When I first began my Parentology journey, I thought Santa would be…fun.
Why wouldn’t it be? You start on Christmas Eve when the family shares hot cocoa in front of a fire with the kids, as you read “The Night Before Christmas” together. Once you are done, the children rush off to bed believing that Santa will traipse gingerly down the chimney to deliver hand-crafted gifts for very good little girls and boys in the middle of the night.
Come the brink of dawn, those bleary-eyed children will rustle you out of bed with shouts of squealing joy; and over a comforting cup of black coffee you get to watch your children marvel at the vision of brightly colored boxes on Christmas morning, excitedly scurrying in their new pajamas, finding the boxes with their names.
That’s how I thought it would happen. It isn’t that ridiculous of an expectation, I don’t think.
What really happened was that my kids didn’t believe in Santa. For years.
Because it goes against everything we have taught them about strangers and making sure the house is locked at night to make sure robbers can’t get in (we have break-ins and house-robbery trouble in our town).
The idea that we would allow this guy named “Santa,” who we don’t actually know and isn’t family, to come into our house, while we were sleeping, and no one is concerned about this…made no sense to the kids, and they just didn’t buy it.
Because this is what they heard:
“Firefighters struggle to rescue trapped man in chimney in late-night burglary attempt.”
So, on the plus side we still have our Christmas Eve traditions. We do read “The Night Before Christmas” in front of a fire together. We still leave the tree empty that night, and when we are absolutely sure the kids are sleeping, for serious, we fill it with the brightly colored presents, one of which is from this mysterious Santa person, that we have lovingly wrapped and wait for them to wake up in the morning and fill the house with only the joy a happy child can bring.
I don’t have a problem with introducing my kids to the mystery of Santa. I think it is a fun tradition for kids, and it is certainly more fun now, as parents. Naturally, we spin the Santa-thing a little more and not only give the children a gift from Santa, but also from Elvis, The President of the United States, Bugs Bunny, Mr. T…and whoever else we can think of. The names are associated with the gift, so if it is a music CD, it is from Elvis; if it is a packet of tea seeds for a garden, it is from Mr. T; and so on.
Maybe the idea of Santa sneaking into the house was never fun, but our hand-crafted Christmas mornings have always been fun.
I don’t think Christmas traditions have ever really been set in stone, and they tend to change as times change. So even though we don’t have the Norman Rockwell Christmas I expected when we first started Parentology, I think our dynamic traditions definitely fit our family the best.
And that kind of is the whole point of Christmas morning.