This photo of my first born meeting Santa for the first time is one of my favorites. Just look at the wonder and awe in his eyes, even before he could understand just how magical Santa Claus really is. It’s this innocence we hope our children hold onto forever. We hope they never stop believing. Try as we might, our kids get older and start asking tough questions. It can be difficult to break the news, even though they probably already know the answer.
I remember when I was 10 years old. My family was sitting around the living room opening presents. My grandpa kept blurting out things like “Show me that new jewelry box, Holly!”. “Richard!” my grandma would gasp, trying to shush him. The gifts he was inquiring about which I hadn’t even opened yet were supposedly from Santa. That’s when I knew for sure. My grandparents did a wonderful job playing Santa during my younger years and to this day, I appreciate that gift of magic. I can look back and recall the days I was still a believer, when I’d wake on Christmas morning and discover that Santa had visited and left me mountains for presents as if I was at the very top of the nice list. After my discovery, I understood the spirit of the season but it would have been more comforting to find out the truth in an honest, loving, and more direct way.
Most parents hearts break a little when their kids discover the truth about Santa. It’s hard to watch that little bit of magic and innocence fade away but there are ways to keep the spirit alive and help transition through this milestone. Love, Santa by Martha Brockenbrough and Illustrated by Lee White is a great tool to help parents have this difficult conversation with their children and to break the news about Santa Claus.
My oldest is 10, the same age I was when I found out the truth about Santa. He doesn’t really ask questions and for the sake of his younger sisters, I’m not quite ready to break the news. My almost 9 year old daughter asks more questions. She so badly wants to believe but I know she’s on the cusp of readiness. I think next year will be the year. I’ll tell both of them with the help of the Love, Santa book and they can hopefully share the secret and protect it a little while longer for their little sister.
None of us want to ruin Christmas. Love, Santa is a parenting tool that allows us to help keep the spirit of the season alive in our children when it comes time to have that conversation. This beautifully illustrated hardback book is a must-have for when that difficult time comes.
The book is about a little girl and her annual letter to Santa. The pages are beautifully illustrated and the letters are tucked away in actual envelopes so you can pull them out and read them. One year, instead of writing to Santa, Lucy writes a letter to her mom instead, asking if she was Santa.
Her mom writes back, telling her that Santa is bigger than any one person. Part of the letter goes like this: “Santa is a teacher who helps us believe. All your life you will need to have faith: in your family, in your friends, in yourself…even in things you can’t see our touch. Here I’m talking about love, which will lift your life from the inside out and when things feel cold and dark. So no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve… He has help from the people whose heart’s he’s filled with joy. I am on his team and now you are too.”
I love how the letter gives the child a role, a responsibility now that they are older and can understand the spirit of the holiday. They get to be a part of Team Joy! They get to help spread happiness around and keep that magic alive for younger children who aren’t quite ready for the news. Yes, there’s a sadness in the truth, but there is happiness and hope and joy too. I’m thankful to have this book and am preparing my mama heart for the day the time comes.
About the Creators
Martha Brockenbrough is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers, including The Game of Love and Death, which earned four starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist, Devine Intervention, and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at marthabrockenbrough.com.
Lee White is an artist and teacher who loves watercolor, print making, and climbing trees. He spends his days splashing paint in his backyard studio, where there are absolutely no clocks allowed! He has illustrated more than fifteen books and shown in galleries across the country, from Los Angeles to New York. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and young son.