Santa, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. The three big lies most parents tell their kids.(Ironically while trying to teach their kids that lying is wrong.

So why do we choose to lie to our kids? (After all, a lie is a lie, right? I mean in the real world there is no gray area, right? Oh wait…yes the world is mostly gray area.) Anyway, this is not the first time that this has crossed my mind. I have often wondered why we do these traditions. Most of the time I wonder about it while I am staying up all night trying to silently wrap Santa presents or while I am driving to Walmart at 9pm ,because the “tooth fairy” forgot a prize to exchange for the tooth. It seems so wrong, on some level, to lie to our children, especially knowing that someday we will have to confess these lies to them as they grow up and face reality. I have often thought that it might have been simpler to never have started the lie to begin with. But then I think back to my own childhood. I remember the thrill and excitement on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come. I remember the fun of wondering what the heck the tooth fairy does with all the teeth.  I remember sleeping over a friend’s house, where a fairy came on slumber party nights and left a kiss mark on our cheeks. I thought that was so amazing. I remember being disappointed when my mom finally confessed the truth to me. Not because my parents had lied, but because I felt like the fun had ended.

So I lie to my kids to allow them to have that fun and excitement. That thrill that only childhood fairy tales and magic can bring. Childhood should be a time of fun, wonder, and excitement. Before you know it that is over. The adult world can be a stressful and daunting place. Why not allow them to be young for as long as possible, to believe in magic and fun?. Fun and magic can be had without the tooth fairy or Santa. But it is a tradition that I loved as a child and so I want to share that joy with my own kids. Every family has their own beliefs and traditions.

So I stay up half the night on Christmas ever trying to wrap presents without a sound, I get up at the crack of dawn to hide eggs and I sometimes drive to Walmart at 9pm to be a good tooth fairy. Being not just one magical creature, but three, is hard work. But the more joy I see my kids getting out of it, the more fun my husband I have too. We even get a little carried away sometimes. One year Santa’s elves trashed the house. We poured sugar on the counter and made mini snow angles in it, toilet papered the living room, wrote on the mirror with tooth paste and hung underwear on the Christmas tree. The kids were hysterical with laughter. (The laughter made scrubbing hardened tooth paste off the mirror worth it.) Most years the Easter bunny shreds lettuce all over the living room (because everyone who owns a real pet bunny knows they are messy eaters). The kids are full of giggles and memories on holidays in our house and I have decided that being the Easter bunny is almost as much fun as believing in him…almost.

My daughter is now 11, almost 12. I know soon the magic will end for her. But I only hope that she can see that the wonderful fun and memories was well worth the lie. I also hope she chooses to someday experience the fun I have had as a parent bringing the magic to life for her own kids.

 Every family needs to decide what is right for them. We do a lot of other traditions around the holidays too. We teach our kids the real history of the holidays. We celebrate the winter solstice and the return of the sun. We celebrate the spring equinox and the start of new life. I hope that these lessons will travel with them to adulthood, along with the fun memories we have created through the lies.

Published by Gretchen Foley