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Why I Changed My Mind About Santa

I didn't grow up with Santa.

I don't remember my parents talking about him or believing he actually existed. That's because my parents immigrated from Nicaragua, and Santa Claus just isn't a thing there. Instead they talked a lot about Baby Jesus bringing us gifts (impressive for a little baby, no?) and Three King's Day. So when my husband and I started having kids I was very hesitant to embrace the Santa tradition.

I decided I didn't want to perpetuate a lie, mostly because I had no idea how to keep up such a farce. My black-and-white self didn't know how to keep a straight face while making up stories about a fat man in a red suit who would supposedly be bringing presents to all the children in the world.

So we said nothing.

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We bought presents for our kids and made sure they said, "From: Mami and Papi" on them so there would be no question about where the gifts came from. We talked about celebrating the birth of Jesus and made Christmas cookies and hung stockings. But Santa got no mention from us.

But the thing is, we live in America and Santa is everywhere. My children have cousins and friends who believe in Santa. One day my son came home and started telling me all about good ol' St. Nick. "He has a sleigh and reindeer that fly! And he brings presents for everyone!" His eyes were wide with excitement and I simply could not crush his little dreams.

At first I would just kind of nod along whenever Santa was mentioned. I didn't want to actually confirm the stories, but I didn't want to deny them either. My son is a lot like his mama. He's very much a realist and doesn't fall for wild stories, but for whatever reason he was into Santa Claus and I thought it was sweet that he believed in a little bit of magic.

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Sometimes I feel like maybe I grew up too quickly. I didn't believe in magical fantastical things. I knew the difference between real and make-believe from a very young age. I kind of want my own kids to believe, to be kids.

This year, Santa still isn't our main focus, but we are talking about him more. We took the children to see him at the mall. Liam sat on his lap and told him his wish list. We get excited about leaving cookies for him to enjoy. And for the first time ever there will be one or two gifts under the tree labeled, "From: Santa." Someday my kids will know the truth and I don't think they'll hold it against me. Hopefully they'll appreciate the fun of it all.

And honestly, it is kind of fun for me too.

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Photograph by: Kristel Acevedo

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