Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Big Holiday Lie

A week or so ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a link to a blog written by a [self-righteous] “Grinchmommy” who didn't believe in "lying" to her kids about the existence of Santa Claus. She was sure that the proliferation of the jolliest elf of all led to mistrust and disappointment. And she called Santa "a beast":

I guess her bell just doesn't ring anymore.

I tell ya, I had just read 'Twas the Night before Christmas to Max right before I read that bog, and I wouldn't trade the wonder on his face during that story for anything. I love the intrigue, magic, and fun that Santa -- and the season itself -- brings to our house. Mia knows "the truth", and when she found out, she thought she had been let in on life's biggest secret. She wasn't upset or let down. Instead, she was tickled that she had such an advantage over her brothers. She was also thrilled to realize that it was me who made her wooden horse barn, not elves.

At age 9, Will still claims to believe. He doesn't ask any questions; I think he may not want to know the answer. He did tell me a few years ago that while he did believe in Rudolph, "there's no way he can have a red nose. It's impossible." [Yet it's possible that he flies? I didn't press that issue...] This year, when I asked him if he'd go visit Santa Claus with Max, he said no because he isn't into the fake Santas. Just the real one. So my guess is that this is Will's last year on the Polar Express.

Max is in the full swing of the fantasy. I'm not taking him to see Santa though because I'm pretty sure he won't sit on Santa's lap if Will won't. (That's just the nature of the brotherhood.) But we're reading all the stories and watching all the movies. ("Elf", "The Santa Clause", and "A Christmas Story" are our favorites.) The kids are buying each other gifts -- with their own money for the first time. And it's likely Cookie Day this weekend.

So even after Santa is outed for everyone, we'll still watch the shows, eat the cookies, carefully choose gifts for one another, and do what we can for those in need. We'll cherish the opportunity to remember the joy in traditions -- and such singular phrases as "You cotton-headed ninny muggins" (courtesy of "Elf"). And contrary to Grinchmommy's allegations, we'll experience understanding and acceptance from the spirit of giving that only this season brings.

(440 words)

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