Here is the thing you need to understand if you have any hope of existing on this planet with other humans: Everyone has a different life. A different story, a different history that informs them. You don't get to decide how someone should feel about anything, it's just not the way it works. Not even something as seemingly innocuous as believing in Santa Claus. Because it turns out that jolly myth does not carry the same joy for everyone. In fact, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade's kids don't believe in Santa for a pretty sobering reason, and it's something that perhaps not everyone has considered.
The Being Maru Jane actress and her former NBA player husband are raising four children together. The couple share 10-month-old daughter Kaavia James while also raising Wade's three sons from a previous relationship, 17-year-old Zaire, 12-year-old Zion, and 5-year-old Xavier. Wade is also guardian to his nephew Dahveon, according to The Miami Herald, who turns 18 next month. In a household full of children, a person might expect that the tradition of Santa Claus is a pretty big deal. After all, it's difficult to live in modern society and not be inundated with constant images about the jolly immortal man in the red suit and white beard who comes down chimneys on Christmas Eve to deliver presents to their children,
In the Wade/Union household, however, this is not a narrative they necessarily recognize. And it's certainly not a narrative they are passing on to their kids.
Union sat down for Oprah magazine recently to interview journalist and new mom Tamron Hall when the subject of Santa Claus came up. As the actress explained to Hall, her husband Wade grew up in a household where Santa Claus was not part of his family's Christmas celebration.
"I’ll say to my husband, 'Let’s tell the kids their Christmas gifts are from Santa.' And my husband is like, 'There's no way in hell I'm letting these kids think that old white man is sneaking into our house and doing anything for them,'" Union said to Hall in the interview. "Because he didn’t grow up believing in Santa Claus. And we have these conversations when it comes to raising our children about where to draw the line between fantasy and 'Hey, that’s not how life works.'"
Hall — herself a first time mom to 4-month-old baby boy Moses, according to People — completely agreed "100 percent" that the Santa conversation is considerably more complicated than some might realize, especially for people of color, telling Union: "Modern parenting is especially difficult for parents of color — we have to talk about not only 'Are we gonna say Santa exists,'" but also 'Is Santa Black?'"
It does seem a bit archaic to simply swallow the concept of a white man taking credit for all of the presents working parents bought for their children, perhaps especially for parents of color. Wade and Union are clearly making the best choice for their own family when it comes to holiday traditions. Because that's the whole idea of having a family, isn't it? To combine your histories and your narratives and create something that makes sense for all of you. Santa or no Santa.