This is a 16 & up post.
Frankly I don’t know how my child believed for so long. He has literally found his unwrapped presents every year. Every Christmas. Every birthday. Every Easter too. I’m consistent like that.
But we did all the other things we were supposed to do: sat on the strange mans lap (which goes against every good and bad touch rule); cookies and milk at bed time, reindeer food, creepy mischievous elves. We convinced him that this strange man would hold him accountable for his behavior and would reward him by coming into our home with gifts we could not afford. As you can tell I’m a little conflicted with this santa thing.
But at the same time, that magic. He believed in magic. He felt that indescribable excitement, and wonder and awe. The childhood joy. We put those beliefs in place and in the process inspired his imagination.
But it came to an end this Easter.
He caught me actually loading gifts and chocolates into his basket. Asked me if there was an Easter bunny. I mean, what do I say? That yes indeed there is some bunny that drops the same eggs every year filled with mommys favorite chocolate as well as a basket of gifts. A bunny!
No of course there is no easter bunny.
And Santa? And the tooth fairy?
So this is the moment I was waiting for. When I could admit it was all a lie. All that work into getting him to believe a lie. And he was crushed, naturally. That the only part of his childhood that felt totally unbelievably wonderfully mysterious was crushed.
Thinking on my feet, I explain to him that for all I knew a Santa kind of guy actually existed. A generous, giving person, or people. Maybe he had reindeers that flew. I have no idea. Christmas is supposed to be Jesus’ birthday, and somewhere down the line it turned into decorated trees and lots of parties and eggnogg latte’s. That the purpose of Christmas–it exists not in this Santa dude, but in the heart of gathering and giving. And that is why generation after generation have continued with the traditions that support the facade of Santa.
In my monologuing, I realized that the kindled embers of christmas magic are in the eyes of the children. And this is why us grownups keep at it. To give our children that feeling of wonder that we experienced in our own childhood.
So now that he knows the big secret. He is PART of the magic. He now has a responsibility of nurturing the excitement experienced by his younger brother, and I tell you he is more excited about this idea than he ever was about the Santa-man himself.
So this year, he helps mama put the elf in precarious positions (sometimes once an hour) he will bite carrots to look like reindeer teeth, he will play along with this big fat lie we all know to be false just to keep the spirit of the holidays alive, for his little brother, for another generation who is certainly in need of something amazing to believe it.