My twelve-year-old niece still, whole-heartedly, believes in Santa Claus. This year, my sister is faced with the ultimate dilemma: should she tell her the truth. Now that she is in middle school, my sister is concerned that her daughter will be ridiculed for this belief.

This bothers me. As a mother of two small children, I do everything in my power to encourage them to believe in everything – our elf on the shelf (Phil), Santa, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, even Mickey Mouse. It will totally suck when they stop believing.

As I looked more into this subject I realized that there are parents out there who discourage their children’s belief in anything that can’t be seen or touched. The thought is that they don’t want to perpetuate the lie. There is even the idea that the world is tough and kids should face it now rather than later.

I fully respect that every parent is welcome to their own belief and parenting system. However I disagree with this “perpetuating the Santa lie.” These people are right in that the world is difficult for our kids. But I think that providing them with a little bit of magic and wonder is all too important in their lives. The belief in Santa Claus creates the ability to use these amazing things that we all have (and too often forget we have): imagination. My kids have tons of imagination and they are brilliant about how they use it. They can be put in the most boring situation and create a game together and completely lose themselves in their own world. It’s amazing to watch.

Plus, there is nothing like the feeling I get when my four-year-old puts his arms around my neck and tells me how excited he is for Phil to visit. Or when my two-year-old runs into my room every morning exclaiming, “Mama do you know where Phil is hiding today?!” Maybe it’s greedy on my part to get to soak up the innocent joy that exudes from them, but I also know how much they love it and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What do I take away from this topic? My kids won’t believe in Santa forever. I know that. It is just part of life. But, what I can teach them is to respect the beliefs of others, especially if they don’t share those same beliefs. My niece still believes and it isn’t fair to her for other kids to ruin the magic. I can only hope that my own kids won’t ruin the magic for anyone else when the time comes.