“Daddy, is Santa Claus real?”
“Of course. Why do you ask?”
“No, I mean is he REALLY, real?”
I looked over at my wife who was at the kitchen counter with her head down but I caught her shooting me a sideways glance and I knew she wanted no part of this conversation any more than I did.
So the story went that some kid (we’ll call him “Billy”) at school was running around saying that his parents told him Santa Clause didn’t exist and that it was the Moms and Dads that were the “real” Santa Clauses. (note to self: Find Billy’s parents. Smack upside the head).
Up until now it was a pretty easy sell, that Santa Claus existed – what kid doesn’t want to believe? But we knew if we wanted to squeeze out one more year of Christmas magic with our eldest we were going to have to do some dancing.
So we doubled-down with The Elf on the Shelf, a genius idea that incorporates a little Elf doll that “magically” relocates to various places in your house each day leading up to Christmas. There is a fun story that goes along with it but basically the Elf is a Santa spy that watches the kids in your house to determine if they are going to be on the naughty or nice list. This has been an unmitigated hit with our oldest daughter who can’t wait to wake up each morning and race around the house to find her elf whom she affectionately named Isabella. (not to mention it keeping her in line when we start getting the ‘tude… “hhmmm, I wonder if Isabella will be reporting your shenanigans back to Santa?”). One friend has been posting daily facebook updates with their elf, Steve who has been getting into all kinds mischief over the last three weeks (poker with Barbie, fishing for goldfish crackers in the sink, photocopying his… well, you get the idea)
So we seemed to have extended the magic of Santa for one more year but it got us thinking about what a drag it will be when house elves and magicsanta videos will just not be enough. I’m not sure what is worse – your own feeling as a kid when you first realised Santa wasn’t real or the feeling you get as a parent when your own kids come to that same realisation. Oh crap. Now I’m really bummed.
Well I suppose we can pull out the final-last-ditch-effort-stage-of-denial conversation that my parents pulled out with my brother and I when we defiantly told them that we knew Santa did not exist. It went something like this “Well, Shawn… think about what you’re saying. Just what that is going to mean to you, if Santa doesn’t really exist as you are suggesting.”
It occurred to me suddenly, the “perks” I would be giving up by having Santa cease to exist. I remember seeing the slow grin of victory creep across my parents faces as the realisation set in that I was going to believe in Santa for a good many years to come.