and out to my room before he noticed other furniture in his room. Down we went to the tree…

      Before I go on, let me say that my older son is like your daughter: evidence driven, logical, not a fanciful kid.

      The younger saw his puppet theater immediately and was delighted. The 7 year old looked and looked and finally saw a tag on the rug: To Matt from Santa…with a ribbon that seemed to go back up the stairs. He followed it, opened the door to his room where it led him, and his brown face turned white as ghost when he saw the bunk bed.

      He turned to me: “mom, I know why I was in your bed. Santa must have tapped on my window to scare me out of there so he could bring in the bed.” He heard the bells for several years after that.

  61. levijohn December 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    This is really heart touching and lovely article. I like this article very much….

  62. dreamerrambling December 18, 2013 at 5:07 am #

    Wow. That was beautiful. You sound like such a wonderful parent. If I ever have children, I want to handle such a situation as gracefully as you did. Just beautiful.

  63. Awakening Tempest December 18, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    This is indeed a wise post. Explaining such beliefs to children is extremely important task – especially when Children seek to learn from what they see, experience and are told.

  64. tamberrinoartstudio December 18, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Brilliant post, and perfect response to your daughter’s question. I am fifty years old and I still hear the bells. I hope I always will. 🙂

  65. Paris December 18, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Beautiful post. I’ve handled it similarly.

  66. Geekus Extremus December 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    A masterful escape Erik Weisz would be proud!

  67. RobotDancing December 19, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Lump in throat! What a great answer for your daughter; believing in the magic of Santa is what matters, and you kept that alive for her. Amazing father.

  68. Mark December 19, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    “Mommy, I’m sorry but I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny isn’t scientific and I just can’t believe in something that isn’t scientific.”
    Your daughter is awesome my friend

  69. candacedclouse December 19, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    I am currently writing a blog about the celebration of Christmas and how I do not like what it’s become. Thanks for Sharing.

  70. R. Vazquez December 19, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    i like it… hope more situations like this are still happening in most of our homes. Thanks

  71. R. Vazquez December 19, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I enjoy reading this post.. I hope you too enjoy it.

  72. mavic December 20, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    wonderful post =) congrats on being featured in freshly pressed!

  73. Pazlo December 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    When I go Bigfoot Hunting with my grandkids, they ask me if I think Bigfoot is real.
    Don’t children benefit from some mystery & wonder?
    Do we have to reveal to them already, at 8 or 11 years old, that they are destined for 70 years without magic?
    70 years of toil punctuated by a few highlights, dogged by long periods of boredom.
    Who wants to be the bad guy? To break the spell?
    Not me!
    Do I believe in Bigfoot?
    “Well,” I tell them “the basis of scientific research is not about whether or not someone believes something. We must gather data and analyze it, and draw conclusions based on facts.”


    • dorkdad December 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Ever run into any snipes out there?

      • jaklumen December 29, 2013 at 4:31 am #

        No matter how the snipe hunt is run– a snipe is an actual bird.

  74. Cimmorene December 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    This is beautiful, DD. It’s no wonder this made Freshly Pressed. I’m glad you were able to handle this situation in a way that worked for you.

    • jaklumen December 29, 2013 at 4:39 am #

      She’s not mentioning that the way we broke it to *our* daughter was showing her as a young 1-year old with me in a Santa suit (yeah, I did that gig, once).

      See… I don’t jive with the idea that keeping a Santa tradition with children is “lying”. She was suspecting for a long time, and when we revealed the behind the scenes work, she simply decided to become a part of it (for the sake of her younger brother).

      Anyone can be Santa. It’s like those secret Santa exchanges at work, or school. You don’t believe that your co-worker or schoolmate is an incarnation of some fanfic of Nikolaos of Myra. You see them as participating in a tradition. And there’s no reason why one’s children can’t also see it that way.

  75. Book Club Mom December 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    I love this. Great answer!

  76. Susannah Ailene Martin December 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Aww. Too sweet. I’m doing Santa with my kids, though. I don’t feel like having to rip their hearts out at some point in time. Your daughter seems wonderful.

  77. Norma December 22, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Really liked your simple yet different approach of answering the question. Sometimes their simple questions are so difficult to be answered.

  78. Noel December 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Great post. My daughter is 5 and I struggle with how to answer her inquisitive little questions every day. I don’t think I would ever come up with anything quite that perfect and balanced. Great blog in general btw. Bookmarked!

  79. fraziermichael December 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    I loved this! I just watched polar exspreas today, and was doing some heavy thinking about its thematic implications. I couldn’t have chosen a better day to come across this post.

  80. chelsealouhaden December 23, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    Lovely post.

    I do feel it sad that we lie to our children about magic when in fact magic does exist, maybe not in the sense of the Easter bunny or Santa. Finding out neither existed fortunately didn’t ruin my belief in magic as an adult. But I think it’s important to show your children (as my mum did) that magic exists in other ways such as ; love, kindness, optimism, generosity.

    These got me through!

    • dorkdad December 23, 2013 at 6:02 am #

      I think it would be deceptive to call those things magic. They’re wonderful things, but they don’t ask you to believe in something that doesn’t comport with your own personal observations.

  81. Azfar007 December 25, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Hello sir, I really loved your post… Children would be so very innocent as well as wise if they were brought up like fathers like you who can come up with so apt answers to their questions. Loved it. Thumbs Up!

    • Azfar007 December 25, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      ** “BY fathers like you…” Sorry for the mistake.. 🙂

  82. touchoftori December 26, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Come check out the video I post from Google recapping 2013! Its so interesting everyone should watch it (very short)

  83. sonsofzadok1 December 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Children have been mislead for years and still are being mislead ,I myself now 60 am feeling the pinch at not being able to buy my grandchildren presents due to my beliefs , I myself was brought up to believe in christmas and feel like I am denying them to what I had . My mind was made up when I entered into the search box
    youtube , origin of christmas

  84. Hadley December 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    I never told my son. I let him believe until he was ready to not believe anymore. I wouldn’t let anyone ruin it either. The last time he really believed in Santa he was 12. At 13 I couldn’t tell if he did or not and at 14 he admitted that he was afraid that if he didn’t believe in Santa he wouldn’t get anymore presents. He came about it naturally in his own way, which is how i think all children should. Let her make the decision, she will know when the time is right.

  85. remodelingpurgatory December 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    Beautiful story and the perfect ending gave me chills.

  86. amyishyper December 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    When I asked my dad if Santa was real, he said “Think about it. How could some fat man get down all the chimneys in the world in one night?”. I’m kinda glad he just told me straight.

  87. thisoldtoad2014 December 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    why yes stacy, i do believe in santa…

  88. estellahernandez December 31, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Our children of this day have nothing to look forward to. They have no passion for the future, no love for life past the front of a TV screen. All they can think of is how to conquer the next Call of …….DEATH game and how to kill the next bad guy in the newest video game. Kuddos Dork Dad! You, yes you still are giving your children space to dream and use their imagination in ways we use to use it, for good.

  89. jaschlenk January 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    I loved this post. My daughter is only 6 months but she has already learned so much and I know before long I will be faced with similar situations. I only hope I can instill the same inspiration into my daughter as you did yours. Wonderful post!

  90. sandysutioso January 2, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Yes i am believe santa

  91. justmylittleramblings January 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    I was honestly holding my breath! Adorable post, and I think you made the right decision. Its good to let kids be kids, while also letting grow intellectually, and sometimes that’s a hard balance!

  92. Why?Matters! January 3, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    It brings Christmas back.

  93. livingwithshadows January 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    what a perfect way to handle a difficult situation. i have a 16yr old with aspergers and tourettes and he loves this film, we have to watch it every christmas eve and even though he’s figured out santa is not the one leaving the pressies he still checks if he can hear the bunch of sleigh bells that hang on the ear of the rocking horse, just incase he may have lost the spirit of christmas during the year. i wish the film had been around to help me out with his older sister! whip smart at age 8, sometime around christmas, she came and sat next to me and very calmly announced “mum i don’t believe in santa, there’s just so much that can’t possibly be true. will you tell me the truth?” i was fooled by the calm demeanor! I told her about saint nicholas and that parents carry on the tradition to honour him and to bring that sense of magic to our modern christmas. i thought i had done so well until seconds later she was litterally sobbing her eyes out, wailing like a banshee and doing her best hulk smash impression on the sofa! if i am ever asked the santa question again by any other child i will be holding a copy of the polar express in one hand and some bells in the other quicker than you can say there is no santa!

  94. Free Range Chick January 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    I’m also going to have to remember this one. Our eldest is only 2, and I just can’t get used to ‘Santa this’ and ‘Santa that’. Currently, his perception of Santa is a big biscuit jar in my mum’s kitchen. But by next Christmas it will be different. Excellent post. Must watch that film with him first!


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