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What to Tell your Kids about Santa

December 22, 2016 | by Judi Zirin-Hyman

Let's go all traditional on this and use the time-held traditions of our people: sarcasm, inquiry, concern and knowledge (SICK).

Do I really want my little boy to think he's being ignored by a red-clad white-bearded fellow handing out puppies and ponies, iPads and iPhones and iWatches with abandon to everyone but him?

iVay! No.

Over my dead, well-intentioned, Jewish-mother body will he wind up on a couch talking to different white-bearded sort over this Christmas mishegos.

On the other hand, not everyone in the neighborhood is a member of the tribe. Do I need phone calls from Mrs. Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Martinelli and Mrs. Drumpf shrieking that my brilliant son callously ruined their son's Christmas by telling him that Santa is not real?

I get it. I really do. When my son caught his father putting "tooth fairy" money under his pillow, I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I screamed at my husband not to take the kid's tooth fairy money. The kid never looked at his father the same way, but believed in the tooth fairy for years, (until he watched the Tooth Fairy movie with "The Rock" and wasn't buying it anymore).

Look, I have a heart. Just because I have to listen to that music everywhere I go and am blinded by the light at every turn doesn't mean I want to see any kid disillusioned. But does it have to be at a cost to my own kid?

The way I see it, we're in a bind. If we tell the kid the truth, he'll likely-at some point-blab. Guilt, phone calls, etc. If we say there is a Santa Claus but he only visits the goyim, we instill a permanent feeling of otherness and FOMO. Even if we say "But you get 8 presents and they get underwear."

Doesn't work. No dice.

What is the answer? Early movements for a Hanukkah Harry went nowhere. Inviting Santa in to a Hanukkah Bush proved a non-starter as well.

My radical solution is this. Let's go all traditional on this and use the time held traditions of our people – sarcasm, inquiry, concern and knowledge (SICK).

When he asks "Is Santa Clause real?":

  1. Sarcasm: "A fat guy in a red suit coming down a chimney with presents? Um... ok. That sounds real." MUST be accompanied by eye roll. You can later protest to anyone challenging "I never said Santa wasn't real! I said he was!" while having conveyed enough actual knowledge to keep his little ego intact.

  2. Inquiry: "Do you think Santa Claus is real?" We love to answer a question with another question. We can go all Talmudic on that red velvet cake.

  3. Concern: "Did somebody say something about you being Jewish? Who was it? I'll call their mother" or "Is there something you want for Hanukkah that I don't know about? Just tell me what you want and I'll make sure you get it" Of course, a simple, concerned "Are you feeling OK?" might get across everything necessary.

  4. Knowledge: Let's face it - they ask us less and google more, and earlier. Nothing stopping you from saying "Of course, I can't stop you from googling it..." Let Yahoo or Wikipedia take the rap on this one. There are a lot worse they could be looking up.


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