Santa

Santa. I’m not a fan of the myth. A fat man wearing the polar equivalent of a track suit monitors my every activity all year long, and then, while I’m sleeping between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, breaks into my house via a chimney and puts gifts in my house? People tell me this is a magical story. When it’s presented as a story, I agree. Just like many other stories, it’s fantastic. But to say that it really happens? I just can’t. I can’t do it.

I am fine with telling the story, but don’t want to do the whole Santa thing. I don’t want have to intercept Little Dude’s letters to the North Pole, and then go out and buy the gifts he wants, put them under the tree on Christmas Eve and pretend that someone else put them there. When someone else’s bank account takes care of the bill, I’ll gladly swap out the gift tags.

My husband and I disagree on Santa and the “importance” of teaching the story to our child. Due to the impasse, I’ve told him that if he wants to “be” Santa, he can do so. I won’t interfere. I swore off visits to Santa too. Until . . . .

We decided to go to Bass Pro the other day to see their Christmas display. S wanted Little Dude to get his picture with Santa. I stood in line with them, and told S that I refused to subject my very sensitive kid to an experience he didn’t want. I knew he’d cry, and I said I wouldn’t have him sit on the fat man’s lap. We were next in line. All of a sudden Little Dude threw an unrelated mini-fit, and wanted ME to hold him rather than Daddy. So there I am, feet away from the CEO of Christmas and I’m holding my kiddo. Our turn was announced, and I tried to play along. “Do you want to go see Santa?” I asked. LD looked at me like I was nuts, but didn’t freak out. Yet. We got closer and he lost it. He didn’t want near that guy. I apologized (which was unnecessary; I know he gets it all the time.) I said that we’d just continue on and skip the photo and I tried to leave. Santa, the Elf and S all insisted that we get our photo taken. So we did, begrudgingly.

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I felt terrible. And then I saw the proof, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I’ll admit, the expression on LD’s face is priceless, but I did feel bad. I hoped he would easily forget about the experience. I thought he did.

Last night LD asked me what the stockings on our railing were for. I started to tell him a story.

“Well, honey, there is a story that goes like this: On Christmas Eve, after everyone goes to sleep, Santa and his reindeer visit houses around the world. Santa comes down the chimney with gifts for little girls and boys and puts them . . . “

“Stop it, Mama! Stop it! Stop talking about Santa!”

I can’t say he ever spoke that way before. I laughed, and told him I was sorry for bringing up the subject. I zipped up his jacket and we went to the gym. We haven’t mentioned the Jolly One since.

I know most folks do play Santa for their kids. To those of you who do not, how do you teach your kids not to ruin it for the other kids who believe?

Oh – and the first two or three times LD saw the image of Santa (before these episodes), he pointed and said “Donkey! Donkey!” Donkey? Where did that come from? Is he calling Santa an ass?

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