We have just under a week until Christmas, Santa Claus, presents under the tree, and my favorite breakfast of the year. However, these are not the real reasons why this season is so special, and thankfully my seven-year-old truly 'gets it'. We will be watching a movie, or a commercial will pop on that mentions the important of shopping and gifts, and she will say, "That is not what Christmas is really about, it is about Jesus."
...the birth of a baby, the gift that was given to us, the miracle that happened so many years ago...
Back when I was a kid and I figured out that Santa was not the reason for some of the presents under our tree, there was no beautifully written letter to explain that Santa is not in fact real. The letter to which I am referring can be found here and is truly a perfect way to explain to a child the truth. When I figured that Santa was not an actual person, my sister was close behind, and it did not ruin us. We were not angry with our parents for 'lying' to us about this magical man, in fact, we took it upon ourselves to make Christmas magical for our parents and brother.
I have no recollection of how we decided to do this, or what the conversation was like when we made our plan, but every year we would find a special gift for our Mom, Dad, brother, and one for each of us, we would sneak down the steps late on Christmas Eve, and we would place each gift into the stockings. The stockings were already filled with the goodies from Santa (or as we were now aware our parents), but we wanted to add something that would make it seem like something magical had happened. We wanted to make sure that Santa Claus was still something in which everyone could believe. Christmas morning the two of us would sit in anticipation as the stockings were emptied and their contents revealed. My parents never revealed their knowledge of our secret gifts even though I am sure they knew we were behind the extras in the stockings.
I know that the story of Santa Claus is a big, fat lie, but I also know that childhood should be a bit magical. I know that watching my children believe in this story makes my heart full, because I know that once they do find out that Santa is not a real being they will want to keep the magic going just as my sister and I did. The day will come, soon, that I am asked whether or not the man in the red suit actually exists. The day will come when I am asked if their elf, Buddy, is real. I would be lying if I said I was ready, but when the time comes I will use that beautifully crafted letter that I mentioned earlier as my inspiration. I will make changes so that it is my own, I will make changes so that it relates to our family, but I will make sure that my children are 'let down' in a similar manner. I will make sure that they are told in a way that allows them to continue to believe in the magic that surrounds Christmas.
This time of year is about giving. It is about helping those around us even more than we do the rest of the year. It is about spreading magic and miracles, miracles that go back to the birth of Jesus, back to time that the one day of oil lasted for eight days. For those of you who do not want your children to believe in Santa Claus, I understand why, but make sure that they are not spoiling the magic for the others. I do not want the magic to be destroyed just yet...