Now, I should state that it really really doesn't bother me if other kids believe in Santa, and if they do, I am all about playing along. I definitely see the magical side of it, the side that captures wonder and enjoyment in small children. I think it is fun to watch kids light up when they see Santa or sit on his lap. To believe that something magical can happen can be a beautiful thing. However, I still don't get the whole Elf on the Shelf thing, but that's another story.
Neither Tim nor I ever believed in Santa, and we figured our kids wouldn't either. But for the first few years we didn't really worry about it because C was too young to understand. But as she started getting older we started explaining that Santa was a lot like Mickey Mouse, a great character, but not real. He's a fun story and he's fun to talk about, but he isn't actually going to come down our chimney (if we had one.) But we weren't really aggressive about our explanations. We would wait for her to bring it up and then we would talk about it. This worked well for us the first fews years, but now she is in school and Santa is everywhere!
Well, poor C is getting mixed signals now, so I know we really need to be clear. She came home with a postcard from school that was from 'Santa.' She used it as proof to tell me that Santa was in fact real with a tone of voice intended to educate me out of my ignorance. And not only was he real, he wrote on the postcard that he would try to bring her the unicorn and coat she asked for for Christmas. (Seriously, can this 'Santa' postcard come out a few weeks before Christmas? There are no unicorns or coats under the tree this year.)
Later this evening she shocked me with the following question, "Mommy, how can we know that the Bible is telling the truth and isn't just made up stories?" Wow, I wasn't expecting that theological question to come out of the mouth of my five year old. How do I answer that in a way that she can understand? I don't want to dumb it down and muddy the message, but I don't want to confuse her either. (Any ideas would be greatly appreciated on this one! (Ahem... Davey)) Before I could give her the answer I was piecing together in my head she had moved onto another subject, but I want to finish our discussion soon.
But it got me thinking, if she is questioning the reality of Santa and the Bible at the same time, then I believe it is my responsibility to be truthful to her about both. That to lie about one might be to injure the other. That Santa isn't a magical, jolly, red suited old man that rides a sleigh and delivers presents, but that many years ago he was a real man that did real good for the people in his community, that his life and his actions pointed back to Christ- that is the Santa I would choose for her to know.
It's murky water, this Santa business. Every family makes their own choices for what works or doesn't with their beliefs and their children. And honestly, its no one else's business. So, I promise you this, we won't spoil Santa for your kids. We won't ruin it! We wouldn't want to. In fact, we will enjoy watching the excitement of your kids. Just don't get offended if our kids look confused when you ask them what Santa is going to bring them!
As for Baby E, it has been nearly 24 hours since he last threw up. He has been sleeping most of the day, but when he is awake, he is eating and drinking. I am thankful that he seems to be on the mend and I am looking forward to spending this holiday season with my savages!