OK, you’re probably curious of what exactly this book is about, so here’s the deal: This book will delicately reveal to the child that their parent is their Santa … BUT what makes it the most special and exciting secret, is that the child then becomes Santa too; they’re welcomed into the inner circle and invited to join in the annual tradition of “spreading the spectacular spirit of Santa,” from that day forward.
Don’t worry, it won’t be a disappointment because it’s an upgrade!
Yes, we assure the child that it’s much more fun to be the giver than the receiver. We show them that the opportunity to become Santa will outshine their former belief in Santa.
I have put this theory to the test with my own children. While their responses were varied (see below), it was ultimately a most special experience—so special, in fact, that I was inspired to create this book, where all of the scenes are based on my actual experiences with my own family.
Naturally, each child will have a different response to this big reveal – some will be happy, some will be sad and some won’t know what to think!
My firstborn, Evan, had just barely turned 11 years old when he learned of the most secret, secret. So, after about three weeks of building it up before Christmas, I revealed the truth in the car while we were waiting for piano practice to start (in retrospect, I should have made it more special). He bravely accepted the new information and when I asked him “who do you want to be Santa for?,” he knew immediately. He wanted to be Santa for a kid in his class that had just been moved to another class because he was being bullied. It was such a sweet experience to watch my son extend such compassion to another little boy in that way! With me as his partner in crime, he did the 12 Days of Christmas for the unsuspecting boy (hence the doorbell ditch spread in the book) and now, each year since, he has joyfully continued to carry out his new Santa duties by being my official Santa Shopper, gingersnap maker, Elf on the Shelf conspirator and more.
On the other hand, my daughter cried and was a little despondent (“Uh oh, this isn’t working,” I thought). When asked, she couldn’t think of anyone she wanted to be Santa for so, in a sort of panic, I quickly came up with another plan.
I told her she had something else she needed to do – because Santa wears red, I took her next door to get her nails painted red. Although that helped, she still wasn’t really buying it so, out of desperation, I then took her to the store to get her a Santa hat or scarf (she ended up choosing red and white striped leggings). As we walked into the store, she gasped, her face lit up and she said, “Mom, I know who I can be Santa for. She [can’t mention the name cause it’s top secret] doesn’t have anyone to be her Santa.” We may have both shed a tear. She knew exactly what she wanted to give her and how she was going to do it. She had so much fun the rest of the day, plotting and planning how she was going to execute her Secret Santa surprise.
Looking forward to this Christmas, she already has dibs on eating Santa’s cookies and has asked if she can be the one to put out her little brother’s Christmas gifts under the tree. Safe to say, this new tradition of involving the older kids in all that happens behind the scenes has made Christmas so much more fun for everyone.
Now that you’ve heard about my first-hand experiences, here’s my list of best practices for navigating this should-be magical moment, ideas to make it the most special experience possible, and fun ways to spread the spirit to all.
- Set a date for your conversation (I recommend 2-3 weeks in advance) and build anticipation by hinting that you have a “great big secret” to tell them.
- On the big day, sit them down and read There’s Certainly a Santa with excitement and suspense. They’re likely to follow your lead, so put a smile on your face!
- Don’t cry (like I did)! This is happy news so maybe read the book a few times prior, to get out all of your nerves and emotions.
- Upon completion of There’s Certainly a Santa, complete the activity page together! This fun new addition was purposefully designed to ease any worries and/or amplify any excitement.
- Check in with them! Ask them how they are feeling; they’re sure to have questions and will need to process the emotions.
- When they are ready, ask them who they want to be Santa for this year. Be sure to give them enough time to think, as some children will know right away and others may take days to come up with just the right person(s).
- Get them “Santafied” (see more below). You can either give them their Santa gear as a gift (after reading the book) or take them shopping afterward to find something they are personally excited about.
- Follow through! As excited as they will be, you will likely need to help them carry out their duties as Santa for the first few years.
Yes, like a Sheriff’s badge, it’s a fun idea to get the child something special they can wear while doing their Santa duties — something festive that makes this new responsibility 100% “official.”
- A Santa hat would be great, but it could also be a fun pair of red socks, a red scarf, red fingernail polish or whatever!
- Make sure you have plenty of wrapping paper, boxes and bows on hand — because that’s what Santa is famous for.
- Encourage your children to sign each gift with their own unique Santa signature.
Using the hashtag #CertainlySanta, post pictures on social media of your Secret Santa(s) in action!
Video it! IF you decide to use this book for its intended purpose (revealing the Santa secret), pretty please record your experience and share it with us – we’d love to see your child’s unique reaction and share it with others!
There you have it: The secret is out, but it’s wrapped in joy. Good luck and Merry Christmas to you and the world’s newest Santa!