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Why does mummy believe in Santa but not Jesus?

Why does mummy believe in Santa but not Jesu

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Being a kid can be confusing, after all, why does mummy believe in Santa but not Jesus? If, last time the Easter bunny visited, you had to leave out a note and some carrots, Rudolph-style, then you can be sure that your little one’s belief in all things fantastical is alive and well for the moment. (And this, despite knowing that the chocolate bunnies stashed in the back room are really from Nana, and that the eggs for the Easter Egg hunt have been in the kitchen cupboard for a fortnight.)

Magic of childhood

We’re all keen to preserve the magic of childhood for as long as possible (how sad will you be when they stop writing to Father Christmas and hanging up their stockings?) It’s much simpler when they’re younger, when you determine by and large what influences them. But once they start getting their information from other sources – and contradictory ones at that – the relentless questions begin, and sadly so too does the doubt.Why does mummy believe in Santa but not Jesus

Children, sooner or later, get to an age when they seem to collude in prolonging their belief in Santa and the Easter bunny.  As for the tooth fairy, she doesn’t even kick in until the age of six or seven for most kids, and they’re certainly not risking the pound under their pillow (a pound? It used to be 10p, surely!) with any hint that they might know better.

Conflicting ideas

At about the same age our children begin learning at school about different faiths and beliefs, which of course often conflict with each other. And the chances are that they’ll also become aware about now, if they aren’t already, of their parents’ religious convictions, or lack of them. All of which can create quite a quandary.

For families of faith, there will of course be a belief system that is true for them. But for those less devout, we’re left navigating a course through explaining the various ‘options’ of belief, without saying any one is right or wrong. Adopting a position of respect for other people’s beliefs is a healthy place to start, and mirrors what is taught in the classroom. Discouraging behaviour which might offend others is a good thing – but then you realise how often you actually blaspheme. ‘Oh God’ gets revised down to a Blytonian ‘Oh gosh’ and before you know it you’re sounding all a bit ‘jolly hockey sticks’ in the cereal aisle of Tesco.

White lies?

Meanwhile we’re also catching ourselves in a trap of being truthful about our own agnosticism or atheism, as we tell all those little white lies about ‘naughty or nice’ lists, magic keys, and toy-factories filled with elves. Confused yet?

Figuring out fact from fiction is tricky for young minds. Balancing our lack of religious faith with keeping the magic alive for our children is no less difficult for us. So ‘Jesus is just a story, but this is an information book because Santa’s REAL’ is hard to confirm or deny, without tripping yourself up. Even when the book in question is Father Christmas Needs a Wee!

Keep the faith

Ultimately, your children will find out that Father Christmas (whisper it) isn’t real, and that there’s no such thing as fairies (sorry, Tinkerbell). And whatever faith you hold, there will probably come a time when your kids question that too (and why wouldn’t they, when all the other stuff is made up!)

All you can do is keep the faith that children’s lives, and their imaginations, are made richer for the stories we tell them when they’re little. And approaching life with a sense of wonder – born out of the Christmas stockings stuffed with treats, and the sprinkling of fairy dust (glitter, icing sugar, whatever’s handy) on the pillow – well, that can’t be a bad thing, can it?



About Alison McKay

About Alison McKay

Alison McKay is a charity PR professional with over 15 years' experience in full-time, part-time and jobshare roles. Since being made redundant while on maternity leave, she has divided her time between working for a local museum, freelance and volunteer writing, and being chief wrangler to a two-year-old mud-magnet and an almost-seven-year-old wannabe dog-care worker with a penchant for hair accessories. Alison's hobbies include yoga, reading cookery books and putting away just enough clean laundry to keep the pile below 3ft tall.

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