Why I Wrote Santa in a Snow Globe

It’s true… it’s been a hard year for everyone.

For some, much worse than others. No family holiday celebrations, sports canceled, floods, droughts, people suffering, kids going hungry. I know, it’s pretty depressing stuff.

As a parent myself, I can understand people asking whether this is the type of news we want to share with our children. And my answer is yes. We have to. Kids are perceptive, and with pretty much everyone wearing masks these days, it’s hard not to know something is up. They stayed close to home most of the summer; some are still not physically back in school. Some have had relatives or friends die from Covid. Many have seen, or suffered from, smoke from numerous wildfires.

It’s a tough world out there, but this wouldn’t be the first generation of kids to learn the hard lessons of needing to keep a stiff upper lip, thinking of others before themselves, being kind, and giving to those who have less. Our great grandparents made it through the depression, World and Asian wars, and our grandparents the nuclear age of “duck and cover.” We ourselves lived through the horror of 9/11. And it’s not as if Santa in a Snow Globe will be most children’s first introduction to a harsher reality. After all, most saw both Bambi’s mom and Simba’s dad killed in a Disney movie. And most of the Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm’s fairy tales we read to them at bedtime are, in fact, pretty grim.

But kids are resilient; they don’t think about what was, they just know about what’s in front of them, some from a very young age. Greta Thunberg was 15 when she first started advocating for climate change. Memory Banda was 13 when she began her campaign against child marriage in Malawi. Malala Yousafzai—subsequent winner of the Nobel Prize—was 11 when she began to anonymously report on life under the Taliban. David Hogg, a survivor of the Marjorie Stoneman High School shooting is one of four founding members of the #NeverAgain movement and winner of the Children’s Peace Prize.

In the immortal words of James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” How can we hope to raise our children to fight against injustices if we are afraid to tell them what those injustices are?  Which brings me back to the reason I wrote Santa in a Snow Globe. I’m an optimist. I’m an adult Jewish woman who still believes in Santa Claus and happy endings. So, of course, Santa will show up on Christmas Eve, but before he does, he has a few words to say about what he sees happening in the world, how we—both parents and kids can help change it—and what matters most.

I hope you share Santa in a Snow Globe with your children. Many kids are already aware they are not living in a world solely consisting of sunshine and lollipops. But they also know—innately—that love is stronger than hate. Perhaps that is a lesson they can share with their parents.