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life's hard questions, and letting other people answer them for you

life's hard questions, and letting other people answer them for you

DJ is almost 9 years old. He's at that age where he is doubting the existence of a fat jolly guy dropping gifts down your chimney. So he's been baiting me, trying to get me to say there is no Santa Claus. I keep giving him that time-honored standard of "If you believe in Santa, then he exists," but he's not buying it. We had a little talk about it yesterday and these were some of the questions he came up with:

If the elves make all the toys why do they say, like, Nintendo on them instead of santa's workshop?

Do they elves get paid? Do they get lunch breaks? Did they have to go to school to learn how to make all this stuff?

How come when something is broken or the wrong size you return it to the store and don't send it back to the North Pole?

How come Billy Rolan got a computer for Christmas last year when he's mean and bad all the time?

If Santa and his elves are so smart and magic and stuff, then how come they don't make a video game that's like the X-Box and GameCube and PS2 all together? Wouldn't that save them the trouble of making all the different games and stuff?

And santa has to be magic if he can make reindeer fly, so why don't we ask him for things like that for Christmas? Like can't he tell us how to fly or make our pets fly or something?

Never let it be said that video games have dulled my boy's imagination.

So, dear readers, what do I do? Do I a) assume that he already knows the truth and just wants me to come out and say it, b) convince him that there really is a santa and let the lie live on for another year or c) just get it overwith and tell him that I'm the one who buys the gifts and therefore I deserve all the credit for whatever he gets? (and hence, the blame for what he doesn't get).

Play "Be DJ's Parent for a Day" and tell me what you would do or come up with feasible answers to any of his questions.


He already has figured it out, just say it or you'll seem like a liar. Don't put blame on yourself though ;)

When my daughter began to question Santa, I was finally forced to tell her the truth. But I added that Santa had really existed at one point and that his spirit lived on which is what made people who are so stingy throughout the rest of the year give gifts to folks at least one day a year. So in essence Santa still lives, in all of us.

You could answer the question with a question. “Well DJ, what do YOU think?”

I was five when I did came to my Mother with the “If that’s from Santa, how come it says Mattel on the box?” She said, “Just don’t tell your sisters OK?”

Do what my parents did: point in one direction to distract him and run in the opposite direction. Works everytime.

oh my god.....do kids these days really doubt santa so young? I think im in for a big shock! My daughter is 4 and she asked me last week were is santa's reindeer and i never thought for a moment she may be doubting this whole xmas thing.You got me thinking now...

I remember when I got to this point myself. I asked my mom point blank and she's not one to lie to a direct question. She told me there wasn't really a santa claus, but that there sort of one, and asked me who I thought it was.

"Jesus?" I guessed. No, turns out the correct answer was her and my dad, which, hell, makes more sense anyway.

I think that Santa Claus is a cool deception, and one done ultimately for the benefit and happiness of kids, I like it. But once kids start asking direct questions, I think it's time to let them in on the world's little secret. Otherwise you're just perpetuating confusion at that point.

I would say, tell it to him straight, and then urge him to be in on the responsible brotherhood of people who know there is no santa claus at the north pole by not dashing the hopes of younger or more blindly trusting kids who DO still believe.

Because he already knows, and he's trying to see if he can get you to come clean. I think you should.

I think I would approach this obliquely and mention that, while the desire to root out the truth is quite laudable, truly clever children know that it's in their interest to at least act as if they believe in Santa Claus as that tends to result in more presents.

I remember when my mother came upon that delema. Me, and pretty much everyone I knew, or didn't know was around went out for christmas eve to look at the lights, and go to church. When we got back santa had been there. Almost everyone had been with me so it renewed my faith for yet another year. Atleast till the next year when I got up and caught mom putting out the presents.

I'd come clean. I was about the same age when I started questioning Santa's existence too. My mom just told me not to ruin it for my brothers. DJ probably has it figured out and is just looking to you for confirmation. I say tell him.

I think that if you have to start bending over backwards to maintain a lie, especially to your child, even if the lie is a harmless fiction, it's time to let it go.

Kids know a mindfuck when they receive one, and it only creates distance between you and weakens the bond of trust.

Definitely, time to come clean. I know I knew way before nine, but I humored my parents a few years more, seeing as they seemed to enjoy the charade.

I'm with everyone else -- if he's asking those types of questions, then it's way time to come clean. Better that you tell him outright than he think you're deluded, or being silly, or whatever...

He knows. Come clean and let him in on the truth, but make sure he understands that some of his friends may still believe and he shouldn't be the one to tell them any different.

You've all convinced me. I'm going to tell him the truth, but I am also going to tell him what Lee told her daughter, that he really did exist at one time. Hopefully that will keep some of the magic there for him. I am also going to let him know that he needs to keep this secret from any of his friends or younger cousins who may not know.

Thanks, everyone.

another thing you might want to add is that billy rolan's PC is going to crash bad pretty soon.

michele - i think it's tme you, dj and bill hicks sat down together...let's get santa claus, democracy and lee harvey oswald as jfk's killer out of the way in one foul swoop....well, you did ask me to play the parent role...

G, we used Bill Hicks for the whole Easter Bunny thing. They're going to start blaming Bill for ruining their childhood.

well, bill's dead...olet them blame him for the linciln logs...

better than blaming you.

i think bill would be honored, and anyway, tell if they don't stop whining about the global conspiracy, you'll send them to th fundie christian house down the road - then they'll know about ruined childhoods.

He made it to 9? Impressive. Yeah, he knows. Just tell him, cuz he's toying with you now, no pun intended. ;)

it was nice to be here...

it was nice to be here...

Thus it is that no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other over against itself. If three travellers chance to occupy the same compartment, that is enough to make vaguely hostile 'others' out of all the rest of the passengers on the train. In small-town eyes all persons not belonging to the village are 'strangers' and suspect; to the native of a country all who inhabit other countries are 'foreigners'; Jews are 'different' for the anti-Semite, Negroes are 'inferior' for American racists, aborigines are 'natives' for colonists, proletarians are the 'lower class' for the privileged. by world poker tour