Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa: to Be, or Not to Be?

As Robb and I finished some of our Christmas shopping, he indulged and bought me a very plush, luxurious red, fluffy robe. Oh, it is one great piece of clothing, let me tell you.

I happened to be with him when he made the purchase (which is not our tradition, but it worked out this way, just this once), and I begged and begged him to "puh-leez" give it to me early. After all, we were gearing up for our moutain getaway at the time, and what better place to "break in" such a luxurious gift?

He told me no, again and again, insisting that I would have to ask Santa, since after all, the gift was from Santa. He wouldn't budge. I kept bugging him, and he finally said, "Would you just relax? Ask Santa."

Translated: I have a plan, and you had just better stop asking or you'll ruin things.

Say no more.

That very evening, I was putting Tucker into his jammies while Robb finished up some duties downstairs. Suddenly, we heard the doorbell ring, the sleigh bells jingled on the front door, and Robb said, "Oh, I'll get it... Hello, Santa! Oh, is that for Tricia? She's upstairs right now. Oh, sure, I'll give it to her when she comes down. Thanks, Santa. Merry Christmas to you, too."

I heard the door close, and I smiled at Robb's creativity, knowing there was also a wrapped gift waiting for me downstairs.

What we didn't account for was Tucker's awareness. At the sound of the sleigh bells and Robb greeting Santa, he perked up, looked at me with wide eyes, and said, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" He bolted for the stairs, and he raced down the steps.

He got to the living room and looked all around... where is he? Where could he be?

Robb said, "You just missed him, Tuck. Santa was here, and he brought a present for Mommy."

Tucker was disappointed to have arrived a moment too late, but he was quickly pleased to see the wrapped gift, and he was more than willing to offer his services in opening it. He soon had forgotten about this missed opportunity to meet Santa.

But I didn't forget. And I felt terrible. We just lied to our son. We've never lied to him before, and tonight, we did.

Suddenly, I had mixed feelings about the whole Santa thing. I have always imagined that we would let our kids enjoy the fairy tale of Santa, but is this how it's going to be? 'Cause I'm not sure I like this part.

This launched Robb and me into a litany of conversations about Santa and whether he would exist in our children's futures.

Here's what we ultimately decided: Santa gets to stay.

We've based our decision on several factors. We will absolutely teach our children the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Christ and His gift to the world. The story of Santa is a fun fairy tale, and nobody really resents their parents for letting this story come alive for them. And in the end, we get to be the heroes when our children realize that we were actually the ones supplying them with their treasures year after year.

So, Santa gets to stay. But we'll have to be a little more careful about his early visits.

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