****CAUTION! SPOILER ALERT****
Growing up, we never believed in Santa Claus because we celebrated Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. My parents made Christmas special in many, many ways, and I never once wished I’d had Santa be part of that. Yes, I was most likely that kid in Kindergarten who burst your happy little Christmas bubble by announcing loudly and with great conviction that “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS SANTA CLAUS”. We didn’t have stockings or set out cookies. We didn’t write letters to fictional men or mistake who gave us what.
What we did have was an all night fest of “WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS MORNING” on Christmas Eve during which we (that’s my brothers and I) would stay up all night and debate on whether 2 o’clock in the morning was too early to wake my parents up. (We generously waited until 3am, in case you were wondering.) We would then call Nanny and Papaw (paternal grandparents) and they would come over (having been awake since 2am waiting for us to call, btw) and after reading Jesus’ birth story, we would start what came be the most anticipated part of Christmas: Christmas Morning Games. These were sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate, games that my Dad would set up the previous evening (while we, the children, were “sleeping”) like Christmas Morning Scavenger Hunts, or presents that were for “Mom” until she opened it and it was for “Nanny” until she opened it and it was for “Tim” until he opened it and it was for me all along, or the time when Dad wrapped a phone number that I had to call and it rang in my bedroom (HOW DID HE DO THAT WITHOUT ME KNOWING?!?).
After all the paper was ripped off the boxes, Dad would present us with our Christmas Cans. In lieu of stockings, we had cans that we opened at the end of the presents part of Christmas. These were about the size of gallon paint cans and were usually filled with small things: tapes, cd’s, socks, money, candy, knick-knacks, whatever. Sometimes the best Christmas Games came in the cans that had the three of us working together to solve some sort of riddle and ended on The Gift that was for the three of us. So. Much. Fun.
After the mess was mostly picked up, and we were occupied with whatever we’d received, Mom and Nanny would make a giant breakfast that we would be eating by 5am some mornings and that breakfast was usually followed by Nanny’s chocolate cake and naps.
With all these great memories, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I LOVE this time of year. I love redecorating my house for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving. I LOVE listening to Christmas carols on REPEAT. I LOVE the excitement that builds and builds for my kids and I LOVE watching their joy and excitement culminate on Christmas morning.
Even with all of that the Santa question loomed large for me. I have nothing against him, personally, but I had no idea how to introduce such a concept to my kids when they were little without lying to them and I make it point never to lie to my kids. Hubs believed in Santa and wanted the kids to believe in him as well. I shrugged and figured that was no big deal. Oh, how wrong I was.
First of all, my oldest child is not neuro-typical. He did not naturally latch onto this myth and I found myself constantly telling him lies to make him understand who this Santa person was. He just didn’t get it, and I was pissed off all the time because of how difficult the whole undertaking turned out to be.
The Christmas after Chi turned three, he started asking random questions about this Santa person and what he heard upset him immensely. He really was not okay with the idea of some strange man in red rappelling down our non-existant chimney unbeknownst to the sleeping inhabitants of our house. It scared the ever loving crap out of him.
So I did, it. I told him that there was no such thing as Santa Claus, and there was much relief on both our parts. He understood in his own way the idea of a pretend person that he was NOT going to imagine coming to our house THANKYOUVERYMUCH, and I was much relieved that I didn’t have to lie to him anymore.
Now that I have Pynni and Pieces, I can see how easy it would have been, had Chi been other than he is, to perpetuate the Santa Myth with my kids without much effort, but that wasn’t the case and I’m not sad about it. We have stockings that they pull things out of while Hubs and I get our coffee. They open their presents, and take our time taking breaks to play with what they get as they get it. Afterwards, they get their cans and after that we have a big breakfast. We don’t have any grandparents living close enough to spend Christmas Morning with us, but even without Santa and Grandparents, we do just fine.