I have very vivid memories of trying to stay awake on Christmas Eve as a child, so I could see Santa’s sleigh cruising through the night sky. I have very few memories that remain of my early childhood, actually – but these have stuck. I plan on telling the Santa lie. And I have no problem with it.
I don’t have any memories of the of my thoughts on the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy – although I’m sure I believed in them, too. But Santa stuck. I can actually remember what it felt like to believe in something magical. Okay, so it was a total fabrication. So what? I would sit at my window convinced I was hearing sleigh bells. It was exciting. I wish there was still something I believed in with that much conviction.
My son is three and this is the first holiday season that he’s hearing about Santa. I got him the Elf on the Shelf book and Santa is all over it. I’m trying to explain the whole Santa-bringing-toys thing, but I’m not sure he quite gets it yet. I’d think he’d be more interested if it was DJ Lance Rock coming down the chimney, instead of a bearded, fat, old man. Still, I’m making an effort to explain the tradition. I loved believing in him – and although I remember being a little dismayed when I realized he wasn’t real – it didn’t traumatize me at all.
It was Christmas Eve. I had peeked into the living room over our second floor landing and saw my mom putting the cutest koala bear stuffed animal under the tree. It was all I could do not to run down and grab it immediately – I was so happy to see it. The next morning, as I ran down to the tree my mom pointed to it and said, Look what Santa brought you! I remember a moment of total confusion and not much else.
Are there people who actually feel deceived because their parents told them the stories of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or any other make-believe character? All of these entities bear gifts – that alone makes me think all kids would rather they “exist” than not. Besides, adulthood sucks. I wish I could believe in some kind of magical entity that breaks into my house to shower me with gifts. That would be awesome.
I don’t think my kid is going to feel betrayed by me because I told the Santa lie. If he does, I’ll just add it to the list of parenting failures he’ll eventually need therapy for.
(photo: Getty Images)