You turn around and BANG. There it is. December again. The tree is trimmed, the cookie jar is filled, and the air is laced with the scent of fake pine and the dulcet Christmas tones of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.
Despite the fact that the cookie jar is actually filled with red-stuffed Oreos instead of home baked something-or-others*, and despite the fact that the 2000 piece Christmas puzzle laid out on the floor is giving my husband pretty severe heart palpitations, I gotta admit. The Millers do Christmas RIGHT. Christmas is a super sacred season here, filled with lots of traditions that are incredibly meaningless but which are actually fabulous and important because they are in fact OUR traditions. So we’ll re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy, wear our brand new coordinating Christmas pajamas, and drink hot chocolate while we examine the neighborhood and convince ourselves that our lights are better than anyone else’s lights. Because TRADITION.
Oh yeah, and apparently, we’ll Santa Claus.
I swear guys, I had NO IDEA that, at this age, my kids would still believe in Santa. I mean personally, I was like, 5, maybe 6, when I figured it out. And as of last weekend, ALL of my kids are at least 5. The oldest is 9. Just, not a very intelligent 9, as it turns out.
I remember my mom telling me years ago that she had to be careful with her 4thgrade class around Christmastime. Because there were always a few kids who still, at that age, believed in Santa. And I remember thinking, WOW. What kind of Weirdo child still believes in Santa Claus in 4thgrade?!?
And then, yadda yadda yadda, I went on to immediately raise those exact kinds of Weirdos.
When we had our first, Husband and I made a decision about Santa Claus. And that was this: We like Santa. We’ll do the Santa myth. But we WON’T lie to the kids outright. We’ll talk about Santa in a way that is obviously mythical and silly. Like we talk about Batman. And all these years later, I feel pretty confident that we kept our end of the bargain. Unfortunately, our kids didn’t keep up their end, by being minimally intelligent and picking up on a freaking clue already holy cow.
A couple of weeks ago Madelyn, who we venture to hope is starting to clue in, told me that she has some friends who don’t believe in Santa anymore. They’ve told her that they think their parents are Santa. But she doesn’t believe them. Later, she told her father and I that she thought, when she was an adult, she would KNOW if Santa was real. Because then she could test it. She could put out a stocking and see what happened. Her snark-master father responded, “OR, you could use a little deductive reasoning, and figure it out NOW.” Luckily, due to the fact that, again, they are not such intelligent children, they did not understand what he meant, and went on about their days.
Later that same day the kids got grumpy and all kinds of out of sorts. I shouted down the hallway, “KIDS. GET IT TOGETHER, OR SANTA IS GOING TO DISOWN YOU.”
Once again. Still didn’t get it. Point of all of this is to say, I MEAN it. We find weird ways to tell them all the time that Santa is a pretend thing. I’ve read them stories about the beliefs about Santa in other cultures. I told them that, with the Operation Christmas Child boxes, we got to “be Santa” for kids who otherwise might not get presents**.
I do have a theory as to their totally unsupported belief in the Fat Man. I think, at some point, they’re doing it on purpose. To begin with, although my daughter told me her friends think their parents are Santa, she never actually asked me. She didn’t ask what I thought, or ask if I was Santa. She threw it out there. Then changed topics. They persist in their belief, ignoring things like “Stocking stuffer” sections at the store. They ignore their friends’ doubts, and their parents’ teasing, all too obvious comments. Because in truth, they would rather live in a world where, just one month out of the year, childhood is still honored, and magic still exists.
So we’ll let it go. We’ll let them believe, if just for a little longer. Stay young, crazy little Weirdos. We’ll save that deductive reasoning for another day.
*It was a half effort, admittedly. You're welcome family. I kind of tried.
** They responded by freezing for a second and then convincing themselves it was cool, Santa would visit the poor kids too. Whew. Close one.