Charity Hutchinson was stumped. Her 8-year-old nephew Radek, who lives with her family along with his 9-year-old brother, Fedor, came to her recently and told her that he knew the truth about Santa Claus and that he did not believe in him anymore. "At the time, I felt sad, because he seemed disappointed telling me his news," Hutchinson told TODAY Parents. "In that moment, I didn't know what to say to him."
Luckily, a few days later, Hutchinson spotted something in a friend's Facebook feed that gave her an idea of how to approach Santa with both her nephews and her own sons, Lucas, 4, and Lennox, 6. The Kelowna, British Columbia, mom said she got goosebumps and tears in her eyes after reading the story, so she posted it to her own Facebook page, explaining, "This is by far the best idea I've seen about telling your kids about Santa."
The approach reveals the truth about Santa to children, but instead of just ending the magic, it replaces it with something even more powerful: it encourages parents to teach their children how to start becoming "Santas" themselves by actively thinking about others and transitioning to the role of givers instead of just receivers. "This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit," it states.
Hutchinson's Facebook post has now been shared almost 7,500 times.
Hutchinson grew up without the Santa myth though her husband, Josh, did. They had discussed whether or not to even practice it in their home, and decided this strategy not only makes sense, but also fulfills a need.
"It made me feel like I could happily talk to my kids about Santa and allow them to have all that childhood excitement and wonderment, because Santa and becoming a Santa was going to teach them about the joy of giving and and the true meaning of Christmas," she said.
After reading the story, Hutchinson took her Santa-skeptical nephew aside and tried introducing the concept of "becoming a Santa" to him.
"Something amazing happened!" said Hutchinson. "His eyes lit right up, and that excitement and joy returned to him, and he couldn't stop asking me questions. 'Does everyone know about this? Do my Mom and Dad? Are you a Santa too? Do I go in through their chimney to give them their present? How can I get it to them?'"
Instantly, Hutchinson said, she could see the wheels turning in her nephew's head. "He started planning who his special target would be and what he would get them and how he'd pull it off," she said. "Suddenly, instead of him planning just his Christmas list for us, he was secretly planning his mission now too."