This post is sponsored by Scholastic. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
My oldest daughter is 13 years old this year. She is smart, kind, and surprisingly naive (in a good, wholesome way). I have wondered every Christmas if this will be the last one that Santa is “real” for her. It’s remarkable we made it that many years, it’s a few more than I had as a child! These past 13 Christmases have been full of magic and wonder seeing the holiday through her eyes. This year will be different, though. This year, she knows.
A few years ago I read a viral social media post about how a mom let her child know “the truth” about Santa. It was everything I had felt about Santa and the spirit of Christmas, but could never quite articulate myself. As I wondered when and how I would have to tell my daughter the truth about Santa, I wished I could have done what that mom did. A few months ago the opportunity arose to discuss important topics, Santa being one of them. Had I not been on the spot, I would have made it a grand rite-of-passage moment, like a special meal or taking her out for a special dessert. Instead, I felt unprepared and a little sad about it, so it went as well as could be expected! While I’m proud, and somewhat surprised, she believed for 13 sweet years, it was a bittersweet coming-of-age from which she was so sweetly disappointed, but ultimately understood. She said she always heard her friends say things about “Santa” but she never believed them. Thankfully, she become optimistic and excited about the “flip side” of Santa. Feeling a little more grown up now that she is “in on it,” she has been looking forward to being part of the spirit of the season and now seeing the magic of Christmas through a beautiful new lens.
That same mom who is responsible for that social media post that impacted me back then has released an illustrated, interactive book about that special journey from believing to knowing. New from Scholastic, and written by Martha Brockenbrough and illustrated by Lee White, Love, Santa follows a series of letters a young girl writes to Santa to ask about the North Pole, Mrs. Claus, and of course, Christmas goodies. Year after year, Santa writes back, and a heartwarming relationship develops, until one year, the girl writes to her mother instead: Mom, are you Santa? Her mother responds to say that no, she is not Santa. Because Santa is bigger than any one person — we bring him out through kindness to one another and the power of imagination. This transformative tale spins a universal childhood experience into a story about love, giving, and the spirit of Christmas.
When I received Love, Santa, my oldest daughter and I read it together, and it helped me elaborate on the truth she learned just a few months ago. I imagine most people recall the time when they “found out” about Santa. I certainly do! Love, Santa allows that moment to be a sweet and meaningful turning point in a child’s life, rather than what some might feel is a rather comedic or even heartbreaking experience! It’s a lovely touch that Lucy’s letters are included for you to open and read, and as a mom of girls that just don’t stop growing, I appreciated the details of the change in handwriting and questioning as Lucy grew older throughout the book.
Thanks to this beautifully worded and illustrated book, and having one experience under my belt already, I am empowered to make my younger daughter’s experience even more special with this truthful and gentle message about the meaning of Santa. She is 8 now, and I doubt we will make it to 13 since she’s already asking questions thanks to her friends at school. One of these days my standby reply of, “Well, what do you think?” will sadly no longer be enough.
Martha Brockenbrough is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers, including The Game of Love and Death, which earned four starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist, Devine Intervention, and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at marthabrockenbrough.com.
Lee White is an artist and teacher who loves watercolor, print making, and climbing trees. He spends his days splashing paint in his backyard studio, where there are absolutely no clocks allowed! He has illustrated more than fifteen books and shown in galleries across the country, from Los Angeles to New York. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and young son.
Love, Santa is available in stores and online now. You can learn more about more about the book at Scholastic.com and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See how others are sharing their own Love, Santa experiences by following #LoveSantaBook on social media.