The Santa Question

Dear Santa, I would really like an iPad this year. An iPad mini would be fine too. Thanks!

But really, how to handle the Santa question? My family is comprised of several religions which is awesome. I love that my children get the chance to experience traditions from Christianity and Judaism. That is not the difficult part. The difficult part is deciding how to handle Santa when one of you grew up with Santa and the other didn’t. I decided to go ahead and start stressing about it now so that we can get clear on what we are doing by next year when at least one of our children is old enough to have a clue what is going.

One hilarious thing about babies is that they truly don’t have any idea what is going on most of the time and to see their reaction to it is very, very funny.

Anyway, I’ve seen so many online debates lately about Santa. Some people feel totally betrayed that their parents lied to them about Santa. Hmm. My reaction to that is: probably their parents lied to them about other more important things and they are taking it out on SANTA! Other people are like “hey what’s the harm in a little Santa?”

I fall in the Santa is awesome category. It can be tricky though. A dude that delivers gifts to every child in the world is hard to sell. I remember lying in bed near Christmastime, pondering how Santa could possibly do that. I finally settled on magic and left it at that. But then I asked the question, “Hey mom? Is Santa real?” I fully expected to hear “yes sweet angel, Santa is real and so is the Tooth Fairy.” Instead I got, “No.” I was totally shocked. I had heard a rumor at school (kindergarten) that Santa was not real and it was *gasp* our parents! I was just gonna confirm that the kids at school were liars when I got slapped with the truth.

After the earth-shattering news, we sat down and discussed that not only was Santa not real but neither was the Easter Bunny nor the Tooth Fairy. Worse still, I had to keep quiet about it at school because most of my friends didn’t know. That was rock bottom. But when you think about it, a giant bunny that delivers baskets of plastic eggs and chocolate and maybe a movie if you get lucky, is kind of alarming and an excellent reason to get a dog for protection. I could deal with no Tooth Fairy and no Easter Bunny. No Santa? Yes, yes there is one. I have to give it to my mom; Christmas was always pure magic for me. Until it became so hectic that I want to run away but that is another post for another day.

I understand why some folks (the same ones that feel betrayed by their lying progenitors) have issues with Santa. The Wal-Mart version of Santa (I like to hate on Wal-Mart if you couldn’t tell.) is not my cup of tea either. I’m not a department store Santa kind of girl. As a very young child, I remember seeing Santa once at a big Wal-Marty store and thinking “Santa wouldn’t wear a cheap suit. Santa would wear something nice, like velvet.” I was pretty into velvet. Another dead giveaway that mall Santa is not the real Santa is the lack of reindeer. How did he get to the mall otherwise? A Buick? No freakin’ way.

Maybe Santa Clause is the spirit of Christmas and maybe instead of showing up himself, he fills grouchy, old grownups with the spirit and we act in his place. Maybe, he teleports our gifts straight from the North Pole! Or maybe he comes down the chimney! That is hard. Not everyone has a chimney. We never had a chimney. And I’m certain he wears velvet and not polyester.

I want my kids to understand that Santa is not the kind of magic that you would ever find inside a mall. Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, St. Nick, and all the rest are the spirit of giving and the magic of childhood. If there’s no Santa, there are no fairies or elves or gnomes. I guess I’m saying that somewhere deep down, I still believe. I believe in kindness and giving and selflessness. I believe in fairies and elves and gnomes and magic. They may not exist in the earthly realm of bills, heartbreak, and the Jerry Springer show but there are realms out there that our puny, little human minds cannot comprehend. Sometimes, we cross into this realm, just for a moment; that split second when you look up and think you’ve seen a pair of tiny wings flash by or none of your socks have a pair and you just know that a gnome is behind it.

My friends, Santa is real. I can’t wait to bake cookies for Santa and leave them near the tree. I can’t wait until my children come and wake me up at 5 am because there has been magic in the house. Thank goodness for magic. This world would be a sad, bleak place without it.


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