Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bad Santa

I used to do my very best to avoid the mall at holiday time when my kids were younger, going only at night when they were in bed or on weekends when my husband was home with them. Yes, it was partly because shopping with kids in tow is a chore and half. But I was also avoiding Santa.

Unlike most parents I know, I was unwilling to stand in line to have my kid sit on a stranger's lap so I could get a picture. I never bought into the whole Santa farce, though I wouldn't deny his existence when my kids asked. In short, I did nothing to perpetuate or quash the possibility. I didn't so much weave magic as feel ambivalent about its swirling around our house, fed by others.

This worked great when they would come home from school and say "Mom, so-and-so said there's no such thing as Santa. Is he telling the truth?" Rather than commit either way, I'd turn it around: "Well, what do you think?"

But as they grew older and a bit more suspicious, I found the best thing to do to hurry along the inevitable dismissal of the Santa myth was to actually take them shopping with me at holiday time. Beginning December 1, Santas abound at virtually every store, and without a word I was able to let nature take its course.

"Mom, how can Santa be at Walmart when he was just at the mall with a line of kids in front of him?"

"Hey, Santa's beard is gray. Why isn't it white? Did he forget to wash it?"

"Mom, why is Santa so skinny? I thought he was fat and jolly?"

"Mom, why is Santa smoking?

Ultimately, I still leave the believing up to the kids. Deep down, I suspect they really *want* to believe, craving a bit of magic to help them escape from the commercialism they see on the TV all month long. And I won't be the one to tell them flat out that there is no Santa. If nothing else, they'll hold on to the notion and save a bit of forgiveness for Santa for his bad behavior. He may not be human, but he clearly works hard for an old guy.

1 comment:

Snowbrush said...

You didn't say how old they are now, but I learned that there was no Santa when I was in the first or second grade, which I assume is when most kids do.