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When my son began misbehaving, I said, “If you don’t act nicely, the Easter bunny may not bring you a basket!” But the tack didn’t feel right either.
Recently, I have been wondering whether my son could really understand what a character is. When we were watching “Shrek,” I decided to ask him.
“Is Shrek real?”
“No, Mommy!” he answered with an eye roll. “Shrek is a character!”
“Oh! Like Santa Claus?” I asked.
“No, Mommy! Santa Claus is real!”
“How do you know he’s real?” I said.
“Because he brings me presents!”
Do I break it to him that a fat bearded man will not actually squeeze himself through a chimney (especially considering there are very few chimneys in Brooklyn apartments)? Or do I let him figure it out when he gets a bit older, like he probably would if he were raised by two Christian parents?
And come spring, do I tell him that no giant Harvey-sized rabbit is going to show up with a basket full of treats, but that his grandmother will carefully pick out the treats in Seattle, put them in a priority mailbox and ship them to Brooklyn?
For the time being, I figure I’ll leave it alone, and age will take care of it.
I believe we will provide our son with a strong enough Jewish identity that these Christmas and Easter icons will not threaten his understanding of who he is. But ask me again later this month. I may change my mind.
Annette Powers is a marketing and communications professional. In her free time, she writes about a variety of topics from co-parenting to Yom Kippur to compulsive texting.