Where do you stand on telling kids about Santa? Evan knows all about Santa, has “seen him in real life” a few times (he loves talking about it), and understands the idea that Santa brings Christmas presents.

Over the past while, Evan has asked a lot of questions about whether certain things are real. I think it started when we watched Monsters Inc. and I let him know that monsters are pretend, since he was a little scared of his closet. He’s asked if the following are real: firefighters, volcanoes, hippos, fairies, snowmen, and reindeer. When I said that reindeer are real but that they don’t really fly, he insisted, “They do fly, using magic!” Fair enough, I guess…

In response to the question, “Is Santa real?” I said no. If you’re offended by that, I don’t really care. My kid – not yours. I explained that Santa is a really fun idea of a nice man who brings presents at Christmas, but what actually happens is that we give gifts to each other (as I mentioned here). I also said that even though Santa is pretend, Evan should NOT go around telling other kids. I’m a decent enough person for that.

Last week I brought Evan with me to a doctor’s appointment where I had blood drawn. As the nurse was getting everything set up, she asked Evan what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas, to which he promptly responded, “Santa isn’t real.” Oh my heavens, the Look that nurse gave me – like I was the worst mother ever! I defended myself, pretty much the way I have here: Evan wanted to know what was real and what wasn’t.

Do you see benefits to pretending that Santa is real? Or do you draw a distinction between reality and imagination? I don’t remember ever thinking that the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy were real, but I may have just grown out of it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.