It is getting harder and harder to keep the Santa myth going in my house. My daughter is almost 6 and smart as a whip. I am not sure what age is the correct age to begin addressing who Santa really is, but I know I am not ready yet to let it go. I like being Santa. I like seeing the look of wonder in my children's eyes when they see what Santa has left them. I especially enjoy telling them "Santa is watching you, you better behave" I am not sure I am ready to let go of that very effective behavior modification tool. Hey, I got to have some fun in life!
It doesn't help that my husband, in an effort to be helpful, started wrapping gifts while the the kids were still home. I managed to keep both kids in the basement while he wrapped at the dining room table, but then he took the smaller gifts and put them in the stockings already. I told him that he was asking for trouble because you could see the tops of the gifts sticking out. He insisted that they wouldn't notice and our secret was safe.
Well, sure enough, our daughter noticed. Her question to me was, "Why did Santa come early to put presents in the stockings?" As I recovered from choking on my diet coke, I frantically tried to come up with a reasonable story she would believe that wasn't something like "well, your dad didn't quite think this through and thought you were somehow both blind and deaf." This is what I came up with: "Well dear, while most of your gifts come from Santa, some of them come from your father and I" Problem solved for now, but I am not sure how long I am going to be able to keep this up. The parental gift story already has me backtracking on things I have previously told her.
Then, to make things more complicated, my mom's group started collecting present donations for a needy family. My daughter wanted to know why we were bringing a present to a meeting, and in my holiday addled brain, I decided to make it a lesson on charity and giving. I explained that we were giving gifts to a family who wasn't able to buy gifts for their children. Unfortunately, that let to the eventual question, "But won't they just get gifts from Santa?"
Wow, I still do not know how to answer that one. I think I may have mumbled something about how we were running late and needed to go, but I think I may have backed myself into a corner.
I remember finding out as a child that Santa wasn't real, and being devastated. I think I might be in trouble this year. How do you find the line between keeping a lovely secret that will enhance your child's holiday experience, and outright lying. Will my daughter be lying on a couch someday asking an overpriced shrink, "So what else in my childhood was a lie?" It's a slippery slope that I hope we survive. I think I may have one more year left, if I am lucky. Now if I can just keep her out of the crawl space, where Santa has hidden her gifts, we might just make it.