That is what my own little family celebrates as well, and I don’t like the idea of telling Amelia that Santa actually came when he did not. I believe honesty is the best policy. That said, I never want to be responsible for a child losing their Santa beliefs before it’s their time.
So I have never told Amelia that Santa doesn’t exist. I have said that he never came to my house, and that I have never seen him before. When she asks me pointed questions, I usually just ask her what she thinks.
She wants to believe.
In Germany, she was introduced to Nikolaus, which is kind of a different form of Santa. Much less jolly, more severe, with religious implications. We went for it, since it’s part of the Christmas culture in Germany. Plus, Amelia spoke more Deutsch than we did by Christmas time last year, so we didn’t even have the language to say much about it– she learned all about Nikolaus in school.
In England, it’s Father Christmas. And since October, Father Christmas has been talked about non-stop. Amelia came home every day with more detailed information on the fellow. Lots of specifics. She was horrified when I told her I would be stuffing her stocking, and begged me not to do it, since that’s Father Christmas’s job. Maybe I’m just stubborn, but I don’t like some imaginary person getting the credit for all the work I put into Christmas gifts. I told her that I really like putting presents in her stocking, and so I would make a deal with Father Christmas that he could leave her little gifts instead.
In public this whole last month, it seemed that every single adult we encountered asked Amelia about Father Christmas coming. It was clear that she was conflicted: she didn’t know if he would actually come, since he never had before. People were horrified to hear that I was going to be putting Christmas presents in her stocking (you see, it was too late– I had already slipped some in, and Amelia knew!) and gave me strange looks when I explained my deal with F.C. Not only had I never done this before, but the details are very different here than in the States.
On Christmas Eve, Amelia wrote out her list for Father Christmas. In her brand-new, crooked handwriting, she wrote:
Hope your Christmas was magical!