Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yes, Natalie, there is a Santa Claus

The other day as I was finishing up wrapping Natalie's last gifts for Hanukah, I wondered if she would realize that "Santa Claus" used the same wrapping paper. I literally sat there for five minutes, concocting a story in my head of what I could tell her to make it all ok should she, and she probably will, make that realization. Suddenly, I had Santa Claus and Hanukah Harry together at a holiday party where the Christmas elves and the Hanukah fairies do all the wrapping together while Jolly Old St. Nick and his Jewish counterpart enjoy some ice cold egg nog and nibble on some chocolate gelt. I kid you not, this was the scenario that played out in my head.

Four years ago, when Natalie was just a mere five and a half months, I decided that I wasn't going to perpetuate this Santa Claus fabrication. That there was no reason for me to flat out lie to her about a fat man in a red suit who supposedly comes down the chimney with gifts. I mean really...we celebrate Christmas at my mother's house and she doesn't even have a chimney. WELL, both my father and my grandmother, the two of them "Oh yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" practically in unison. My father even printed it out so I could read it. As though a piece of paper from the Internet was going to change my mind. I wasn't going to tell her that Santa wasn't real, because I am sure that a long, long time ago in a tiny little European village there was a man who perhaps dressed in red and went about giving gifts to good little boys and girls. I just wasn't going to really say anything. I am not denying that this idea of Santa didn't stem from truth, but the North Pole? Elves? Flying reindeer? How long am I supposed to continue to deceive her? Eventually she is going to find out or figure it out and it will be all my fault that I lied to her. This is what I originally in the early months of motherhood, wanted to avoid.

My good friend, Lisa, seems to think this makes me a scrooge and that it is a good lesson in dealing with disappointment. But this is a disappointment in my child's life that I could have controlled and not caused. And I do believe in the magic of the Christmas season. Even with all the people who are stressed and cranky, they are still going about trying to make tiny miracles happen for little people. Let me tell you, there is nothing that compares to the truest, most genuine joy that comes from a little girl who just received the gift that "I've always wanted!" I love that there is a time when people who don't always think to give back, give back; that we find ways to dig a little deeper.

But now I am knee deep in it. So deep that not only do I talk about Santa, but I continue to let her believe that Hanukah Harry lives up the street from us in a tiny little brick cottage style house. And I can't tell her the truth about Santa because what if she tells some other kid and breaks their heart, and yet another disappointment that I have caused.

Next year, all the presents are going in gift bags.

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