At seven and five respectively my son and daughter are not overly suspicious about Santa Claus. Though some things have had to be explained to them to keep the magic going, the actual idea if Santa Clause coming to our house on Christmas Eve and leaving toys for them is pretty set in stone.
The other Santa’s around town are easily explained away by telling my kids that those Santa’s are just the real Santa’s helpers because he’s far to busy to visit each and every town during the month of December. So while the Santa’s we see at the store are not the “real Santa” they do have a direct link and can easily report back to the big man any details about Christmas wishes.
Ever since my niece was born my husband has dressed up like Santa on Christmas Eve to drop off one present for each child in the family to kick off our family Christmas Eve celebration. This tradition continued after our own kids were born. When my son was five he asked if daddy was Santa. Once again quick thinking saved the day.
We admitted that daddy dresses up like Santa for fun because the real Santa is already out delivering toys on the other side of the world at that time and is nowhere near California. Norad tracking systems easily help prove this theory.
Both kids were more than happy with that explanation and were even willing to keep the secret for the sake of their younger cousins.
All this is well and good and has enable us to help encourage the magic of Santa and of Christmas in our home. But I know that the day will come when my kids realize that there is no Santa. And it breaks my heart.
Which is why, I don’t intend on ever actually confirming the reality.
How do I do this you wonder? Well the same my way that my dad, though I am now in my thirties with kids of my own, has never completely owned up to the truth about Santa.
When I was a kid and finally cornered my dad and demanded answers in regards to Santa’s true identity, he gave me the same answer that he would go on to repeat to me a thousand times in the coming years.
“Do you believe there’s a Santa?”
As my tender grade school heart was still not sure, I told my dad, “I think I do.”
And he said, “Well then there is a Santa.” And with a wink he ended the conversation.
Of course I figured out the truth, and for a couple more years kept it to myself because I had a younger sibling. But because of the way my dad handled it, somehow the magic of Santa didn’t entirely disappear. Somehow there was always this question in the back of my mind…
Somehow even after all these years, all of you Polar Express lovers will understand, I can still hear Santa’s bell. And of all the things I will ever do for my kids in their life, one of the most important is to make sure that they will somehow always hear that bell also.