Counselor’s Corner: The “Santa” Talk

By Alexis Goring
Happy Santa Claus sitting at home in Northpole

As the holiday season quickly approaches, many parents urge to know when the proper time is to have “The Santa Talk” with their child.

With the fear of losing their child’s trust or spoiling a holiday tradition, some parents continue to be filled with questions when it comes to discussing the role of Santa in the Christmas holiday. The main questions parents want answered is: When, how and why, should I talk to my child about Santa?

Marie Choppin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) and Laura Reagan, psychotherapist (MSW, LCSW-C) answer your questions about The Santa Talk:

What’s the best way to start The Santa Talk with my child?

Laura Reagan: I would start off by approaching them about it with open-ended questions like: What do you think about Santa? Are your friends talking about Santa and whether or not he’s real? Do you believe in Santa? You know, just start by following their lead, asking them open-ended questions. Go a little more general about it and see how they react. Give them a chance to let you know what they’re thinking.

Can my child outsmart me when having The Santa Talk?

Laura Reagan: Sometimes, kids lie to parents and say they believe in Santa when they really don’t just to spare their parents’ feelings. For example, the parent will say, ‘Do you believe in Santa?’ and the kids will say, ‘Yeah’ and make their parents believe they do even though they don’t. They think their parents will be disappointed that they don’t believe anymore.

What tips would you give to parents who don’t want to have The Santa Talk?

Marie Choppin: A parent may not want to immediately, and that’s okay. They don’t have to have to have the talk until it’s the right time. But maybe it’s the right time when their child is 10-years-old and running around saying there’s Santa Claus. I guess I would encourage parents to remember, look—your child is going to grow up, they’re going to need to know the realities of the real world at some point. If you’re waiting too long, they may become angry with you or embarrassed because it might seem a little strange.

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