The Goddess Speaks
It’s tough taking Santa question
"Daddy, is Santa Claus real? Tell me the truth, Dad."
It was the question we had been dreading since the afternoon, when our son's friend let slip that "Santa isn't real." His friend didn't even realize what he'd said and continued jabbering on about what he wanted for Christmas. Our 9-year-old didn't respond to the revelation.
We spent the day hoping our little boy would ignore it. He chose not to.
He could have asked the question in a way that got him a different answer. He did not.
"Tell me the truth" means exactly that.
My husband snuggled close to him and told him the truth.
The next day, I asked my son how he felt about it. "Well it's OK, but it takes away a little bit of the magic of Christmas," he said sadly.
What an understatement. His little bit of lost Christmas magic left an aching void in our family's Christmas preparations.
This year we won't make a special trip to the post office to mail the letter to the North Pole. We won't have to sneak out to buy Santa presents. Our neighbor won't have to find closet space to help us hide Santa's ribbon and wrapping paper. We'll miss our teenage daughter's delightful participation in the conspiracy.
I consoled myself with the thought of how much easier Christmas would be this year. There would be less to do, fewer complications and a little more time to relax. As the holiday season started to gear up, I felt relieved that my "to-do" list was shorter than normal. But a strange feeling of foreboding lingered.
Until yesterday. As we were driving home, my daughter tried to soften the blow for her little brother. "Don't worry, bro. We still get Santa presents even if neither one of us believes in Santa anymore, right, Mom?"
Her straight-for-the-jugular question knocked the cloudy sentimentality out of my head, and my real fear became clear.
Now that the Santa Claus has been swept from our lives, will my children care about the real meaning of Christmas, or will Christmas be like a birthday with shiny red and green decorations? Have I done my job?
This Dec. 25 will be one of those parenting moments where the rubber meets the road.
I'm crossing my fingers for some real Christmas magic.
Dawn Yoshimura Sinclair is a Honolulu writer.
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