Published On: Mon, Nov 19th, 2012

The Lie And The Fat Man

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

The Lie and the Fat ManAs that time of year approaches, for many of us we throw ourselves into the Santa Clause lie, usually prompted by the sudden appearance of Christmas trees popping up in every shop we now go into. And although many of us tell the lie, we still seem to be struggling with it. Why are we struggling and if anything, what can we, or should we do about it?At the start of my Early Years Toolbox talk we play a game. In this game there is a question to parents which they must either answer, agree, disagree, strongly disagree or undecided. One of the questions I ask of the group is are they happy telling the Santa Clause lie? More than 95% of those asked answer yes without much hesitation. For the other 5% they are either undecided or flat out don’t do the Santa thing for either cultural or moral reasons.

Now those of you that have sat and heard me prattle on about kids and the importance of following rules a b and c, might be surprised to know that when it comes to the Santa Clause lie, you got me. I love the Santa Clause lie, and what I put this down to are my own experiences as a child with wonderful Santa memories.This has got me thinking. Is what we tell our children about Santa linked to how we as children found out that he didn’t exist? From asking that small percentage in my game that said they don’t do it, it does seem that how you find out about Santa can be a major impact on how or if you go down the Santa path with your own children.

I have no horrible defining moment of finding out about the lie, but it must of happened! Maybe the impact is lessoned by a hunch, and then… a confirmation that we were right! I actually feel that the older my daughter gets, the easier it will be for her to understand why I told her a lie. She is now seven, and recently gave me reason to believe that the question is coming.While in the car last Easter, Bella asked me. “Mummy is the Easter Bunny real”? Here we go I tell myself. “Well, have you ever seen him” I ask her. “No” she tells me, “But I don’t think he is real, but I know what happens”. I brace myself, ready to put my mummy hat of shame on and admit my guilt. “Well, you know Santa, he delivers the eggs not the Easter Bunny. A bunny jumping around to everyones house is silly isn’t it Mummy”. “Yes” I reply, “maybe it is”. And with that the conversation ended till next time when maybe I won’t get off so easy.

If you are going to do the Santa Clause lie, you must know what you are going to say when you are faced with that “really, really mum”? Because if you don’t, you can find yourself umming and ahhing and not being happy with how you broke the news that you have been telling fibs for the last 5-10 years.I do however think we can take the Santa thing too far. By this I mean that you are obviously the driving force to the Santa lie, so much so that your child doesn’t need to ask you ANY questions about Santa because you have filled their heads with every tiny little detail, leaving nothing to their imagination.As for dealing with my guilt for telling this lie to my children. Something tells me there would be just as much guilt attached if I didn’t tell the lie. I am sure I would be thinking to myself “you thief stealing that magical experience from them”! Either way I think I am cheating them. This has led me to one conclusion about the Santa lie. Either way I would feel guilty, so drawing on my own experiences as a child to know what is best for us is working. You on the other hand may have different experiences, which leads you to do as you do with the Santa lie. When it comes to the Santa Clause fib, run with what you feel is best for your own children, with what feels the closest thing right to you, and it probably will be.

Now surely even good old St Nic couldn’t argue with that.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2012
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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