It’s Christmas Eve and I am confronted with an age-old parental dilemma once again; what to tell my child about the existence of Santa Claus.
St. Nick, Father Christmas, that jolly old elf, whatever you call him, he simply does not exist!
Why do we spend so much time preaching honesty and integrity to our offspring and yet when it comes to the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and countless others, we make an exception? It’s actually an insult to their intelligence.
I recall one Christmas my mother hiring ‘Jimmy the Cook’ from the 12th street diner – who moonlighted as Santa Claus; he showed up at our apartment late Christmas eve carrying a bag from Toys-R-Us and I looked at him kind of weird, ‘Hey you’re not Santa, you cook the bacon and eggs down on 5th avenue’!
Yesterday afternoon I went to the mall along with my daughter Taylor who is 10 years old and her friend Jackie who is 9. We saw the folks who run the joint had their usual set up with Santa sitting in a huge wooden chair and a line of kids and parents out the door. Santa did not look like the Santa we are all used to seeing. There was a mall worker sitting close by with a camera snapping individual pictures, yes, there was a small fee to get your picture taken with St. Nick.
“Steve look, it’s Santa”, Jackie said to me as she pointed over towards him. “I looked at the Santa tracker on the computer this morning and it said he was in Cuba.” she added.
Oh no, what do I say now? My daughter looked at me with that look, ‘C’mon Dad, what’s the deal’?
I have to lie again, don’t I?
I don’t necessarily agree that these are harmless lies, they are lies after all.
Now I know you all out there are saying to yourself “none of us were ever hurt when we finally discovered that Santa Claus was really a fabrication’ – probably dreamed up by some marketing geniuses who knew that billions of dollars could be made by promoting this whopper. I am not so sure.
My wife and I have never really promoted the lie with too much pomp – putting cookies out, fake footprints in the snow, etc.
Taylor asked me last night, “Daddy, how’s Santa gonna get down the chimney”? As we both stared at some logs sitting on top of each other.
Shit, how do I explain this one?
This morning we decided to allow Taylor to open her presents. I mean what the heck, why not? Add in that we are going to visit my father in-law who happens to live 4 hours away; so why travel with Taylor’s gifts in the back-seat of our car?
“Daddy how will Santa know we won’t be home on Christmas?” was another astute question by Taylor last night. Damn Taylor, so many questions, so many lies…
How do you as a parent break the news to your children?