We all know that Christmas is more than Santa Claus, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman. But we also know that the fantasies, traditions and classic characters are a super fun part of the holiday season. Here are some creative ideas that parents have found to keep the magic and tradition alive when the kids stop believing in Santa.
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Pass on the Santa Tradition
My friend Erin told me about a great way to help older kids make the transition when they discover the story behind Santa. When the child first hears that Santa is ‘not real’ it can be a potentially sad time. Instead, frame the story in a different way. Help the older child understand that the magic of Santa is all about the spirit of giving without expecting anything in return.
The older child gets to become “Santa” and pick out one special gift for their younger siblings. They can never tell the recipient that they picked out the gift but get to watch them enjoy the present.
Write a Letter from Santa
I have a friend with a special Christmas tradition. Each year, she has always ‘helped’ Santa write a special letter to each of her children. The letter talks all about all the specific special things that each of them has done the past 12 months and is written from Santa himself.
She helps Santa write things like this:
- I saw how you were kind to the kid beside you on the sports team.
- I saw you treat your sister nice.
- You did a good job on the project or assignment.
The letter is signed by Santa and left beside the cookies on Christmas Eve. This Mom keeps each letter so the kids can go back and remember the good things they did each year. Now that the kids have discovered the secret of Santa Claus, she is hoping to keep the tradition alive and let them continue to have a record of their kindness as they continue to grow up.
Feed the Reindeer
My kids have long ago outgrown the days of believing in Santa Claus, but that doesn’t stop us from heading out each Christmas Eve to feed the reindeer. I don’t make anything special for these animals. We simply pull out crackers, bread crumbs or oatmeal and scatter it across the yard.
The big question is what happens to the reindeer food? I’ll never tell!
Do your kids believe in Santa? How do you keep the magic of Christmas alive when the kids grow up? Got any great traditions in your family that I can add? I’d love to hear!