My youngest son, about 7 then, came to me a few days after Christmas: "I know Santa isn't really real. I know it's you and Dad."
"Really? What did you get for Christmas this year?" ?
"This and this and this...."
"And in your stocking?"
"This and this and marbles and jacks...."
"Marbles and jacks. Would *I* have ever given you marbles and jacks?"
Silence. Wide-eyed thoughtfulness. Huh.
Worked for another year, anyway.
Thing is, there was no trauma about it; no sense of betrayal that Santa was real one day and not-real the next. No sense of "You lied to me!" because the lie was understood to be necessary to the Santa story. Like Neil said, "Kids aren't stupid". Santa is real, and then Santa is a story. So?
Let us know your Christmas thoughts, preparations and details!
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