Spirit of giv­ing

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FAMILY -

WHEN Tris­tan turned six, his friends told him Santa did not ex­ist.

“He got re­ally up­set. One day he just came home and asked: ‘Is there re­ally a Santa?’ I wasn’t pre­pared for that at all. I didn’t know how to say, ‘No, he doesn’t ex­ist’, be­cause that sounded so blunt. I had to quickly think up an ex­pla­na­tion,” says mother-of-four Sasha Joanne Wee, 36.

That was a year ago, and the for­mer ac­coun­tant de­cided there were no two ways about it – hon­esty is the best pol­icy.

“I told him Santa ex­ists. He was St Ni­cholas and he used to give to the poor. He was the one who started the spirit of giv­ing. Af­ter he’s gone, his spirit lived on. Every­body re­mem­bered what he did and that’s how he re­mained alive dur­ing Christ­mas.”

Thank­fully, Tris­tan ac­cepted that ex­pla­na­tion (though he did tell his younger brother and sis­ter, aged five and four, that Santa was dead). For a lot of kids who grew up be­liev­ing in Santa, it is sur­pris­ing to find out he is not real.

“My par­ents told me about Santa very early on. It was a mat­ter-of-fact kind of thing, and he was just like a char­ac­ter in sto­ries. It’s the same for my hus­band. But I be­lieve that for some peo­ple, what they re­mem­ber about Christ­mas is the whole magic of Santa. There is no right or wrong, just what’s best for the fam­ily,” says Sasha. While Sasha prefers to go easy with the truth, her hus­band, Shel­don Wee, feels that it’s only log­i­cal to cap magic to a cer­tain age.

Ac­cord­ing to the 37-year-old en­tre­pre­neur, par­ents should keep it real.

“Chil­dren grow re­ally fast th­ese days and they’re very smart. You can’t hide them from bad words and bad movies be­cause they are go­ing to find out on their own. When your child ques­tions the ex­is­tence of Santa, it’s al­ways best to be hon­est and open. There’s no need to hide any­thing be­cause he’s go­ing to find out you’re ly­ing to him and he’s not go­ing to come to you the next time.”

The mes­sage you should be shar­ing with your chil­dren is that Christ­mas isn’t about Santa com­ing to visit; it’s about the spirit of giv­ing, adds Shel­don.

Sasha and Shel­don be­lieve in telling their chil­dren the truth about Santa.

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