I grew up believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I can't tell you exactly when I found out the truth about each one but I don't remember being very traumatized. It just seemed like a fun tradition, so when I had my own kids, I kept that tradition going. Recently, I've been second-guessing the wisdom in keeping those traditions alive. Do I really want to have to explain to my children that I've been lying to them all this time?
Doing without these traditions has benefits though. We've had to leave the Tooth Fairy notes on more than one occasion explaining that there was a tooth left but she probably couldn't find it under all the pillows so could she please come back and try it again? We were as polite as possible even though I knew full well that Tooth Fairy just fell asleep on the job!
The belief of Santa Claus brings with it an endless amount of questions that you have to try and come up with an answer for. Questions such as: How do reindeer fly? How can Santa get in when we don't have a chimney? I haven't been good all year, am I going to get coal? Why didn't Santa get me (fill in the blank) from my list? We provide answers for all of these but it's only more lies. And how do you tie Santa into the birth of Jesus?
The Easter Bunny is even harder to explain. We're supposed to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and in order to do that, we put on new, frilly clothes and have a giant bunny come and hide colorful eggs that may or may not be filled with candy and treats. Where was the connection again?
I don't mind giving my kids a quarter or fifty cents when they lose a tooth; it's fun. But why does it have to be the Tooth Fairy that does it? Why can't it be Mom and Dad?
Why couldn't we explain the true story of St. Nicholas and let our kids know that Santa is really the spirit of Christmas? That the point is to look out for others the way that God was looking out for us when He gave us Jesus?
Why can't we have an Easter celebration without a giant rabbit? Couldn't we have an egg hunt and let the kids know that the eggs represent new life, the new life we have with Jesus? Couldn't it be about God instead of bunnies and candy?
The thing about starting my kids on these beliefs is I don't know how to stop them. My kids are 10, 8, and 6 and they all believe 100% in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I've decided to tell them the truth before but I always sabotage myself. Before we went to Grandma's last night to dye eggs, I had decided that when we were done, I would tell the kids the truth about the Easter Bunny. Well, on the way home, a small brown bunny ran across the road. I stopped the car so all the kids could see it. When it finally ran off in a flash of white fluffy tail, I turned to the kids with uncontrolled enthusiasm and said, "Maybe it's the Easter Bunny!" What is wrong with me?! Of course the kids were excited. They thought it was great that they got to see the real Easter Bunny. Corban decided after we got home that maybe it wasn't actually the Easter Bunny, but he knows the real one is out there. So that meant I had to be the Easter Bunny for another year. They found eggs around the house this morning that you-know-who must have hid. It certainly couldn't have been Mommy and Daddy.
So how do I back track and get out of all this without breaking their hearts? I love to watch them light up whenever they think that one of the Trifecta of Holiday Gift-Givers has been to see them. They're so sweet. But it can't last forever. Sometimes I feel bad that I've let it go on this long, much less started it altogether. Because, really, Santa and the Easter Bunny and Miss Fairy have nothing to do with their respective holidays. They are NOT what my kids should be focused on. The question is, do I tell them now or do I let them find out on their own?