Welcome to Blogmas 2017! We are so excited to have Romina from Mini Mummi Blogger with us today!
I discovered that Santa Claus was a myth when I was 7 years old. Now, I say discovered, because I worked it out myself, rather than being told by my parents (or other kids in school). You see, that year, I had asked Santa to bring me a bike. But not just any bike, a specific, pink bike, with streamers coming out of the handles, and a little silver bell. It would be my first real bike, and I was super excited!
One day, I was playing hide and seek with a family friend’s niece, at his place. The family friend was a tiler, and he had a number of pallets in his driveway (which extended behind the garage door, and into the enclosed patio he’d had built onto his house). There weren’t really a lot of place to hide at this house, so I went out to where the pallets were. I noticed that one of them seemed to have a space in the middle, which looked like the perfect hiding place, so I snuck in to hide. Lo and behold, there, in the centre of this pallet, was a very specific, pink bike, with streamers coming out of the handles, and a little silver bell. I knew this must be my bike, which my parents had hidden here until Christmas, knowing I’d probably manage to find it at home. Rather than feel disappointed at the realisation that Santa was, in fact, my parents, I was pretty pleased with myself at having made this discovery. Yes, I was a bit of a smarty pants.
I didn’t, however, let my parents know that I knew. I guess I thought it would make them sad, or something. More importantly, I didn’t want my brother to find out! He was only 4 years old at the time, and really loved Christmas. So, I let my parents continue to think I still believed in Santa. After dinner, I would help Dad put out the milk and cookies he would later help himself to, pretending we’d had a visit from the jolly fat man and his reindeer. I’d go along on the “Santa spotting” strolls we traditionally took with Mum after dinner, while Dad presumably laid out the gifts under the tree. When my parents finally decided to tell me that Santa was make believe, I simply said “I know”, and was met with bemused expressions.
I knew it had been worth it (and, let’s not lie, it had been fun to go along with it all!), when my parents told my brother, a year later (prior to Christmas, when some kid in his class had spilled the beans). When my mother confirmed the rumor, my brother was devastated. He cried. I told him it would all be okay, he’d still get presents. This seemed to calm him down a bit, but he was still sad at losing the magic of that belief. And this is why I was excited to put together a post on this topic, for Confessions of Parenting. I love telling this story, because it really illustrates how the spirit of Christmas can be maintained, and what it means to the children who believe. Not blowing my own trumpet here, but it’s a good example of how older siblings can keep the magic alive for their little siblings.
Here are ten things your big kids can do to help their younger brothers and sisters believe:
Read a Christmas Storybook
If your older children can read, get them to choose their favourite Christmas story and read it to their younger siblings. It’s a great way for them to spend time with their siblings, and perpetuate the myth of the man who knows if you’ve been naughty or nice!
Make Handmade Ornaments
Doing crafts is also a good activity for older children to do with their siblings. Depending on the kind of activity, you may need to supervise (scissors, glue, disaster, whatnot …), but be creative! Kids can come up with amazing ideas given a bunch of odds and ends: macaroni, buttons, streamers, cardboard, ribbons, empty toilet rolls, egg cartons, lids, fake flowers – seriously, anything is useful. Once they’re done, make a big deal about each child hanging their ornament on the tree!
Go for a “Santa spotting” Walk
Whether it’s to distract them from a parent setting up the presents, or simply to add an activity to Christmas Eve, take your children for a walk outside. Get your older children to help you point out interesting things that may be signs of Santa and his reindeer. If you don’t look too closely – and use a bit of imagination – you can see Santa’s sleigh crossing in front of the moon (the dark shadows made by the moon’s craters). If going for a walk isn’t practical, pop out into your backyard or onto your balcony, and have your children look for shooting stars or the same “man in the moon”. This way, you may even be able to leave this duty to your older children, while you bustle about getting things ready for Santa’s visit.
Write Letters to Santa
Have your older children write letters to Santa, to encourage your little ones to do so, as well. If your little ones can’t write yet, their older siblings may even be able to pen the letter while the younger ones dictate their wishlists! If the local post office or shopping centre is hosting a “Santa’s mailbox”, perhaps organise a trip to actually post the letters (and leave this in your older children’s hands, if they’re old enough!
Decorate the House
Set out a box of decorations for your kids to put up around the house. If your little ones aren’t tall enough to reach, they’ll have fun instructing their older siblings on where to drape this bit of tinsel and hang that Christmas stocking! Putting up decorations in their own bedrooms will also add to the holiday cheer.
Recount Past Christmas Experiences
Older children will often remember particular Christmases quite clearly. Ask your older kids to tell their younger siblings about their favourite Christmas, focusing on the make believe aspects that the little ones will relate to and enjoy!
Bake Christmas Cookies
Involving your children in the preparation of the food that Santa and his reindeer will consume is a great way of selling the story. Santa needs cookies, so get the kids baking! Appoint the older children as supervisors for cookie decoration duty, or ask them to help the little ones select the choicest carrots for the reindeer!
Set the Table for a Feast
Okay, so you do get some benefit out of this one! Seriously, though, setting the table with special napkins, cutlery holders, centrepieces, and other Christmas-y tidbits can build excitement. Fancy place settings for the yummy dinner that will be had will impress Santa! Place the older children in charge of napkin folding or a similar activity, so that they can show their younger siblings how a simple Christmas napkin can become a fan or a sailboat! (Note: reasonable origami-like skills required for this one!)
Take Santa Photos
Whether you head over to the local “Santa’s workshop” or DIY, taking photos with Santa is a sure-fire way of perpetuating the myth of the jolly fat man. Get your older kids to help you organise the trip or set up your own Santa throne (or whatever setting works for your location and family). If your older kids are photography aficionados, perhaps they can even do the camerawork while the little ones pose with Santa!
Wrap Gifts Together
A great lesson to teach your kids is that giving is as good as receiving (better, even!). There is magic in seeing someone’s face light up when they’ve opened a gift carefully chosen for them. Place your older kids on supervisor duty, and have all your children help with wrapping the presents and putting them under the tree. This will encourage them all to work together, and, more importantly, to appreciate the thought that goes into gift giving.
Well, there you have it! Ten ways to get your older children to help your little ones believe. The younger ones will enjoy the magic for as long as they can, while the older ones will learn the satisfaction of helping maintain the sense of joy their siblings have during the holiday season. That is a lesson truly in the spirit of Christmas.
Romina is a first time mummy to a beautiful baby boy. Her blog is a place to share her thoughts and experiences, so other mummies can find useful and friendly information, and to encourage them to believe in themselves and have confidence in their mummy-wisdom. You can find her over at Mini Mummi Blogger