Monday, December 1, 2008

Yes, Elizabeth, there is a Santa Claus

It’s the beginning of the end, but I don’t want to face it.
I’m in denial.
I refuse to acknowledge that after this year, Christmas as I know it will never be the same.

After this year, Santa Claus will no longer be a magical elf who sneaks into everyone’s house on December 24 to leave shiny packages for good boys and girls and lumps of coal for the ones on the naughty list. His luster will be lost in the reality that he’s a made-up character who simply adds mystique to the holidays.

After this year, my seven-year-old will no longer believe Santa Claus is real.
The questions about his existence began last year: “How does Santa fit all of those packages on one sleigh when we can barely fit ours under the tree?”
They were followed up with doubt about the Easter bunny: How could one bunny carry all of that candy?
Questions about Santa Claus began again over the weekend as we decorated the tree: How does Santa fit down our chimney?
Call it selfishness on my part, but I will continue to make up answers until this holiday season is over.
Because I remember how the holidays lost their luster after I learned my parents, not a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, delivered all of those packages. Christmas didn’t take on that magical feel again I realized the true meaning of the season. (But that’s another story.)
After Christmas this year, I will wait until my daughter, Elizabeth, starts asking questions, and even then I will ask her if she really wants to know the truth. That’s how my husband and I broke the news to our oldest, Molly.
Sitting in McDonald’s one day in January several years ago, Molly’s skepticism over Santa overwhelmed her, and she pointedly asked, “Does Santa really exist?”
“Do you really want to know?” I asked her.
When she nodded, I told her that her father and I placed the gifts under the tree at Christmas and the candy in her basket at Easter, but Santa Claus and the Easter bunny stood for good will in the hearts of mankind.
I’ll never forget the sadness in her eyes, how the grimace contorted her face as she said, “You mean, the Easter bunny isn’t real either?”
Christmas has never been the same for her since then either. I’m certain that’s why she protects her sister from the real secret of Santa Claus and helps us perpetuate the myth of the magical elf by continuously telling her little sister, “Yes, Elizabeth, there is a Santa Claus.”
* * *
How did you find out about the secret of Santa Claus? Let me know in the comments!


Anonymous said...

OH boy....that's tough.

You know what, I don't remember how I found out there was no Santa. I'm so lame. BUt, I do remember how I realized there was no Easter Bunny....I found price tags all over one my my chocolate bunny boxes. I was so upset.

Yes, it was never the same after that.... But I survived. I didnt turn out too warped....well, maybe a little. I think all writers are a little warped, right? LOL.

Ali Katz said...

Oh, Kat, this is such a beautiful, poignant piece. I remember just that look of devastated shock on my little sister's face when she dragged it out of us.

As for myself, I'd just heard it too many times to be able to deny the fact any longer. When? Don't remember, but I must have been far too old to still hold on to the illusion because all I do recall is how embarrassed I was to finally admit it to myself.

Fantasy is my life. LOL

TerriRainer said...

Don't remember how I found out, must not have been terribly traumatic for me, at least not in the long run.

My eight year old started "hearing rumors" at school last year that Santa wasn't real. My youngest is two years younger and then I have three teens (who know who Santa is). This was my answer:

"It doesn't matter what the other kids say, as long as YOU believe in Santa, he'll keep bringing you presents...ISN'T THAT RIGHT KIDS?" To which all of my teens obliged me by agreeing, knowing that Santa brings them the good stuff each year.

Now I can still hold the threat of, "Santa's watching, you better be nice" over their heads!

:) Terri