After our son was born, my husband and I had several serious discussions about Santa Claus.
We were both firm in our belief that we should never lie to our child, believing that his ability to trust us in all matters was paramount. But where did the line between lying and denying our son the joy of Santa Claus lie?
We recalled my own childhood Christmases filled with the magic of Santa and compared them to his, filled with the same harsh reality that permeated his life throughout the rest of the year.
We ultimately decided we simply didn't have the heart to deny our son a touch of Christmas magic.
Our son on the other hand, had other ideas.
As soon as his second Halloween costume was packed away, I began reading the story, Twas the Night Before Christmas, and we began watching all the classic Christmas cartoons, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and a Charlie Brown Christmas, just to name a few.
I scouted the area malls in search of the "real" Santa, you know the one, the jolly old man with the full white beard and twinkling blue eyes. I finally found one two towns away and off we went.
Our son was not impressed. If anything, he was a bit frightened by the man in the red suit.
Later that night, as was having his bath, my two-year old informed me in a tiny, authoritive voice that "Santa Claus not real, he just fortend!"
"What, why do you think that?"
"He not can see EVERYBODY...no time. He not real, he make no sense."
"Well Santa Claus is magic and his sleigh is really fast," I offered, suddenly panicked because I had not thought I would ever have to argue the logic of Santa Claus.
"The reindeer pull sled?"
"Yep, reindeer pull his sleigh and Rudolph lights the way!"
"See, Santa Claus fortend!"
"Why does that make Santa pretend?"
"You so silly, reindeer not have wings," the boy announced triumphantly with a fit of giggles.
I could hear my husband choking on his laughter in the hall as I caved in, saying only, "All I can tell you is they're magic reindeer and magic reindeer don't need wings. One day you'll see, have a little faith!"
That night, long after our baby boy was sound asleep, my husband and I giggled for hours over the boy's seamless logic.
Christmas morning came. The stockings had been magically filled and there were extra presents for each of us, wrapped in special Santa paper, under the tree.
"See, Santa did come," I announced.
The boy just looked at me and giggled.
For the next several years I continued to talk about Santa, careful not to argue with the boy's logic, and the boy continued to erupt in giggles, "momma, you're so silly!"
When he was in second grade, the boy awoke on Christmas morning to find our stockings were filled as always and the plate of cookies left the night before were empty, save for a few lingering gingerbread crumbs. There was a note tied to a ribbon under the tree.
"Follow me," he read aloud as began wrapping the ribbon around his wrist. He followed it through the house, out the back door and into the yard, where a huge trampoline sat dusted in frost.
I watched from the living room window as his eyes grew wide and he turned to run into the house.
"He's real, he's real, Santa Claus really is real," he hollered as he ran through the door.
I laughed until tears streamed from my eyes and asked what finally changed his mind.
"There's no way you would ever stand out in the freezing cold in the middle of the night to put that trampoline together!"
"I might have, how do you know?"
"Oh momma, don't be silly," he giggled as flew back out the door to climb on the trampoline.
Four years later, the boy came to me in all seriousness and confided that he was having mixed feelings on the whole Santa thing.
"Santa can't be real, because there's too many kids that go without and I still don't believe reindeer can fly, but, but..."
"But you also can't believe your mom would ever stand out in the freezing cold in the middle of the night to put together a trampoline?"
"No, it just doesn't make sense. You HATE the cold!"
"Maybe so, but I LOVE you and Christmas magic makes all kinds of things possible."
"Ohhhh, I get it! Momma, you're so silly!"
Oh, and for all you non-believers out there, or for those of you who just need a bit of Christmas magic, enjoy this video - my favorite Christmas cartoon ever!