Spoiler Alert! Are you 13 years old or older? If not, go get a grown up! You should only read this if you are a grown up! If you’re not a grown up, go get one!
Ok, parents, the reality is…it’s coming, any day now…the question I dread so much as a parent to young children…is Santa real? So many of my friends are sharing about the fateful day where they are “found out”, and the worst part about their stories is that they feel terrible – both for their child’s crushed spirit, and also for feeling like they somehow lied or failed them, even when they were trying to be fun and special. These traditions that we keep alive, including the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and Easter Bunny are fun, both in popular culture and in my family’s history. I have the best memories of waking up on Easter morning, and distinctly remember my cousin Marisa telling me that she was positive she heard Santa’s reindeers on her roof. Characters such as Switch Witch and Elf on the Shelf are taking the seasons to a whole new level. There’s something so special when you believe in the magic…until you don’t. Finding out the “truth” behind these traditions can be disappointing, and I don’t ever want to lie to my children…so what will I answer when the question comes to me?
When I heard about The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers I immediately knew I wanted to check it out. Created by mom Emily J Parnell, this is a guide for parents AND children to talk about holidays, traditions, and seasonal beings – those who bring festive magic into our lives. It’s a little bit of history, a little bit of fun (it’s all about being an agent in a secret society) and a lot about how magic is in our hearts more than anywhere else.
The kit arrives in a cute little “briefcase” with a cover letter underscoring the importance of discretion. It’s phrased in a fun and engaging way, as if the child is a secret agent. This is Classified information! Inside, the child will find a special Society token, a bookmark, and a Field Guide.
The Field Guide is a wonderful, thoughtful and beautifully written tool for you and your child to read together. It includes a history of holidays, an overview on beliefs and traditions, and has workbook-style pages that get children in on the fun now that they have been inducted as an agent into the “Secret Society”. The guide encourages children to still look forward to finding out what Santa will bring on Christmas morning, and to get thinking about how they can create magic of their own for their family members, even for the adults. The biggest lesson we all learn is that magic lies in our hearts, and we all can create magic for each other. My favorite line in the entire book (it honestly brought tears to my eyes when I read it) says “don’t stop believing now you know that seasonal magic doesn’t happen the way you once thought”. I think my parents did a wonderful job of this very idea when I learned the “truth”. I remember my mom saying that we are all Santa in a way, and once you know, you get to crossover to the other side where you get to be someone’s Santa. There’s such joy and magic on both sides!
The token represents the society’s tenets of Empowerment, Agency, Integrity, Curiosity and Respect. There is an entire section of the Field Guide that helps newly inducted “agents” in the society think about how they can keep from “spilling the beans” for other children in order for everyone to learn on their own time and to hear it from their own parents. This beautifully made token is something special the children can hold on to as a rite of passage.
So in the end, I’m hoping when the time comes for our family that I’m prepared. I’m grateful for this kit and will use it as our conversation starter. It’s already made me think differently about how I talk about seasonal beings in the mean time and wonder how I can ease my children into the next phase of their childhood.
I’m curious to know – how did you (or plan to) handle this situation in your home?
Author: Candace Thomas