I fear, my red-suited friend, that your days are numbered around our place.
You see, I think the boys are on to you. They may be little, but they’re pretty savvy. Sebastian used his mad interrogation skills to get me to confess to being the tooth fairy today. Two days of questioning and I crumpled like wet cardboard.
While I was laying there, prone, Daniel piped up with, “Yeah, and I bet Mommy’s Santa, too!” Yeah, I know. How’d he figure that out already?
You’ll be happy to know that I shut down that conversation as fast as I could. I sent Daniel my best “not NOW” look, changed the subject quickly (my stock reminder to them to hand in their homework works well for many occasions) and sent them on their way to school. Crisis adverted.
I think. But I swear I saw a look of triumph in Daniel’s face. My insistence in your existence may now fall on deaf ears.
So Santa, if this is to be our last Christmas together, I have to admit something.
If the boys are savvy to you, if our explanation about the physics of how you can be present in multiple shopping malls at the same time no longer seems plausible, if I can no longer use your exhortation to “be good!” as a crutch (“if you don’t stop that I’ll call Santa!”) then I really won’t be upset. At all.
As you know, you’ve hardly been an active participant in our Christmases. They boys only ever get one gift per year from you. Growing up, I knew kids who got nothing for Christmas except the Toronto Star Christmas Box . And it struck me, even as a kid, that this seemed inequitable. Why would you give some kids multiple presents, and others…..just one. And so, as parents, we’ve tried to even the playing field, intending that along the way, we’d also teach them about gratitude (that gifts are given and accepted and not just conjured up as by magic, so the gift requires acknowledgement) and about how blessed they are to live as they do. It’s hard to teach them to be gracious and modest about their blessings when Santa spoils them, but not other kids.
We’re not unimaginative grinches. We acknowledge the joy and magic that you bring to Chrismas each year. I once had a friend who refused to tell her kids about Santa, since she didn’t believe in lying to them. That always seemed to me to be a bit disingenuous. Parents lie to their kids all the time. I lie to mine when it’s necessary, to keep them safe, protect their innocence or get them to the dinner table. So we’ve willingly fostered a belief in your existence, brought the kids to see you, written you letters, and allowed the boys to be kids, to believe in your magic. And who knows? Maybe you’ll get letters from my boys this year, and I hope you’ll forgive their spelling mistakes.
But if not, please don’t be too upset. I’m kind of looking forward to a different understanding of what Christmas means. I love giving gifts. I love to spoil my boys – I really do, and I admit that we do spoil them at the holidays. But when we take our boys to buy a gift to donate to children who have less than them, when we teach them about charity and giving and volunterism – all things we feel are so important, it will be nice not to have to continue to explain how you fit into all this.
Merry Christmas, Santa.