Is Santa Real?

Tis the Season, right?  Wrong.  While a lot of parents get ready for the Christmas season with zeal and utter delight (ha), I always have a small amount of dread that rides the yuletide wave into town.  See, for me, the dread is not about the shopping (I have amazon.com for that), the decorating (a fake tree and plenty of ornaments), the family visits (family doesn't visit enough, so any family visit is a good family visit), or the cooking (I LOVE cooking).  This mother's dread comes from my 7 year old who has long since known that Santa is not real...at least not the Santa in the mall that brings you toys on Christmas morning.

I brought it on myself, I know.  I don't like lying to my kids, even if it's to make a childhood belief last longer.  So when my nephew told my young son that Santa wasn't real and he came up to me for validation, or maybe hoping I would squelch the lies coming forth from my nephew's blasphemous mouth....I did what any parent might do...I said, "Well, what do YOU think?"  To which my little man replied, "I don't know...I don't think so."  We let that sit a bit and a few days later he asked again, this time...it seems...hoping I would validate HIS feelings that it wasn't real and only kids believed it.  Oy.

I told him the story of Saint Nicholas and how he was a real man, etc, etc...but yes, the Santa in the mall is just a man dressed up...and his JOB is to try to keep the magic alive for little boys and girls.  We talked about how Christmas is really about Jesus' birthday (which sparked our tradition of baking Jesus a birthday cake at Christmas....'cause, well, it's his birthday, DUH!).

So my dread comes when any other little child shows innocent exuberance at the sight, nay, mention of his glorious name....Santa.  All of the magic and wonder and excitement can be smashed in a single, tear-inducing statement..."You know, he's not real."  Images of little boys and girls in tears and utter dismay at hearing those words would fall on my shoulders as the 'mother of the little boy that ruined Christmas for my family'.  Any time we're walking by and a 'Santa' is out passing out free smiles and warm handshakes...I must quietly and quickly remind the eldest-belief-smasher that we do NOT tell anyone that Santa is not real.  We let them have their magic for as long as they can hold onto it.  He silently nods as we continue to walk, but he is eyeballing the kids, with their glossed-over eyes and crack-your-face smiles...and I know what he's thinking.

But bless his heart....he stays silent and manages to keep the secret alive.

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