Introducing Santa Claus to my daughter was never a question. I guess I could call it lying (because technically it is) but instead I’ll refer to Santa as magical. Besides the fact that it sounds better, Santa has always brightened my December. I believed in Santa for an embarrassingly long time. Despite finding my own Christmas presents in the basement one year, I still held out hope that the North Pole and little elves with candy-cane stripes existed. Back then, the Polar Express would have bypassed my house because my jingle bell always rang.
It was with all of this in mind that I didn’t hesitate to tell my daughter about the Big Guy who was always watching and checking his list and conferring with elves and flying through the air with his reindeer sleigh filled with presents. Of course it took her a few years and one very hilarious picture with her mouth gaping open and a hellish cry coming out in order for her to understand, but once she did, my daughter was smitten.
This is probably the last year she’ll believe in Santa. After this Christmas, the dreaded time will come when we will have to face the Christmas carols and tell our daughter the truth: Santa just so happens to be Mom and Dad. And not only that but everyone – and I do mean everyone – is in on it; including Buddy the Elf. We knew this day would come without really believing it would actually arrive. And in our own little parent way, Santa got the best of us too.
I think I realized it last year when we were standing in line to see Santa and I looked around only to discover that all of the parents had little kids and mine was like a dinosaur facing extinction. And with that, we knew: our Santa days were numbered.
It’s a cliché that time flies: that one Christmas you’re placing a hand smaller than yours into paint and making Santa’s cookie plate to be fired in the kiln and then the next those tiny hands have grown larger than your own and the plate is a warm memory of the toddler years. Children really do grow that fast and things you do and choices you make really do become memories that you cherish. But when you’re making memories, you only have a faint realization that one day your future self will look back and say: thank goodness I had the wherewithal to take her to make the plate in the first place.
When the truth about Santa finally comes tumbling out, it will be a letdown, but not the end of the world. Instead of a death march, I see this as a new beginning just like potty training or giving up the binky. Plus, we’ll finally be able to take the credit for all those presents and maybe, just maybe, sleep after 6 am on Christmas morning.
What do you think? Believing in Santa