My Convertible Life

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Letter to Santa

Junius wrote his first letter to Santa this week. I'm not sure who was more excited about it -- Junius or his daddy.

Thanks to some really wonderful coaching from Abby, they did a great job -- not sure if you can read Daddy's translation of Junius's drawings in the letter (shown left), but here's what it says:
Dear Santa, I have been good this year. Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks [illustrations of the cars that he's asking for]. Please bring toys to other children too. Merry Christmas to Santa.
After they wrote the letter, we all went up to North Hills (a convenient substitute for the North Pole) and mailed the letter in the special Santa mailbox outside the toy store.

The whole thing was very sweet, but it left me feeling a little conflicted. I grew up "believing" in Santa the same way I "believed" in Pippi Longstocking, the Narnia siblings and the Muppets -- another great character to enjoy. I never felt deprived of the magic of Christmas, but also never had the crushing he's-not-real-and-everything-is-ruined moment.

As a kid, I loved watching Christmas specials, singing carols, decorating the house, waiting for my grandparents to arrive (which really signaled the beginning of the holiday for me). On Christmas Eve, we'd go to mass, then come home and open one present. Once we were in our pajamas, Granny would start looking anxiously out the window declaring, "Oh my stars! I think I see some reindeer out there -- you kids better get to bed!" In retrospect, I'm sure our holidays were filled with plenty of stress for my parents, but for me it was all fun and good times -- even though I didn't really believe that Santa was real.

Now as a mom, I'm at a total loss about how to create that same fun-without-the-pressure for my own kids. They'll be excited about Christmas morning no matter what -- doesn't matter who the presents are from. What I worry about (after listening to my 4-year-old for the past month) is my kids believing that Santa will automatically bring them every gift they want. I'm more worried about their disappointment in Christmas if they believe too much.

At the same time, I don't want to ignore Santa completely -- and I couldn't do that, even if I wanted to, given that he's everywhere and that so many people really want to believe. It's a tough call -- wish I had the answer. I know I'm not alone in this struggle -- see Erin's post at Triangle Mamas.

So tonight, after the kids go to bed, we'll put out a couple of presents under the tree from Santa. And I'll watch them in the morning to see their reaction. And then I'll be thankful that I have another 364 days to figure it out for next time.

Merry Christmas everyone!

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic letter to Santa. I can't believe you had the nerve to mail it to Santa. I stuck ours out by the mailbox until nap time then sneaked it back in and stowed it away to keep.

    I guess in regards to Santa Claus, I'm pretty firmly set. I believed (and believed and believed) until my parents finally had to break it to me. I remember clearly when they did, I was upset at first. However upon realizing that I got to help carry on that tradition with my little brother, I just got excited again. "Can I really touch the elf?" was the first question I had. I don't think it really upset me too badly. I'm doing everything I can to convince Linus that Santa is real. Whether he believes is more a question of his personality than my tricks, as my older brother (who experienced all the same traditions as me) never really believed.

    I'm sure whatever you decide will be just right and really in the long term, not really a major deal.



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