What could be more magical than a guy who lives at the North Pole (with elves!) yet can still see when you're sleeping and know when you're awake? Not to mention his uncanny ability to know just what you want for Christmas and make good on his promise to deliver?
And then there's the reindeer. It just doesn't get much more magical than flying reindeer pulling a giant sled through the sky on Christmas Eve.
But eventually, Santa's cover gets blown and the kids wise up to his real identity. Instead of sending sweet letters to the North Pole promising to be good in exchange for toys, they type up two-page wish-lists complete with Amazon links and hand them over to you.
Yes, the end of Santa changes everything -- for kids and parents. But while we may miss baking cookies for him on Christmas Eve and leaving sugar and oatmeal out for his reindeer, what we miss most of all is the sense of wonder and magic that Santa brought to the season.
But while the end of Santa may be bittersweet for everyone, it doesn't have to mean the end of the Christmas magic. Kids who have outgrown Santa Claus are old enough to start making some of that magic themselves.
Help your kids keep the magic of Christmas alive by encouraging them to make like Santa and spread the love this holiday season.
- Children with younger siblings can experience the joy of being on the giving end of gifts, helping mom and dad shop and hide treasures for the little ones.
- Encourage your child's generosity by starting a family tradition of volunteering at a shelter or collecting warm coats for the needy.
- Spending time with an elderly neighbor who might be lonely or baking cookies for friends is a great way to give back while connecting with others.
- Set aside a little money from your Christmas budget and let your child help pass it out during the holiday season. Pay the toll for the car behind you, foot the bill for a stranger in a restaurant or drop a few dollars in the collection box of your favorite charity.
And when it's all said and done and your big kids have finally settled into their beds on Christmas Eve, go ahead and slip a little something from Santa Claus under the tree. They may think they have outgrown him, but that doesn't mean that he has outgrown them.