Spirit of giving
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.