Before a woman becomes a mom, and even after she joins the ‘club’, there are things that she tell herself she will do (and not do for that matter).
One particular thing I had decided early on was that I was not going to make Santa a big deal in our house. We are a Christian household and we believe that the real reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus. Why muddle any of the activities with a make-believe man that comes into people’s homes at night?
So when Gabe came along and was old enough to understand what we was saying, we began telling him the real story behind Santa Claus (St Nicholas) and that the fat guy with the beard that lives in the North Pole doesn’t actually exist. He took it very well actually. We didn’t ban Santa from our lives, we just focused on reminding Gabe what the real story was and letting him know that there are other children that believe in Santa Claus and we need to be nice and let them believe that.
Our children have never had a gift from Santa, everything has been clearly labeled as From: Daddy and Mommy (like kids even care about the name tags anyway!).
Then 2015 came around. Man this has been quite the year for change!
We were in the car and Eli (who is now three) said something about Santa Claus. Mind you, we are just barely dipping our toes into the Christmas season by now. I don’t even think we had made it to Thanksgiving yet. When Gabe heard Eli mention Santa, he exclaimed ‘he’s not real!’. I reminded Gabe that it wasn’t nice to tell other children that.
Then Gabe looked at me and said “is Santa real?”. I asked him what he thought and his brain got to clicking a little bit. He told me that if the Tooth Fairy is real then Santa is real. I could tell he was feeling me out on the subject of the Tooth Fairy as well, so I went with it.
Gabe and Eli have very different personalities. Gabe is very much a ‘tell me like it is’ kind of guy and Eli just goes with the flow. It felt totally normal to tell Gabe the real meaning behind Santa when he was so young because I knew he would appreciate it. Eli loves the idea of a real life fairy tale and is enjoying every moment of the season!
So now what?
Well for the first time ever we wrote letters to Santa (and he wrote letters back!), the kids will each receive a gift from Santa and we’ll set milk and cookies out on Christmas Eve.
Gabe is still very unsure about this whole business, but he loves the excitement and wonder of the season. He told us the other evening that if the milk and cookies were gone in the morning then Santa is real ;).
Eli is waiting impatiently for Christmas Eve and hopes he can catch Santa in the act.
Oh and Jesus? He’s still the reason we celebrate Christmas. We are just sprinkling some good old fashioned make believe into the house and enjoying childhood while it lasts.
Photo credit: Lyons Chamber of Commerce