Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Santa Issue

I love Santa Claus.  I love Christmas, and Santa is one of the main symbols of the season, so I love him.  He's chubby, he has a red nose, he loves cookies and milk, he enjoys snow and toys, and red is his favorite color.  We have a great deal in common, Santa and I.  But Santa is causing me some concern lately.

A is in 4th grade.  J is in 3rd.  I have a funny feeling that J might not believe in Santa, but he is keeping quiet about it for fear that if he questions Santa, the Santa gifts will stop showing up Christmas morning.  A believes in him 100 percent, and that's sort of stressing me out.  It's a wonderful thing to see in a child, that unabashed belief in magic, but at some point he's going to have to learn the truth, and it's breaking my heart to think about it.  I don't want him to be the weirdo that's getting beat up in high school because he still believes in Santa, and I think he's approaching a good age for the talk.  Hubby and I have decided that this year if he asks us or approaches us to talk about it, we'll have the talk with him.  We've talked about how to break it to him, and we have some good ideas, but I have a bad feeling about it.

When my Nephew3 learned about Santa, it broke his little heart.  He cried and cried, and acted like he had been deceived and Christmas was ruined.  It was AWFUL for my brother and SIL1.  I have a feeling that's what it's going to be like for A, and I'm not looking forward to it.  Nephew3 was over it rather quickly, but still.  Yuck.

When we explain it all to A, we're hoping to tell him that Santa is real, but not the way he thinks he is.  He's a real symbol of giving and of magic, and that Christmas is magic and still can be.  We'll tell him that now he's in the league of grown ups when it comes to Santa, and it is now his responsibility to carry on the magic of Santa in all the kids younger than him, and to help them continue to believe, so Christmas will stay magical for the little ones.  We will tell him that Santa won't stop coming to our house on Christmas Eve, but now he can stop trying to stay up so he can see him.  Hopefully that will all help cushion the blow.

When I was in 4th grade, I learned about Santa.  I think I already kind of knew, deep down, that he wasn't real, but I wasn't positive.  I asked my mom that December in the kitchen.  She told me the truth.  But she did it in such a kind way, and in a way that allowed me to continue to believe in the magic of Santa, even if I knew a chubby man didn't sneak into our house into the middle of the night every Christmas Eve.  She told me that it was my responsibility to help the magic continue for my sister, who is five years younger than me.  So I was okay about it, and believe me--I was a fervent believer.  But look at me know!  It certainly did not destroy Christmas for me.

I have to tell my little story about one of the reasons A is such a believer.  Five years ago, we were at the State Fair.  It was a magical year there anyway, as it was the last year we were there with my mother in law, and that was one of her favorite places to be.  Many amazing things happened that day, and this was one of them.  We were all over at the band shell to take a break and watch a band.  I was trying to assemble my little family on one of the benches, probably hollering out their names and telling them to come over and sit down.  All of a sudden we hear this, "Is that you, A (using his full name)? And your brother J?"  We look over, and SANTA CLAUS IS SITTING ON A BENCH FOUR ROWS BACK!  He is dressed in cargo shorts, suspenders, and a short sleeved shirt with a Christmas print all over it.  My kids' jaws dropped to the ground.  "Come over here, you two, I need a word with you!"  The three of us walk back to him, there's a walking stick leaning against the bench next to him that looks like a giant peppermint stick.  He tells my kids that he's been getting reports that they've been behaving wonderfully this year, and that he's very proud of them.  He says that if he continues to listen to their parents and be good to each other, then they should be very happy with what he brings them for Christmas!  Then he gives them each a business card, which on one side says, "Santa Claus--North Pole" and on the other side it just has a picture of him posing with some elves in his workshop.  He also gives them a little peppermint, shakes their hands, and send us back to our seats.

This is the Santa we saw at the Fair.
He's magic.

It was magic, and I was in tears.  That man cemented my kids' believe in Santa, and gave us a moment I will remember forever.  I found out who he was, and later discovered he has a website (which is very cool, by the way).  I was able to e-mail him and tell him how much that moment meant to us.

So anyway, Santa is kind of a big deal to me, and I don't want to handle this wrong.  I guess I should have faith in the magic of Christmas, and that it will be o.k. no matter what.

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