17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mommy, Why Doesn't Santa Visit All the Children?

We spent Thanksgiving in Utah this year. I drove home with my girls a couple of days after the big, bad winter storm blew through. At one of the many gas stations we stopped at during the long 12 hour drive, my four-year old Princess, noticed a large "number 10" can on the counter for collecting money. The image of santa and a large stack of gifts wrapped around the outside of the can immediately caught her eye.

Princess: What's that can for mommy?

Me: To collect money.

Princess: For what?

Me: To help buy presents for families who don't have a lot for Christmas this year.

Princess: Oh. (pause) Can I have some money?

Now I think she mostly just likes the act of dropping money through a slot and the sound of the clinck as it hits the bottom, but I guess it's a start to a charitable habit. I reminded her of the dollar Grandpa had given her for jumping into the hotel pool all by herself. She wasn't so sure she wanted to part with her own money so we decided that she could give half of her dollar and I would match it. The money went into the can and we got on our way.

It was a few miles down the road when Princess piped up again (even though she had a nice DVD to keep her quiet).

Princess: Mommy, why doesn't santa visit all the children?

Me: Umm..... (silence)

She had obviously been thinking about this for a while. All different scenarios played through my head of how I might explain this unfair phenomenon without crushing her belief in santa. Some people would say this might be one of the many reasons why children shouldn never be taught to believe in santa in the first place. But I am not yet ready for her to lose this small part of childhood innocence.

I can't help but think of her question as a precursor to a much more philosophical question about God that has puzzled humanity forever. If there is really an all powerful, all knowing, all loving God out there, why doesn't he take care of all his children. Many view the pain, poverty and suffering in the world as proof that He must not exist. I wonder if this is another reason why I can't seem to let Princess's question become any amount of proof that there may not be a santa claus even if in the near future I choose to let her belief slide for other reasons.

I finally said: There are a lot of children out there. Santa counts on us to help get all the work done.

It may not have been the right thing to say. I made a concious decision to perpetuate the santa lie just a little longer. We're not a "hard-core" santa believing family, but this didn't seem like the right time to break the truth to her.

Hopefully she doesn't turn out having major trust issues when she gets older. But, I guess that's what a therapy fund is for anyway -- :)


  • We've had this same question around here as well. I honestly have not known what to say, because we are "hard-core" Santa believers. I like how you explained it. Maybe I'll try that one.
    posted by Blogger Namona at 12/11/2006 09:19:00 AM  

  • I think your answer was exactly right. Santa sets the standard, and spreads the spirit of giving, but he expects us to join in and pick up the slack. He's only one guy, after all! Santa does his part, and a good part of what he does is teach us the joy of giving. When we imitate him, that's when we receive the greatest gift.

    I had the question when my nieces were young "Why does Santa give more presents to rich kids than to poor kids?". I thought about the answer to that one for years, and finally that's what I decided. When we let that happen, we've let Santa down. He shows us how, and it's for us to put it into practice, to make sure nobody gets left out, and to make it fair.

    I'm a hardcore Santa believer, myself. My nieces don't mention their doubts in front of me, because they would hate to disillusion me.
    posted by Anonymous Tatiana at 12/11/2006 12:15:00 PM  

  • Tatiana,

    I think yours is a Santa I could "hard-core" believe in. It's the crazy commercial one that makes kids focus on the "getting" instead of the "giving" that I have a hard time with.

    thanks for your thoughts.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 12/11/2006 12:56:00 PM  

  • In our family, Santa always brings just one gift (whe the kids were young, unwrapped). Everything else is from someone, usually mom and dad. Doesn't completely solve the "rich kids get more" problem, of course.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12/11/2006 02:04:00 PM  

  • We never got gifts from Santa as kids, just our stockings. My mom told me later that we got too few presents to give the credit to someone else. She taught us all growing up that Santa is the true spirit of giving, and anyone who has that can be a Santa too. Makes you appreciate being able to give instead of getting.
    Nice to hear your thoughts as our sons friends will be drowning in gifts this Christmas.....
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12/11/2006 09:53:00 PM  

  • How precious that she would think it through. I think you did a good job in answering it. In our house my parents just never had the heart to tell us about Santa. Even when my mom made me, that's right, she made ME tell my brother that there was not a Santa (he was 9) he refused to accept that truth and continued believing in Santa until he was 12. Ian's 10 and he still believes. I think my mom is afraid to tell him because he's the baby. I don't think she'll tell him until our family has replacement believers (grandkids)....hahaha. No pressure on me. Hey, and grandpa never paid me money for jumping into pools! If I remember correctly I was just thrown into a pool which forced me to learn how to swim and my reward was life!
    posted by Anonymous Mia at 12/11/2006 11:07:00 PM  

  • Perfect answer! And even if "Santa" isn't real, we are all "Santa's helpers" if we give to others and parents should help kids learn to give...not just to their families and friends, but also to strangers in need.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    posted by Anonymous JKS at 12/12/2006 08:45:00 PM  

  • I always tense up when I hear questions that I can't directly answer come out of my childrens' mouths. It's so hard sometimes.

    Awesome answer! I'd want Santa to be kept alive longer as well. Four years old is just too young to lose that type of innocence and faith is something that is harmless, helpful, and hopeful.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12/12/2006 11:02:00 PM  

  • I think that answer was perfect! Later if the question, "Why doesn't God help everyone?" does come, the answer is the same. He needs us to help "pick up the slack"/serve others. That is not to say that Santa=God, but the precepts of belief are the same.

    At age 6 or so, I put together that, based on kindergarden logic, there could not be a Santa. I liked getting lots of presents though, so I played along for a few more years. Eventually, I talked with my mom and the unshocking news was broken. My Mom was Santa Clause. I was drafted as an elf to help purchase gifts for sibling's stockings.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12/14/2006 02:25:00 PM  

  • Okay, sorry ladies. I obviously was comptuter-illiterate there for a while. And just noticed. Today. Oops...

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12/14/2006 10:05:00 PM  

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