Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Santa's magic

My girls believe in Santa. I was feeling concerned about it recently, I mean, they are almost-8 and 9 years old.

I was speaking with a friend the other day and she told me her daughter believed in Santa until she was 10 years old and eventually had to be told the truth. That made me feel a lot better. This friends daughter has a 4.0 gpa from the Really Super Smart University Special High Honors Program. So there.

It does occur to me they might be lying. When I was a kid, my mother told us that Santa only comes if you believe in him. To this day I have not overtly expressed to her whether I do or do not believe. Although our discussions of handling the subject with my own children may have led her to some conclusions. But I can't say for sure.

So I go through all the motions with my girls. The Santa gifts appear next to our wood burning stove since it's the closest thing we have to a fireplace. For several years Teena has questioned this, since it is not actually a true fireplace and all the research she has done indicates that if there is no fireplace, Santa leaves his gifts by your tree.

I try to make the Santa gifts appear different from any other gifts. Things from us are in a gift bag. By gift bag, I mean the plastic bag the store gifts us with when we buy the things. I wrap the Santa stuff in special paper that I stow in the back of my closet with the cat hair. I have a thick black marker to write with and I use block letters. I did this all while watching My Fair Wedding with David Tutera on Netflix.

(He cracks me up, the way he is so nicey nice to the brides then slinks outside with his eyes all buggy to hiss to the camera "she wants her bridesmaids to dress like frogs?" )

Every year I put out a diversion too. Last year I dug out some ashes and messed them around on the floor. This year I smashed a few oreos on the hearth (*snort* fancy word for the ground next to the wood burner ha ha) but we didn't set out any cookies for Santa. The idea was, and Genea got this (Teena did not), that Santa must have seen my stash of personal cookies and thought they were for him. So he helped himself, but being in an obvious hurry he made a little mess. However we forgive him in the name of ice- cream- cone- shaped- mint- chocolate- chip- flavored- lip gloss.

Genea believes in all of it. In her mind there are the things that are true, then there are all other things which are not true. You don't question things that are true because, well, they are true! Since you can only pick one, she picks Santa.

 I should add though, that neither one of my girls has bought into the whole elf on a shelf business. They named her Brave Tiara and follow the no-touching rule. Sure, they search her out every day, but there was only one specific occasion where I was able to squelch an amped up child by muttering "hey elf, did you hear Genea scream she's not going to put away her laundry and she hates us all and hates laundry too? I wonder how Santa feels about slamming doors and trashing the room" (Genea often pauses mid-fit to hear what we are saying but only if it is not directed to her, this time it worked to stop her freak out). Teena actually had an anxiety attack over the elf's lack of bones. She spent days genuinely fearful for the elf trying to make all that distance in a body that appears to have no skeleton. Otherwise as far as my kids are concerned, that elf is just part of the audience and they don't give a shit if she is a witness or not.

Teena, using her best deductive reasoning and inference skills, has come to her conclusion on this Santa deal. She knows it is not possible to circle the earth pulled by flying wildlife. A world's worth of toys would never fit in one sleigh.  As is her character, she prefers to think out loud with one specific listener (me of course). So she says, "that can't be true Mamaright? RightMama? Nobody can go around the world in the night, can they? It just can't happen that way, rightMama? People can't really go in chimney's rightMama? How would they get back out? There is only one way, Mama,  the only way it's true is if he is magic. RightMama? Right? None of it can be true unless he's magic."

Right Teena. It is magic.


  1. Smart girl your Teena. It IS magic. ;-)

    FWIW, Bicicleta Girl still believes and she is 8.

  2. Mine is 9 and believes. Of course she also believes she is a vampire (last month it was werewolf). And even if she chose to no longer believe, she would continue the charade in hopes of getting more THINGS.

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  4. I love the whole Santa experience, BUT my boys were way too indoctrinated at their foster home, into believing everything hard-core, including that ALL gifts came from Santa, and giving no credit to anyone else - I had an issue with that. I also discovered I have a hard time actively perpetuating the belief. So, I provide vague responses to their Santa statements, and have actually come right out a few times and mentioned the "pretend Story that people made up about Santa" (after our boys were introduced somewhere to the St. Nicholas story...I used it as a spring-board toward reality orientation!)...but even when I am totally blunt, they just carry on asking about Santa's antics, etc., and I don't plan to have an all-out intervention, but I do find it amusing that I can overtly talk about Santa being a myth, and it just totally goes over their heads at this point...

  5. Funny you should use the word magic! I felt I had to tell my 10 And 11 year old there was no Santa after a particularly worrying incident when my son got freaked out about the tooth fairy (long story!). They were always questioning Santa' s existence anyway, and old enough to know, and it was a relief not to have to lie anymore!

    But they went really hard-core anti- Santa! Any mention of him, any film about him, lots of sneers and cynicism! It was horrific! And what was worse was that my extended family kept arguing with the children and telling them there WAS a Santa and it was so confusing for them!

    So I've introduced the concept of "magic" and how we all like to have a bit of magic in our lives, and I keep talking to them about myths and stories, and make-believe. Some people like to believe in Santa and that's fine, because they just want a bit of magic in their lives.

    Stupid tradition anyway if you ask me.

  6. Well....they better not come to MY house. I'm not very into Santa.... However, if I lived in your house, I think I'd assure you I believed, too, just to see how far you'd go with all the "evidence". Pretty cute!

  7. We had so much fun with Santa this year. No one in my house believes, but I still played it up for Nick's benefit, even though he's 15. Figured he needed that at least once in his life. He kept saying, "Mom, I'm not a little kid. Santa's not real." But then on Christmas eve, he wanted to put up a video camera to try to see for sure. So there was at least a glimmer of "maybe?!" It was fun. Although truthfully, I was pretty relieved when my kids stopped believing. It's hard enough to keep everything equal and fair without Santa in the mix!


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