This year is a big year for Santa. He has some tall orders to fill for the kids, but I have all confidence that he can handle the high expectations. He has never failed before, and even in his incredibly busy schedule he still manages to make sure children across the world have the perfect present for them.
Santa is our biggest holiday tradition in our family. He is the one tradition that is also in a very unstable state this year. As the kids get older there is always the year that they realize that Santa is not a real human.
J is so close to this, I’m trying to figure out what to say to him when he asks. Since J is 10, I know there are kids in his class that have figured out the whole mystery surrounding Santa, but, as a mom, I don’t want to burst the myth bubble.
I can remember finding out that Santa was not a real person. It is hard to believe that the one person you counted on every year to bring you the perfect present is not who you think. I don’t even remember how I found out, but it was a couple of years before I told my mom. I do remember she cried when I told her I knew. So as a mom, I’m preparing myself for the conversation.
My parents did a great job of making sure we believed in Santa. They had special wrapping paper that was only used for Santa. They would use special tags and even change their writing to make it look like Santa signed the tag. Presents would magically appear Christmas Eve after we had gone to bed and my brother and I would wake up to the most amazing display of Christmas magic imaginable.
I have kept some of the same tricks for my kids. We use special paper, tags, and special writing. My dad even plays Santa, but they figured out that secret a few years ago. (They call him Papaw Claus when he is dressed like Santa.) We set out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. The kids get to unwrap one present Christmas eve and it is jammies for them to wear that night. We read a The Night Before Christmas, or another story if they want and then it is off to bed.
On Christmas morning, the kids gather in our bedroom as they wake up. I have them sit at the top of the stairs and take several pictures while Keith sets up the video camera. It is like the paparazzi has invaded our house. When they come down the stairs, they can see all the presents under the tree and the excitement is tangible.
That is my favorite part. I love watching them race to the tree to get their presents. I know the holiday is not about what they get, but the excitement on their faces is priceless. I can remember the same excitement as a kid. There is just something magical about waking on Christmas morning to find presents under the tree.
I just hope that even after the kids realize who Santa really is, the magic is not lost to them. Christmas is a magical time and it is important to remember that magic is what makes the season merry and bright.
Please leave your favorite family holiday tradition in the comments. I love to hear about the different ways families celebrate.