The holidays are here and my all-time favorite, Christmas, is only a couple of days away! I love this time of year because it seems people just get NICER! There’s more conversation in line at the market, more people smile as you walk by, and there are the occasional “Hello’s” that you would not have necessarily received. And let’s not forget, that this is the best time to ease into a busy line of traffic. It seems everyone wants to let you in!
I brought my daughters up believing in Santa Claus. Why? Because I believe that children should retain their innocence as long as possible. When my adult daughter was in elementary school, I was shocked at the number of kids who didn’t believe in Santa. She would come home and say, “Mommy, so and so says Santa isn’t real.” The anguish and disappointment (albeit for just a moment) that was very evident in her face, was heartbreaking. I would always explain to her that those kids who didn’t believe, had probably been naughty throughout the year and Santa had taken them off of his gift list and so they were upset and wanted to turn people against Santa. (Yes, I went this far).
When she got to middle school, I recall vividly her coming home one year saying, “Mommy, so and so says that there is no Santa Claus and that you and Daddy are the ones who give me all those gifts.” In that moment, I knew that I had to come up with a stronger strategy for those kids at school. I asked my darling, “Who has the BEST Christmases that you know of in all the world?” She replied, “Me.” And then I said, “So, when you stop believing in Santa Claus, that’s when all those great Christmases stop!” Well, I didn’t have to worry about having that conversation again.
I had to pat myself on the back for this one because after that, when she came home with those negative stories from the non-believers of Santa, she always immediately shared with me what she said to them. “There is a Santa! And just because you don’t believe in him, don’t go trying to stop me from believing in him.”
My husband and I went to great extremes to keep Santa alive in our house (as well as the Tooth Fairy). At Christmas time, I would tear down my highly decorated (gorgeous) fireplace which housed all sorts of family photos and other decor, just to make room for Santa’s visit via the chimney (I hated that because I’m such an orderly, neat freak). We baked the cookies (you know, the kind Daddy likes) and we left them out on the table along with a glass of milk for Santa’s visit during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve (which is when hubby and I put the presents under the tree). Daddy would be awakened by 3 am to eat the cookies and drink the milk, leaving a few crumbs behind on the table as well as a drip of milk in the glass. My daughters were always very amazed to wake up and find the glass with Santa’s fingerprints left on it.
“To think SANTA was actually in our house drinking from this glass,” my oldest said one year.
People have often asked me why we carried on the “Santa scam”, as they called it for so long. My response is and always has been that we live in such an ugly world that anything a parent can do to keep their children innocent for as long as possible, I believe they should do. Kids are growing up much too fast and I personally, don’t believe that’s a good thing. I sometimes hear little 6 years old speak, and I’m shocked because they sound as if they’re 20 yrs old and some of them know just a tad too much for their ages. That’s not a good thing at all.
In my home when we went to the movies, kids were not allowed to watch any kissing scenes and they also had to cover their ears if something unappropriate slipped out on me. My youngest has said to me, “Mommy, there is kissing even in Shrek.” (Guess I need to make a phone call to the Disney people!)
My oldest sister would often say to me, “I hope that y’all never die before anyone else, because if you do, your darling kids are going to be forced to live in the real world.” I get it, that’s the world of non-belief. I’m so thankful that my oldest is now an adult so that if something were to happen to my hubby and I, she would be her guardian. That way, I know that all of our core beliefs, traditions, etc. will be carried on in the right manner.
I must share though a very, very sad story here. You might want to grab your kleenex for this one. Christmas of 2011 my teenager comes downstairs and says to me, “Mommy, the jig is up. I know that there is no Santa Claus.” I could have dropped dead where I stood, but instead I started to cry. As both of my daughters and hubby laughed at me, I couldn’t believe that she was saying these awful words to me. I was crushed. I immediately rushed over to my adult daughter and covered her ears and said to my teenager, “Don’t you say that in front of her! She still believes in Santa Claus!” They are still laughing at me for that one.
On Thursday, my adult daughter called me and asked, “Mommy, have you given my list to Santa yet?” To which I replied “Yes, I have. Why do you ask?” She responds “I will just text you.” And this was her text message to me:
Darling Daughter #1: “Well, just throwing last min hints to Santa: (she still knows how to approach me, unlike that worldly teenager of mine):
1) Groupon gift card from Target
2) Itunes gift card
3) Southwest Airlines gift card (I don’t know where she’s going)
4) Sephora gift card
5) Forever 21 gift card
6) Target gift card
Even if I just get ONE of these or maybe even NONE at all, I’ll still be grateful.” (God, I love my kids!)
If you have young children, keep them innocent as long as you can and don’t you let the comments of those who could care less about the innocence of their children, deter you. When you keep innocence in a child’s life, I personally believe that their world is brighter, nicer, and so much better. I would call it enchanted. Children need to believe. They need to fantasize and hope for better. A better life, a better world, a better everything. So why not let them start by believing in the big guy in the red suit? You know the one that makes a mess at Christmas time on my fireplace (yes, we scattered the ashes around the base as well!).
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope it’s filled with unbelievable, wondrous moments that you will cherish for a lifetime. I still have mine! But before you leave, do share…..what are some of the measures you’ve taken to ensure your children’s innocence is retained for as long as possible?