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“But We Don’t Have a Chimney!”

Christmas is coming…and with it, the usual questions about Santa, posed by kids young enough to still believe but old enough to begin to wonder… and question… and doubt. Or posed by kids young enough to still believe but old enough to worry: “How is Santa going to get into our house? We don’t have a chimney!”

            As a mom, you want to keep your child’s belief alive for as long as it’s feasible. One day soon, he or she will be fully aware that Santa is arguably the most beautiful myth ever told. But you’re not in any hurry for that day to arrive. And if your child is in the “young enough to believe, old enough to worry” age group, you want to assuage his concerns as much as possible.

            But how?

            Here are some questions you may find yourself facing, along with some creative answers. Moms, do your homework! You aren’t back in school, and this isn’t your algebra final, but getting the answers right is every bit as important, so study, memorize, and be prepared with the right answer (or at least a good one) when one or more of these questions gets lobbed your way. In some cases I’ve provided more than one answer. You can take your pick of the one you think will work best for your child.


Q: We don’t have a chimney. How is Santa going to get in the house if we’re sleeping when he gets here?


A1: Santa has a key to everyone’s front door. He can get in without a problem.


A2: Santa will knock on our bedroom window and wake me up, and I’ll go to the front door and let him in.


A3: Santa’s reindeer will stop the sleigh right next to my window. They can tread air the same way you’ve seen me tread water in the lake. Then Santa will knock on my window, I’ll open the window, he’ll hand me all the presents through the open window, and I’ll carry them downstairs to the tree.


A4: I have a special arrangement with Santa. After you’re asleep, while Daddy (Grandma, the babysitter) stays in the house with you, I’m meeting Santa in a secret place, and he’ll hand over all the presents to me, and I’ll bring them back in the car and put them under the tree.


Q: How can Santa be at the mall where we saw him and downtown where Jennifer saw him at the same time?


A1: Santa is magic. He can be in many places at once.


A2: The real Santa is at the North Pole, getting all the presents ready. The Santas at the mall and downtown are really Santa’s helpers (Santa’s brothers, who help him; Santa’s cousins, who help him). They talk to Santa every day (by phone; by email) and tell him everything that the kids have told them about what they want for Christmas and whether they’ve been good.


Q: If Santa’s elves make all the toys, why does my doll have a label that says “Mattel” just like Jennifer’s doll that her mom bought at the store?


A: A long time ago, Santa’s elves made all the toys themselves. Now there are so many kids in the world that the elves need a little help. So while some elves are busy in the workshop at the North Pole, others are busy going to stores and buying toys that Santa can bring to kids.


Q: How can Santa get to every kid’s house in the whole world in one night?


A1: The reindeer have a little help. Santa has an engine from a jet plane on the back of his sleigh. It helps the sleigh fly faster than the reindeer alone can pull it.


A2: Remember how I told you that when it’s nighttime here, it’s daytime in Russia and Japan? And when it’s nighttime there, it’s daytime here? So Santa actually has 24 hours to get around the world before it’s the next day everywhere.


A3: The real Santa just goes to all the houses in our country. Some of his helpers fly to the houses of kids in other countries. Santa has backup reindeer, too — the children of Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen and Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen and Rudolph — who pull the sleighs of his helpers. And they deliver the presents to those kids.


Q: Why did Santa bring more presents to Evan than to me? I’m just as good as Evan.


A1: Evan may have gotten more presents altogether, but you may have gotten more presents you really wanted.


A2: You know that Santa’s elves make some presents and buy some presents. Santa may have spent more money on your presents — money Santa spent on the materials his elves need to use for the presents they made, as well as money Santa spent on the presents the elves bought — than he did on Evan’s, even though Evan got a larger number of presents.


            Santa Claus is one of the most beautiful myths that exists. Santa is the embodiment of the Christmas spirit, the spirit of giving, the spirit of love. So do your homework and be ready when your child asks a Santa question. This is one test you definitely don’t want to fail!


Cynthia MacGregor is the author of Think for Yourself, Thank You Notes and other books forthcoming from Familius. 

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