I still remember the night my mom told me about Santa. She was wrapping Christmas presents one evening, on her hands and knees at the foot of the bed, when she looked over at me and in a tired voice said, “You know there’s no such thing as Santa, right?” I nodded my head and agreed to keep the secret for my two younger sisters.
I’ve since had so much fun playing Santa with my own children and wanted to find a way to tell them about Santa while still keeping the magic of Christmas alive. I hope my way left them to ponder, just a little while longer, “could it be possible that Santa is real and works through the hands of parents?” And who is to say that’s not true? (Don’t miss these other ways to tell kids about Santa.)
I wrote this poem for my children, ages 8 and 11, as a way to gently break the news to them. Yes, they will know in time, but why not let them hold onto childhood just a little bit longer.
It was Christmas time in the North Pole
and the hustle and bustle of preparations had taken its toll.
Santa was getting older as all people do,
and a few days before Christmas he began to “Achoo”!
“Sick,” he thought, “this cannot be.
What will happen to Christmas if not for me?”
He summoned the elves to an important meeting,
and said that this Christmas could be fleeting.
One little elf stood up and said,
“I have an idea that just popped in my head!
“We’ll ask the parents to help you tonight;
I know that they can do it just right!
“We’ll send them a message, and send the gift lists,
this way Christmas won’t be missed!”
“What a great idea,” Santa said.
“I think the parents will do great instead!”
Parents all over the world got the message that Santa was ill,
and the stockings this year would be their job to fill.
That Christmas morning, even though Santa was sick,
was a happy Christmas when parents played the role of St. Nick.
When Santa saw all the good that was done,
he thought, “I think I’ll always let parents in on the fun!
“Although the spirit of Christmas will remain in my heart,
the delivery of gifts will now be their part.”
Since that Christmas, it’s the parents each year
that do Santa’s work and spread all the cheer.
Santa reminded the children with a shout,
“Even though your parents help me out,
please don’t ever forget what Christmas is really about!”
Marianne Vogel is a Reader’s Digest reader from Hickory, North Carolina. She is also a member of the Reader’s Digest contributor network.