It’s that time of year again. You’re finally starting to get sick of turkey sandwiches. You may or may not have endured the insanity of Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday/Crap, I’m broke Tuesday.
And of course, if you celebrate Christmas and have small children, it’s the time where they start thinking about Santa. My daughter is no different. She’s nine and has been a big fan of Santa since she understood who he was. Always willing to sit and talk to him, or just stare awestruck at him like when she was three. Insistent that we make cookies for him, and how dare I even suggest store bought! But what I always loved to see was how grateful she was on Christmas Day when whether she got everything on her list or not. She’d tear into each present, spend some time admiring it for what it was, not just opening it and tossing it aside to see what else she got. Always thankful to Santa for stopping by our house.
But recently, we went to the mall, just to do some walking around and window shopping, and there he was, Mr. Claus himself. I asked her if she wanted to talk to him, and she said no, she’d send a letter. I nodded and we were about to walk away when she turned to me, her beautiful blue eyes already tearing up and said, “Mommy, I need to ask you a question, and I need you to tell me the truth.”
Of course I knew what was coming next. We had the talk. I tried to soften the blow by saying Santa was real, in that the spirit of him is what is real. And when we’re nice to each other and are giving…that is what makes Santa real, that we, sort of become Santa. That stopped the tears for a while, but then we walked into a bookstore with a huge Christmas book display and the tears began anew.
Over the next few hours though, she brightened, and I was happy she that she didn’t seem too scarred by one of childhood’s greatest traumas. What took me by surprise though is what happened at the grocery store. Ours has an angel tree set up where you can get shopping lists for kids who are less fortunate. My daughter insisted we get not one, but two, because we needed to “be Santa” for people this year, we needed to make him real for other people. I told her about the angel tree at my gym and she insisted we get one of those as well, so we did. Shopping’s all done, but the other day she reminded me that Toys for Tots is on, and her school has an angel tree…the list goes on and on.
I think a lot of times we as parents dread Christmas. The bills, the rush, the other people and especially the day our kids find out the truth about Santa. It’s hard to remember that the holidays are supposed to be a fun time, a time when we can all become a little closer, nicer, and all those other clichés like in the movies. But it really can be like that and I thank my daughter for such a beautiful reminder of that, and that Santa can be very real.
Blessings to you and yours, no matter what or how you celebrate the season.