Years ago, when my youngest son Anton was still a young boy and chatting with me while we were lying down on our bed, he said, “When I have my own kids, I won’t make them believe that Santa Claus gives gifts on Christmas.” I asked why and he said, “Well, I want them to know that I’m the one giving them the gifts!”
This made me go back to my childhood memories about Christmas traditions. I did not grow up believing in Santa Claus. Our parents didn’t raise us believing in someone whom we can write our Christmas gift list to, who will be omnipresent on Christmas eve giving presents around the world to children who have not been naughty but nice. Most probably their Ilocano budget could only accommodate one Christmas gift per child.
I remember having some friends who believed in Santa Claus. I didn’t burst their bubble even if I wondered how they could believe such a thing. But I also thought that maybe they just went along with their parents because that gave them an extra gift on Christmas!
When it was our turn to start our own Christmas traditions, my husband Marvin and I talked about whether we should introduce Santa Claus to Martin, our first-born, or not. Like me, Marvin didn’t grow up believing in Santa Claus. So our natural tendency was to do away with it. And then I read a short article about a kid who found out that it wasn’t Santa Claus giving him the gifts after all. He was so devastated and felt that Ho Ho Ho! was actually a Ho! Ho! Hoax! He took it so negatively that he said, “From now on I will never believe anything until I see it. So maybe even God is not real because I don’t see Him.”
This was an extreme reaction but it made me feel more confident about our decision not to introduce the Santa gift-giver tradition. Other stories from friends vary from “He knew all along but he pretended for the sake of his younger siblings.” to “She was so disappointed in us that she cried asking us, “How could you lie to me all these years?’” Like this little girl, it’s the lying part of this whole tradition that bothers me. The jolly image of Santa in red suit was originated by Haddon Sunblom for Coca-Cola advertisement, and later on perpetuated in movies, books, etc. and I must admit, that concept of children receiving gifts all over the world adds magic to Christmas for both the kids and adults. There were times when I wondered, “What if we raised our kids believing in Santa?” I’m sure it would have been a thrill to prepare those gifts. Reading what my sons would tell this Santa – their Christmas wish list and why they deserve the gifts, their accomplishments during the year, etc. would be nice. Then keeping secrets and figuring out how they won’t catch us put the gifts under the tree might have been exciting for Marvin and me. For sure it’s not only the kids but also the parents who enjoy this make-believe tradition.
I also wondered whether I deprived my kids of that magic – no Santa Claus, no Tooth Fairy.
What does believing in magic really do to kids? I know it enhances their creativity. It makes them imagine things out of the ordinary. It makes them believe that they can achieve what they want to achieve. And this is the very dream of each parent for his/her child – to believe in himself, that he can achieve his biggest dreams!
Back to my conversation with my youngest son, “Anton do you think you can achieve your biggest dreams?” He answered, “Yes of course!”
There goes my case. Maybe the books we read together, the fantasy movies we watched and talked about, especially the true-to-life movies depicting how the spirit triumphs over physical limitations provided the magic. And most of all, believing in God who created us all, who sent Jesus to save us is the greatest magical experience we can ever have. So maybe we should all remember the very reason why we’re celebrating Christmas. Let’s remember this greatest magic given to us as the greatest gift and for sure, we will all believe that our dreams can come true!
As an update, Anton was allowed to follow his dream of becoming a professional host and choreographer, a path unfamiliar to us. He didn’t hear the usual lament of parents of artistically-inclined children, “Naku anak, baka gutom lang ang aabutin mo dyan!” We were more confident because we raised him to have a high FQ. Today, Anton is living his dream, he’s a Myx VJ!
To set your children to a high FQ journey, take the FQ Test together.
Cheers to high FQ and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is FQ: The Nth Intelligence.
Photos from flickr.com and freepik.com modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.