Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Santa Claus and the truth collide.

Yes, I admit it. I do get pangs of guilt every time I tell a white lie about the Tooth Fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny. I teach my children not to lie... and here I am feeding them with BS every season. I will hide behind my justification that I do tell them that sometimes little white lies are okay, if they are done out of goodness - ie. to not hurt someone's feelings etc. AND - the fact that I would not have traded all the holiday magic and excitement I felt waiting for Santa, or the Easter Bunny for the truth as a child.

I remember confronting my own Mother at the age of 7. She lied to me, and dammit I was mad that Santa Claus didn't exist... so I think I directed my anger towards the fact that she lied to me. She proceeded to tell me the true story of the St. Nicholas and it seemed to make me feel better. At least he was based on a true story!

I dread the day when my lil Mister finds out however. He is a sensitive child and takes things quite personally. I can already envision how it will go down. He will look up at me with those big brown eyes full of hurt, and a furrowed brow of anger. "You lied to me." Yep... and then he'll break my heart, and I will have to re-tell the St. Nicholas story to hopefully regain his trust. My smart Muffin will then put 2 and 2 together and ask about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Babba Fairy from when they were babies... and I will be the Mama that crushed their childhood fantasies. But... we all survived it didn't we? And like I said, I don't regret it.

The reason I am bringing this up now, is we have been having a lot of discussions about Kenya lately. I have made a couple comments about how Christmas will be different next year if we are in Kenya. I haven't given too many details, and I don't want them to think negatively about it. But the truth is, there will be a fraction of the amount of gifts! Then, my thoughts immediately go to Santa. Santa is the bomb in my house! He is the man of all men! The wish giver of all givers! If you want something - do not ask Mommy or Daddy. No siree - ask Santa! Santa has always given our kids their 'big' gifts. We didn't ever want to be associated with such extravagant gifts. Play kitchens, Nintendo DS's, train tables, etc... But now, I fear we may have set ourselves up for trouble!

My thoughts first went to ... how challenging will it be to provide the kids with their main gift wish in Kenya? And if it's large... it's not up for discussion, as we can't take it back. THEN - I had a moment when my heart almost stopped. Santa is for the privileged only. There are millions of children in Africa who have never gotten a gift from Santa! What will my children think? Are the children in Kenya bad? Does Santa not fly to Kenya? Lord only knows what direction their young minds will take... but the fact is, this will be the time the truth about Santa will have to come out. I am hoping that an offer to play 'Santa' to young children in an orphanage or in the streets etc... will help ease the disappointment. But then I think, Really? Does Santa have a place in a third world country? It is not fair... So perhaps gifting anonymously would be a better way to go about it.

Oh, Santa Baby... it was fun while it lasted, but I am afraid this may be the last year that my children will wait with anticipation for you to come down the chimney, eat their cookies, feed their carrots to the reindeer and leave all sorts of goodies. The last year I can tell them they have to wait in my bedroom at the end of the hall, while I set up the video camera to capture the look on their faces and the squeals of excitement when they see what Santa has left them. I am going to soak it all up and try to make it extra special this year!

(I have a couple of really cute ideas that I will post later... if you are interested in some added extra Christmas fun!)


Jess said...

I grew up with Santa, my hubby without, so when our daughter asked at 2 if he was real, my hubby said no right away. I was livid, this is one of those "talk about it and agree things". But I have to admit I am so glad that we told her the truth. Of course, that also ruined the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, but it has made things easier on them. Of course, them knowing the truth isn't all that great either, because now we have to tell them that they can't tell other kids there isn't a Santa Claus, etc. because those kids have parents who want to do it. And then my kids go off on some long tangent on how can those parents lie to their kids? It's especially fun when people ask them if they've been good so Santa will come and they look at them and let them know their is no Santa. Then the adults look at us like we are the worst parents in the world! Pretty funny!

'Jo' said...

That is funny! It's a tough call isn't it? On one hand you are fibbing them... but on the other, you are going against society and our traditions - which also can't be easy. Cause really... where isn't Santa nowadays? Every school play, book, mall, house etc...

Do you partake in any of the 'Santa' traditions then? I know that even if we had told them the truth, we would do all of the traditions anyway... because they are fun! Cookies left on a plate, stockings hung by the fire etc... Those are feel good memories. The Stocking tradition (even for me) is huge in my family. I know we all (including all of my siblings) would choose a stocking over any other gift. When I was little, I remember getting an orange, some crayons, pack of gum and maybe a bottle of nail polish... the stockings were never full - but still, they were the one thing I looked forward to the most. Now I, along with my siblings, have blown it out of proportion. Stockings are full... so full they spill out the top. Full of practical items such as socks and underwear, but fun small items that you don't normally see - like a lollipop of hair bands, or funny stickers etc... and - this is the most important part - each one is individually wrapped! So Santa or no Santa... there will always be stockings in my house! lol

Sarah said...

Awww, I love this post. My husband is Dutch so will are planning to do the Sinterklaas celebrations on December 5th and forgo Santa altogether.

Jess said...

We do have fun with it. We hang stockings and put gifts in them exactly like you do. And the kids like to see all of the Santa Clauses in the stores and watch the movies that have a fun rift on it. I think it just all seems magical to them, this time of year. They basically say that while they know it isn't real, it's still a lot of fun. The stockings are the only thing on Christmas morning that they can open without us adults being up. We don't do the cookie thing, but one year in preschool the kids made reindeer food and we sprinkled that outside just for fun. We also still do baskets at Easter. We fill them with all sorts of teeth rotting items and then hide them outside and the kids go and find them. They just know that it is something that Mom and Dad do and it's fun. A little different than the regular tradition, but a tradition all the same!