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.