I’m fine with Santa. The world is an ugly, cold hard place with plumbing problems including a toilet that is leaking into your finished basement and littering the floor with drywall flakes that could somehow remind you of snow, if snow were possibly wet with traces of urine. We grow up, we pay the electric bill, we get partners and fight with them over who forgot to buy paper towels and then we die. If believing that once a year a jolly man in a red suit brings us piles of plastic for being good I am totally cool with that. Our kids grow up soon enough and steal our vodka and hate us and put holes in their faces.
I’m lucky in my house because the three kids I have living with me all have different levels of Santa belief. The eldest, a teenager, no longer believes but is extremely helpful in keeping the Santa mythology alive. My middle child, at age 11, is extremely skeptical and probably no longer believes, but is willing to feign belief in the hopes that this will bring him extra presents on Christmas morning. He also couples this with a sneering cynicism about the whole thing and an itching desire to declare his disbelief at every opportunity. And my nine-year-old still full-on-leaving-milk-and- cookies-and-carrots-for-the-reindeer-out-writing-letters-and-going-to-bed-without-complaint belief. But I’m pretty sure she is having her doubts and be giving up the Santa thing by next year.
I think every parent should handle the Santa thing how they want. All kids find out the truth eventually. For me having at least one kid who still believes extends the wonder and the magic of the season. Believing in Santa is something for little kids, like still sleeping with stuffed animals and singing carols with their dumb mom when she folds laundry and getting really excited about decorating a batch of sugar cookies. I’m not ready to give any of this up.
I keep thinking when Santa leaves my house for good there will be no one left excited about decorating the tree or watching Rudolph with me or hanging stockings with care. It will just be me all alone putting the lights on the bushes and waiting for the Grinch to come on. Everyone else will be off updating their Facebook statuses with “Ugh, my mom is making me cut paper snowflakes again.” My older kids reluctantly do Christmasssy things with me, but it’s my youngest, the one who still sort of believes in Santa, who eagerly does them.
So stick around Santa. I’m using you to make at least one of my kids excited about the season for this year. When you go away for good it will just be me and my cocoa and a bunch of older kids texting on their cell phones. That doesn’t sound very magical at all.
(Image: getty images)