Here's something I didn't see coming: I think I'm going to have a hard time doing the Santa Claus thing with our kids.
Last Christmas Claire was 18 months old and it was a non-issue. This year she's going to be much more aware.
It started yesterday. We were reading a Clifford book and when we finished we flipped to the back cover, which pictured a bunch of other Clifford titles, one of which was "Clifford's Christmas."
Claire pointed to Santa and asked if he was a giant. (Maybe because that chimney looks like a tight squeeze? I have no idea how her brain operates.) I told her it was Santa Claus, and explained, "At Christmas he flies around the world delivering gifts." It sounded so silly that I instinctively almost added, "He's just pretend."
I know I'm the odd man out on this one (Matt's with me, by the way), but I'm so not motivated to contribute to the Santa ruse. It's not because I'm worried that she'll extrapolate and question everything we've ever told her when she learns Santa isn't real, or anything like that. I think Santa Claus in and of himself is a harmless tradition. (Although there's something wrong, on several levels, with parents using Santa and threats of his disapproval to keep their kids in line. But that's another post.)
Perpetuating the Santa story would -- will -- mean we have to pretend to be excited about something that's not real so that our kids will develop real excitement about something that's pretend. I guess I'm just not sold on the potential benefit.
But -- and this is big -- practically every kid in America grows up believing in Santa Claus. I did. You probably did, too. And I don't want our kids to be the ones to ruin it for everyone else.
For now, our plan is to play along. We'll do the Santa thing, but it's going to be low-key. He doesn't get equal play with Jesus. And when doubts about Santa emerge, there will be no elaborate staging of "reindeer on the rooftop" to rekindle belief. I just hope that by that time, they're old enough and mature enough not to blow it for their friends.