Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

otherwise known as the ballad of the celluloid fat man....

The best santa I've ever seen is the one at ABC Home in NYC. I was shopping for xmas gifts one day and there was a santa behind me that I thought was part of the display because he looked so perfect. Then he gave me a little wink and a grin and I suddenly realized he was real. His costume was gorgeous as was his complexion, his long white hair and beard were genuine and he even had sparkly eyes. I suddenly felt like a kid again and the world seemed a bit more magical!

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm going to get Satchel's picture taken with Santa. Satchel is very cautious about strangers and does not like it when they get in his space. I think this is very wise in todays world and I try to honor his wishes. So, not this year, no.

I am always surprised by the number of people who persist in spite of Satchel's very clear message of, "No No". I've had to advocate on his behalf on more than one occasion stating, "Satchel is telling you 'no' because he does not want you to touch him...he doesn't like strangers to get in his space".

I've been struggling with the whole Santa tradition for the last two years. On the one hand it makes the world seem like magic for one day. On the other hand there is plenty of magic in the world that is conception and birth...nature. I want to foster a healthy sense of wonder and imagination yet I worry about him feeling betrayed or tricked. As he gets a little older, I do plan to talk about how other countries the gift-giving gnomes of Norway etc.

I clearly remember the day my brother asked my mother about Santa...and I'll never forget how he broke down and cried. It was one of the saddest things to witness.

This article by Jan Hunt really gave me something to think about. 

*Speaking in code here in case little ones are peeping over shoulders:

How do you feel about the tradition?
As a child, were you told by someone or did you figure it out?
How did you feel?
What was your child/s reaction to the realization?

Any suggestions?

*Addendum (2009):  On the other hand, I this beautiful post brought tears to my eyes and I think may hold the key.

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posted by Wendy at 6:15 AM


Anonymous katie said...

good morning!
i found out about santa when i realized the handwriting on my santa-gift tags matched my mother's, which started a period of interrogation. and being a pretty logical kid, frankly it didn't make that much sense to begin with, so it was an easy trip from handwriting to there being no santa. starting the following year, i took great pride in perpetuating santa for my brother... i'd nibble the cookies we left out and write him thank you notes from santa. i remember being impressed my parents pulled this off for so long, and that effort was aimed at us having fun. not a bad deal, especially when (as far as i'm concerned) post-santa christmas is just as much fun.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Thanks, Kate! Robert and I have been pondering Santa for sometime now.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

First of all, HUGE snaps on the Winterlight Castle and accompanying photos. You so totally rock. I can see your mama halo from here.

And to the question at hand... I don't remember a specific "lightbulb moment" with regards to Santa, and I also don't remember any sense of betrayal once I figured it out... just a kind of wistfulness and, as with Katie above, a kind of big sister pride as I helped "keep it going" for my younger sister for a little bit longer.

Our D understands the concept of traditions, because we talk about it, and because we have some family traditions that he truly revels in. I think, when the day comes (i.e. if he asks point-blank), that we will break it to him as gently as possible, and within the context of it being a much-loved tradition.

Earlier this month, he said to me, "Some people don't believe in Santa, but I do." And I said, "Me too, buddy."

2:42 PM  
Blogger pinkcoyote said...

Shelley's comment is killing me. This is one of the sweetest sentiments about Santa I have ever heard! B was told Santa wasn't real by his mom in a parking lot and it was so traumatic for him. So of course, having a negative exp, he is thinking he doesn't want to do it for M.
I don't remember when I figured it out, I think I saw my parents stuffing my stocking before I was 5 but I don't know if I said anything. I don't remember being ecstatic about Santa ever...I would like to teach M about the "spirit" of Santa-which can be a beautiful idea where no child gets forgotten at Cmas. I don't know exactly what it will look like for us. But we are thinking about it a lot! love this post, sister.

2:37 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I remember finding out when santa wasn't real. My parents hid all the x-mas presents in my walk-in closet.. ( the only one in the house) and one day I went in it to find an old toy or explore.. ( it was huge and dark.. so it was fun to go in w/ a flashlight and see what I could find) anyway, I found all the x-mas presents and saw that some of them said.. to julie, from santa.. IT WAS NOVEMBER!!!! so.. that's when I knew it wasn't for real.. and I remember being very upset.
payton still believes and I continue to let him believe.. when he starts to question it I'll let him know in nice and reassuring way to truth.. b/c although santa isn't real.. I truly believe chrismas is a magical time of the year.

4:09 PM  

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